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Renton homeless shelter opens for women and children

RENTON — Jessica Segovia and her two daughters decided to move to Seattle from Indiana.  She was buried in bills, and a friend said the job market here was promising.  Driving cross-country was a risk and Segovia and her daughters had to live out of their car.

hope2“By the time I got here, I had $18 left in gas so I didn’t know where we were going to stay or what we were going to do,” said Segovia.

Once they got to Washington, Jessica learned about the REACH Center of Hope in Renton.

“They made us feel like this was our home and we were safe here,” said Segovia.

The Renton Area Association of Churches worked with the city to convert old jail space in the basement of City Hall into a women and children’s day shelter that opened in May.

“We want them to feel like it’s a home, a community and that they feel love and keeps them connected to life while they’re in this transition,” said the director, Linda Smith.

At night, the clients sleep at local churches.  During the day, they come to the shelter to eat, shower, and get help from case workers.

“I have appointments with her every week to move onto the next level.  Sometimes we’ll tackle the housing, then work sources, clothing for the girls, school supplies,” said Segovia.

For her daughters Catherine and Malina, they have been able to read, play games, and meet other kids like them.

“It makes me feel like they’ve been in my shoes before and know exactly what I’m going through,” said Catherine.

Life on the street isn’t easy and right now there are few places homeless families can stay together.  In Seattle, the City Council voted last month to shut down Nickelsville by Sept. 1, a tent encampment that’s been around for two years.

“This year alone there have been 30 people who have died on the streets right here in Seattle who were homeless.  There was a case of a guy who was in the hospital last year, discharged with no place to go and died in his truck,” said Smith.

It’s a situation Jessica Segovia and her daughters don’t have to worry about, knowing they can count on this shelter until they someday have a home of their own.

The shelter can take in 45 women and children at a time.  For more information, call 425-277-7594.

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