Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is best known for its philanthropic efforts focused on health in the developing world. However, the Foundation is also interested in combating poverty and homelessness in its home state of Washington, primarily by improving coordination among current service providers and fostering public-private partnerships.

After initial contact with housing providers from Alameda County, the Foundation invited Chief Operating Officer Vivian Wan to come to Seattle in July 2013 and speak to representatives from the seven counties in the Seattle area. The Foundation is working with these counties to create a comprehensive system for helping homeless families return to housing as quickly as possible and was interested in showcasing an agency who had effectively utilized Rapid ReHousing strategies to decrease homelessness.

At the meeting, Vivian shared Abode Services’ extensive experience in re-housing homeless families and helping them to retain stable housing over time. Abode Services maintains more than 800 households in housing on a given night, helping them to avoid a return to homelessness and work toward self-sufficiency. Our partnerships with more than 30 local providers make a wide range of services available to these participants, allowing us to leverage our resources to serve more families in need.

The Foundation also invited Executive Director Louis Chicoine to speak about Abode Services’ Home Warming Program. This program, a partnership between Abode Services and local faith communities and service groups, helps provide moving costs, furniture, and other household items for homeless families moving into housing. This collaboration successfully engages community members with a strong desire to make an impact on the lives of people in need, and helps formerly homeless families transition smoothly into housing.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the counties in the Seattle area, benefited from learning more about the innovative methods that Abode Services uses to help homeless families regain housing and stability. Audience members had the chance to hear how community partnerships and smart coordination between agencies can help increase housing retention and other outcomes for formerly homeless households. Abode Services Senior Management staff are routinely asked to speak as experts in the field to community groups and other agencies across the state and nationally. 

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