EVERETT, Wash. — A unique housing complex in Snohomish County is helping to solve the homeless crisis by offering not only shelter but also work.
It's called Hopeworks Station. It's a brand new 65-unit low-income apartment complex in Everett focusing on homeless families, veterans and youth.
Samantha Mather just regained custody of her two little girls after losing them because of drug addiction.
"It was a rough experience, but it is a great blessing to be here right now today," said Mather, who will share a two-bedroom unit at Hopeworks Station with her boyfriend and two children.
What makes the complex unique are three different industries offering job training and employment, all under the same roof.
There's a landscaping business, a retail furniture store, and Kindred Kitchen.
The kitchen will teach people culinary skills and soon be open to the public.
There's no requirement to work in order to live at the new complex, but CEO Fred Safstrom said a requirement isn't really necessary.
"Our job is to provide inspiration and motivation so our residents will choose to take part in these programs," said Safstrom. "Work is therapeutic. Our experience is that 90 to 95% of them will choose to do that."
Those who do choose to work will pay 30% of their income for rent. For those who can't, or choose not to work, the rent is free.
People can stay at Hopeworks Station as long as they want. The clean, modern units are powered entirely by solar energy.
All of the apartments are expected to be spoken for by December.
Mather's unit has a view of the Cascade Mountains.
"The girls already tried to take a bath," she laughed.
For Mather, it's a place to call home, leave the past behind and build a better future for her family.
"I'm so grateful. I can't even say how grateful I am. I can't even put it into words how grateful I am."