As some of you have already heard, Aileen’s was recently awarded a four year (plus three months) grant from King County to expand our services. The grant allows us to hire Aileen’s co-founder Leslie so she can quit her day job and focus on running Aileen’s and additional part-time staff to assist her, and also provide stipends for women we serve to participate in our peer leadership program, which has been our dream from the beginning.
Peer leadership program begins with an orientation and a series of trainings on CPR/first aid, overdose prevention and response, safe sharps handling, harm reduction, and anti-oppression. After that, peer leaders are able to sign up for shifts to do harm reduction outreach at homeless encampments and other places that are not reached by existing programs, collect stories from community, lead art and social justice groups, etc. Aileen’s will provide intensive case management to address any barriers our peer leaders face, such as housing, treatment, clearing legal obstacles, developing time management and other job skills, etc.
Sounds amazing right? Well, the problem is that the County money doesn’t pay for many of our mundane and recurring costs, such as rent, utilities, toiletries and food for our hospitality space, and others. We obviously cannot exist without these things. In addition, our staff were hired as of October 1st but County grant hasn’t been deposited yet.
So what that brings us to is the fact that our bank account has $87.47 as of now, with some of the recurring payments coming soon. That is why, despite the County grant, we still need your financial support. Please donate to Aileen’s so we can continue to support our peers–women living and working along the increasingly cold Pacific Highway in south King County.
During our open hour today, we made beautiful sandwiches for ourselves. Yum!
We just held our August celebration for Aileen’s and everyone who was born in August. Including Mia’s newborn son (the only male allowed at Aileen’s). And had a wonderful time together. We’ll have monthly parties at Aileen’s with a small gift for our birthday (month) folks!
We apologize for lack of updates on our website, but we are getting a momentum here at Aileen’s HQ (i.e. our small community space). Here are some highlights:
- Someone generously donated an outreach van! This helps us expand our reach in the community and will be super useful when we launch formal peer outreach program later.
- Our space has been open for regular hours for a few months. We’ve provided hospitality, resources, community, and other necessities to our women. Please see our hours for our current hours.
- Peer leadership & arts program is happening! This is a group for our peers to express ourselves through words and arts. We are working toward putting on an art show and publishing zines.
- We’ve been holding monthly peer steering committee where our community makes decisions about the direction of Aileen’s and other stuff.
- We’ve helped several women advocate for themselves in dealing with the criminal justice system that unfairly targeted them.
- We held a baby shower for one of our women at Aileen’s. She gave birth the next day!
- We’ve applied for a King County grant that would enable us to expand our case management services and provide stipends for peer outreach and leadership development. No guarantees that we’d get it, but keep fingers crossed!
- Our sister project, System Failure Alert! has launched. This is a way for our community to report our experiences of system failures–failures of and abuses by the systems such as the police, medical providers, social service, and others that are supposed to help us but often end up causing harm–so we can establish patterns of abuse, build power, and hold institutions accountable. See System Failure Alert! website for more information.
That said, we can’t do this without the support of our community. Please continue supporting Aileen’s and our women by making a one-time donation or pledging to become a monthly donor!
We have a great news. The peer leader/volunteer who has been involved with Aileen’s was released from jail on her own recognizance this afternoon. This was the outcome that we had hoped for and we got it. We will continue to work with her to address other concerns the judge told her to take care of before her next appearance in July, and either get the charge dropped or help her show up so this won’t happen again.
Thank you so much to many of you who donated toward her bail. It turned out that the bail was not needed, but we were prepared to bail her out today if it was needed (we were determined to bring her back with us one way or another).
If you wish to have your contribution refunded to you, please let me know before Friday; otherwise, we will spend some of that money to address her other needs so she can avoid going back to jail, and reserve the rest for the next time one of our peers need help with the bail and court-related expenses.
Again, thank you for supporting us and our women! Please continue to contribute toward our general GoFundMe page instead of the bail fund.
Original post follows:
One of the peer leaders/volunteers who have been helping Aileen’s during our start-up phase is in jail since Wednesday. This amazing Black woman is held on a $2,500 bail for a two-year old prostitution charge. Her new court appearance isn’t until the 26th which is more than two weeks away and we want to help her get out sooner. Like right now.
Please contribute toward our jail support/bail fund so she can get toiletries and other necessities while in jail, make phone calls to family and friends, and get out!
Any money left over after assisting her will be reserved for providing jail support and bail for our peers in the future.
(We do still need help with our general expenses so keep that coming too, but right now this woman’s freedom is much more urgent.)
Steering committee is a group of peers who meet once a month (more during the startup period) to make major decisions about hours, rules, and budget for Aileen’s. If you are a peer and interested in joining the steering committee, please contact us!
Aileen’s, our new organizing and hospitality space for women working along the Pac Hwy, welcomes our friends and supporters to the OPEN HOUSE to check out our space before the official launch and meet each other. Join us at our space in Federal Way (on Rapid Ride A bus line) on Tuesday, May 7th @ 6-9pm.
Because of the sensitive nature of the project, we are not publishing the address at this point. If you are interested in joining us for the open house, please contact us before Tuesday.
Aileen’s is a new peer-centered organizing and hospitality space for women working along the Pac Hwy. We have already gotten a space in Federal Way and are fixing it up for the opening in early to mid-May.
We are going to post more information soon, but for the moment please visit our GoFundMe page to make donations to stock our supplies, help us maintain the space, and offer stipends to peers who will be on our steering committee and/or helps out with our outreach efforts.
Please note that we do not yet have a 501(c)(3) tax exempt status, so your contributions will not be tax-deductible. If you wish to make a tax exempt donation, that can be arranged with one of our partners. Please contact us if you are interested in this option.