A program originally designed to help farmers at Pike Place Market has now expanded to help anyone who lives and works there as the need continues to grow.
The Community Safety Net is run by the Pike Place Market Foundation and helps those who are experiencing extreme hardship. Recently, it saved Linda Gose from homelessness. Gose is a low-income senior and has lived in the market for 16 years. However, she and her dog Cha Cha faced eviction after a scam depleted her checking account.
"I thought Cha Cha and I were going to be homeless, but they came through," says Gose. "They came through and bless their hearts. It saved us so we didn't have to go out on the streets."
Gose is just one of nearly 60 people who received help from the safety net last year. And now, a few weeks from the holidays, it could come in handy as business slows.
"This is a rough time of year for many of our merchants and employees," says Patricia Gray, capital campaign manager for Pike Place Market Foundation. "Business is down. If they're not able to meet their bills, we want to make sure they can get through a bump in the road and not lose their livelihood.
For Gose, it meant having safe, affordable housing.
"I feel rich," said Gose. "I feel like I have a million bucks. If I didn't have the Market Place Foundation and [the food bank], I'd be lost."
The market will be expanding next year as they add at least 40 housing units for low-income seniors.
"It's so much cheaper and effective and reduces all the emotional toll," says Gray. "If we would let a senior like Linda become homeless, they may be homeless for years. And she may not survive on the streets. So a safety net, a fund like this, to help people in times of need can really prevent that whole downward spiral."
Last year supporters helped raise more than $34,000 for the safety net. It helped community members pay for things like housing, medical bills, and damaged farm equipment.