[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a Letter to the Editor, written by a verified resident. It does not necessarily reflect the opinions of The B-Town Blog, nor its staff:]

Some people who have never visited Transform Burien or researched our organization sometimes ask:

“Isn’t Transform Burien just enabling homeless people and attracting more homeless people to Burien?”

No.

To begin with, as near as we can tell, 70% of the people we serve are not homeless; but many of them probably would be if they weren’t able to receive the help we provide. Our clients are low income/working poor families with kids (25%); low income widows, veterans and elderly (25%); low income physically or mentally disabled people on disability (20%), and homeless (30%) people of many different life situations and nationalities. Many of them are living on $771 SSI a month (or $1,157 for a couple), or minimum wage income jobs. Because we provide the food, clothing, laundry services, haircuts, and essential toiletries that they need, they are able to pay their rent, purchase their medicines, and even occasionally turn on their heat on cold winter’s nights.

Perhaps the most important thing we provide is a community where people know their names, listen to their stories, and provide a sense of dignity and support to people who are going through difficult times in their lives. All of these people are human beings, who deserve to be treated with the love and dignity that allows them to find hope for a better life.

Transform Burien is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization in Burien that use God’s love to serve people in need. We began 20 years ago with two pastors praying about how Burien churches could best serve the Burien Community. From there we have grown to 180 volunteers from 14 churches, Burien businesses, and the community working together in unity to provide services to the most vulnerable people in our community. This year we were able to provide: 4 hot meals a week (21,053 hot meals), 5,259 clothing bank client visits, 2,397 food bank client visits, 908 showers, 940 loads of laundry, many haircuts, spiritual support and prayer, and access to the King County Medical and Dental Van and Social Services for housing, drug and alcohol rehab and mental health issues. All of our meals, groceries, clothing, and funds are donated by the generous people in the local churches, businesses, and community.

You may have heard that the City of Burien was planning to evict Transform Burien and six other non-profits who rent the Burien Community Center Annex at the end of January. We are thankful that the City of Burien has given us until the end of July to make our transition to a new facility. Transform Burien is having difficulty finding a location that has the 4,500 square feet we need, a commercial kitchen, dining room that seats at least 120, rooms for our clothing bank, food bank, and office, and parking for our volunteer staff, clients, and the King County Medical and Dental Vans, and mobile shower unit.  Our budget is $2,500 a month, the amount we have been paying the city of Burien for our space at the Annex. Please contact us if you have any leads to a suitable facility.

For more information about how to donate funds, clothing (especially men’s warm jackets, jeans, and athletic shoes), sleeping bags, or food, and to learn about volunteer opportunities you can visit our website: www.transformoutreach.org or our Transform Burien Facebook page, or contact us at [email protected].

– Bruce Norquist
Vice President and Interim Outreach Director

– Kathy Norquist
Interim Administrative Assistant

EDITOR’S NOTE: Do you have something you’d like to share with our highly engaged local Readers? If so, please email your Letter to the Editor to [email protected] and, pending review and verification that you’re a real human being, we may publish it. Letter writers must use their full names and cite sources – as well as provide an address and phone number (NOT for publication but for verification purposes).