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A chaotic childhood and youth led to prison, but today Cleveland enjoys his hard-won freedom living at Plymouth Housing Group Cleveland H., a 62-year-old resident of Plymouth, has the good looks of an entertainer, the grace of a dancer, and a way with words you might associate with a professor or a preacher. But most of his life has been spent in trouble with the law and drugs. “I’ve never had a problem getting things,” he says. “It’s keeping them that’s been tough.” It all began with a chaotic childhood. Cleveland never knew his father. At various times he lived with his great-grandmother, his grandmother, and his mother. Living with his mother meant being beaten by his alcoholic stepfather. As a teen, Cleveland shuttled between reform school and foster homes. Not surprisingly, Cleveland graduated from juvenile delinquency to adult crime. He found himself in the Virginia State penitentiary in the 1960s, an era when the state still had chain gangs. “I was out there with chains and a water boy—the whole thing,” he says. Drugs, alcohol, and prison continued to be the themes of Cleveland’s life for more than four decades. He was living in Seattle with his longtime girlfriend in 2008 when an evening of drinking led to an arrest. “I knew I had to change,” he says. He told his caseworker he wanted to go into alcohol treatment, and on the day he was released, he went right into a treatment program. When he was done, one of the biggest challenges Cleveland faced was finding a permanent place to live. He dreaded returning to the street, where it was hard to keep clean and out of trouble.

“I knew that with a prison record, landlords just won’t take you,” he says. That’s where Plymouth stepped in. “I just needed a chance,” he recalls. “They gave it to me, and I’m so grateful that they did.” In June 2010 Cleveland moved into his own home in the Gatewood Apartments. After years of eating fast food, he’s learning to cook nutritious meals to control his diabetes. He keeps a notebook of his activities, and has befriended a stray cat. Every day he attends AA meetings and recently appeared before a King County legislative forum to speak in support of the rehabilitation and treatment programs that are in danger of “I’ve come a long way from sleeping in a being cut. cardboard box under a bridge,” Cleveland says.



Left to right: Mary Stevens & John Akin, Seattle Dances! Evening Honorees, were recognized for their long time commitment to Plymouth Housing Group and to ending homelessness in Seattle; Susan Slater Cotter and Josh Welter won the Judges’ Choice Trophy. See inside for more details about the event.


A new life at the Gatewood Apartments helps Plymouth resident keep on the road to recovery



Reduction of our state’s Disability Lifeline has devastating consequences for many low-income and homeless people Our annual Washington state legislative season is almost to a close, and it has been a rough session to witness. The recent recession has not been good to Washington state, and even less good to our most low-income citizens. Governor Gregoire and our state representatives have been working hard to close an almost Paul Lambros $5 billion funding gap, and it seems that the cuts on the table are mostly for services to low-income and

disabled people. It has been devastating to learn that one of the many slated cuts is the reduction, and potential elimination of, the Disability Lifeline subsidy. This is a regular payment—about $340 a month— for disabled people with no other income. When I say “no other income,” that is exactly what I mean. There are thousands of people in our state, including 10% of the people who live with Plymouth, who will be completely destitute without this small monthly support. As you can imagine, this has not been good news for our residents, nor for Plymouth’s staff and leadership. We’ve met many times recently to discuss the negative impact of the state’s budget on our residents. While many of them can

receive help from local food banks and meal programs, many of them may now have no money with which to buy clothes, toiletries, cleaning supplies, or personal hygiene items. Plymouth’s Essential Supply Center can help fill some of the gap, and we’re fortunate that local volunteers, businesses and churches are donating needed items. But the larger picture is that our formerlyhomeless residents are going to face some tough challenges in the coming days as the community safety net frays even further. I will keep you posted on Plymouth’s plans to address this important issue. Best Regards,

Local volunteers from Gaspar’s Construction create new rooftop deck for residents at Plymouth Place apartments ing composite decking materials that will last many years. A Gaspar’s team began work last January and within a few days the old deck was gone, and a new, long-lasting deck was constructed. “Residents are thrilled with their newly renovated outdoor area,” commented Building Manager John Hutto. “Some of them are planning to do a little gardening up there this summer.” Thank you to the entire staff of Gaspar’s Construction who donated over Thank you to the staff at Gaspar’s $30,000 in Construction who spearheaded labor and to the project including Paul Lambert, Dunn Lumber Sarah Gaspar Henry, Isaac Gaspar, and Heather Laird (not pictured). as well.


The residents of Seattle’s Plymouth Place apartments have something to look forward to this spring—the opportunity to spend time relaxing on a brand new outdoor view deck located on the building’s roof. Last fall it became clear that Plymouth Place’s old rooftop deck was in such poor repair from water damage that residents could no longer use it. When the building staff requested some assistance, Plymouth Events & Donor Relations Manager, Mary Ann Lambert, went looking for volunteers to build a new one. “I really didn’t have to look very far,“ she laughed. “My husband Paul works for Gaspar’s Construction, and they have wanted an opportunity to support Plymouth.” A family company with a reputation for philanthropy and community service, Gaspar’s readily agreed and helped approach Dunn Lumber for a donation as well. Dunn Lumber agreed to help, donat-

2113 Third Avenue, Seattle, Washington 98121 > 206-374-9409 > 206-374-0602 fax > > EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Paul Lambros © 2011

Plymouth Housing Group All Rights Reserved

BOARD OF TRUSTEES Lynn Beck, president Angus Cunningham, vice president Barb Nystrom, secretary

David Poston, treasurer David Beitel Dana Bollinger Stuart C. Campbell

Robert D. Cook Tyrone Edwards Mercedes Fernandez Bob Hodson

Tim Kerr Stewart Landefeld John McHale Donald Mitchell

Craig Neyman Erin Page Craig Parsons Charles Rosenberry

Maria Royer Tracey Wickersham


Eight Celebrity Dancers wow the town – raising over $425,000 for Plymouth’s services and programs A huge thank you to the eight local luminaries who danced their hearts out, all in support of ending homelessness


Dancers in Action (photos from top left, clockwise): Doug Ito and Lera Thompson; Lynn Beck and Mark Kihara; Chad Mackay and Deron Hayes; Stacy Lill and Marcelo Garces; Dean Jones and Alison Cockrill; Tamara Wilson and Dean Paton; Leigh Canlis and Joshua Sturgeon. Center: Susan Slater Cotter and Josh Welter.


Plymouth’s signature evening fundraiser, Seattle Dances!, packed a crowd of 410 people into Fremont Studios on Saturday, March 12 and raised over $425,000 for Plymouth services. Inspired by the TV show, “Dancing with the Stars,” Seattle Dances! featured eight Seattle-area luminaries dancing with professional partners from the Century Ballroom. The audience “voted” with monetary pledges, and prizes went to dancers for the most money raised and the best dance performance. The winners of the three Mirror Ball trophies were: Judges’ Choice–STRENGTHstudio owner Susan Slater Cotter & her partner Josh Welter for an amazing dance execution of the Lindy Hop. Cyber Choice– SMR Architect Doug Ito & his partner Lera Thompson raised the most money on-line for their smooth Tango. People’s Choice– Winemaker Stacy Lill & her partner Marcelo Garces received the most “votes” from the guests for their hot Salsa routine. Rounding out the Celebrity Dancers and their partners were Mark Kihara & Lynn Beck, president of the Plymouth Housing Group Board and GM of Pacific Place; Deron Hayes & Chad Mackay, Mackay Restaurants; Dean Paton & Tamara Wilson, Wilson PR; Alison Cockrill & Dean Jones, Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty; and Joshua Sturgeon & Leigh Canlis, Canlis Glass. Century Ballroom owner, Hallie Kuperman, was the dance producer. Columnist Patti Payne was Emcee, Kevin Joyce was the auctioneer. Plymouth supporters Mary Stevens and John “Jock” Akin were Evening Honorees of the event for community commitment and their efforts to end homelessness. Celebrity Judges included David Armstrong, Fifth Avenue Theatre, Rachel Hart, Seattle Magazine, and Mary Nam, KOMO. Last year’s Seattle Dances! Judges’ Choice winner Colette Courtion, Calidora Skin Clinics, gave a special Lady Gaga performance with back-up dancers Ricki Mason and Tanya Harris.



Gold Sponsors

Silver Sponsors BECU ShareBuilder from ING Direct SMR Architects Bronze Sponsors Enterprise KeyBank Seneca Group

Beverage Sponsors Kathy Casey Liquid Kitchen Moon Mountain Vodka Media Sponsor Seattle Magazine Supporting Sponsors Effective Design Studio Team Photogenic

Plymouth Housing Group works to eliminate homelessness and stabilize homeless and very lowincome people in housing by preserving, developing and operating safe, decent affordable housing and by providing opportunities for homeless and very low-income people to improve their lives.

WE CARE Newsletter printed on a 10% total recovered fiber and all post-consumer fiber paper.

2113 Third Avenue Seattle, Washington 98121

Joseph Kennedy II to be Keynote Speaker at September 30th “Key to Hope” Luncheon SAVE THE DATE for Plymouth’s Annual Luncheon on Friday, September 30th at the Westin Hotel in downtown Seattle. Throughout his career, former Massachusetts Congressman Joseph Kennedy has advocated for innovative approaches to addressing our nation’s social needs. During his 12 years in Congress, he played an instrumental role in developing the Federal Housing Tax Credit program for low-income housing, stimulating an increase in housing available for homeless people. He is also the founder of Citizens Energy Corporation, a non-profit which provides discounted energy resources to lowincome people. For more information on being a Table Captain or Sponsor, please email info@plymouthhousing. org, or call 206-374-9409, ext. 144.


New Plymouth residence to be eco-friendly, sustainable building Plymouth’s newest housing project in the Cascade neighborhood near South Lake Union, is now in the planning process with the goal of opening in January 2013. The plans call for an 82-unit building which will provide homes for people focused on recovering from chemical dependency or alcohol addiction. The attractive, sustainablybuilt residence will feature drought-resistant landscaping, highly energy-efficient heating systems, low flow shower heads, and attractive outdoor terraces with gardening space. “Plymouth is working hard to satisfy the goals of the King County 10-Year-Plan to End Homelessness by building more homes,” commented Plymouth Policy Director Tara Connor. “We are excited about the new building which will be a recovery haven for long-term homeless people struggling to leave addiction behind.” More information on this new project to come later this summer. OUR RESIDENTS NEED FANS TO KEEP THEM COOL THIS COMING SUMMER If you have an electric fan that you no longer use, please consider donating it to Plymouth. In the summer, many of our residents need fans to keep their small apartments cool. Fans, other small household items and essential supplies like toothpaste, toilet paper, personal hygiene items and cleaning supplies, can be dropped off at Plymouth’s Administrative Building at 2113 3rd Ave, Seattle 98121, Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information how to donate resident household supplies to Plymouth’s Essential Supply Center, please contact Diana Argeres at or call 206-374-9409, ext. 146 for more information.

BECU volunteers lend a hand to Essential Supply Center Plymouth Housing Group is fortunate to have many community partners contributing to our mission. One of our newer partners is our area’s largest credit union, BECU. This past year BECU has participated in our fundraising events as a Corporate Sponsor, and two of their branches provide volunteers who come once a week to organize and sort items in Plymouth’s Essential Supply Center in Belltown. Through the end of May, BECU is holding an essential supply drive to collect needed items like toiletries and household cleaning supplies for residents in their downtown and Queen Anne branches. Thank you so much to our friends at BECU! BECU volunteers (left to right): Matthew Johnson, Candice Bisyak and Eric Fernley. Not pictured: Shanté Ruiz

Plymouth Housing Group Spring 2011 News  
Plymouth Housing Group Spring 2011 News  

Spring 2011 Newsletter about developments and recent events hosted by Plymouth Housing Group.