Aileen’s awarded a 4-year grant by the County–but still needs your help more than ever

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.

What’s happening at Aileen’s? A lot!

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!