On Christmas Eve morning, a single parent and three young children were welcomed into The Pete Andersen FUSION Family Center as first residents of the newly completed Federal Way shelter.
Affectionately called The Pete, this facility provides 90-day emergency housing to families experiencing homelessness. At full capacity, the Family Center will serve 116 families, 400 individuals, annually.
A professional support staff at the Family Center provides individualized services to resident families. They use a trauma-informed approach that acknowledges unique challenges each family member is experiencing due to living with housing instability.
Triaging priorities, staff members create a unique Family Stability Plan based on individual needs. With guidance in finding employment and permanent housing, the goal for each family brought into the shelter is to become self-sufficient in the community.
FUSION used Washington State and King County grant funding to purchase an Econo Lodge property in November 2019. Restoration to convert the aging hotel into a modern shelter facility began with volunteer efforts in February 2020.
Pete Andersen, a longtime Lennar Seattle associate affectionately known as the “Big Deal,” was part of the company’s volunteer team pledged to providing labor for renovation of the hotel beginning on Valentine’s Day. Pete was unable to help though as he had contracted COVID-19 earlier in the month and became one of the country’s first fatalities of the pandemic, succumbing to the virus on March 2.
It was after Pete’s tragic passing that the Lennar Foundation, a charitable arm of the national Lennar corporation, donated $1 million to the FUSION project after learning how much it meant to their former associate and his division. The FUSION Board of Directors voted unanimously to name the budding shelter in honor of Pete.
Following renovation work throughout 2020, contractors transformed the three-story building into 29 private rooms with full bathrooms. Residents’ rooms, shared laundry facilities, and a community room with full kitchen for families to prepare meals are on each of the two upper floors.
Office space for the six-member staff is on the ground floor. A reception desk and great room furnished with study spaces and a children’s activity center serve residents on the first floor. Utility areas on this level include a facility-use laundry room and an industrial kitchen.
Families seeking emergency shelter can call Mary’s Place in Seattle at 206-621-8474. FUSION screens families directly from this central list for entry into the Family Center.