A home for DeAngelo

[5 min read]

In this article: 

  • A Swedish caregiver was struggling to find appropriate housing. 
  • With the help of Swedish's Community Health Investment Program, caregivers were able to help him find affordable housing that meets his needs. 
  • Swedish partners with many organizations that work to improve housing throughout the Seattle area. 
  • Our mission-oriented culture is central to the work we do at Swedish and in our communities. 

When DeAngelo arrived in Seattle from Tulsa, Oklahoma, he had one duffle bag and no idea what was next for him. Without connections or enough money to afford even modest housing in Seattle, he slept outdoors, living in a tent until he could secure employment. DeAngelo eventually got a job at Swedish First Hill in environmental services.

On his first day, DeAngelo arrived at orientation with his duffle bag. He openly shared his situation with his new supervisor.

“We work for a hospital, and whether it’s patient care or helping others, that’s what we’re here to do,” says Wade Schafer, environmental services manager.

“Once you get established and you get a roof over your head and a nice apartment, it motivates you to want to do more; to want to be more; and want to accomplish more. It’s just like putting up a building,” DeAngelo says. “A building doesn’t get built overnight. It takes time but you keep building. Before you know it, you got a skyscraper. You can see everything that you worked for.”

Guided by Swedish Community Investments Program Manager Pinky Herrera, Schafer and his environmental services management colleague Lisa Aguda, turned to Bellwether Housing, Seattle’s largest nonprofit affordable housing provider and a Swedish community partner. Schafer and Aguda connected DeAngelo with a case worker at Bellwether Housing, leading to DeAngelo being approved for an apartment at The Rise on Madison, a development in Seattle’s First Hill neighborhood.

The building serves two functions: One part of the building is called The Rise and provides units for low-to-modest income families. The other part of the building, Blake House, provides permanent supportive housing for those facing chronic homelessness.

“When I walked into the apartment, it was just like a big burden was just lifted off my shoulders,” DeAngelo gushes. “It’s beautiful. The shower feels good. I love the windows and being able to look out, especially because I like being way up at the top when it’s raining. It’s the best apartment building I’ve been in.”

Swedish is proud of our mission-oriented culture and partnering with many organizations that work to improve housing across the Seattle area. Among them are Blake House, Elizabeth Gregory House, El Centro Dela Raza, Filipino Community of Seattle, Real Change and Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC).

“There’s a big stigma around unhoused individuals, and people think, ‘It can’t possibly be my employees.’ But the reality of it is, it can be,” says Lisa Hawley, chief mission and integration officer at Providence Swedish.

Among the many benefits of these partnerships is Swedish’s ability to support the community with essential resources and services. Swedish nurse navigators are among the caregivers who help ensure that medical needs are met and connect people to the care and services they need.

DeAngelo is also thrilled with the location of his new home; the affordable apartment building is near Swedish.

“This building was put in the perfect spot in the perfect area of downtown. It takes me 12, 13 minutes to walk to work,” he says.  

“If we have housing that’s close by, they don’t have to worry about how they are going to get to work,” explains Schafer. “They don’t have to worry about community transit. They don’t have to worry about personal transit.”

As much as DeAngelo loves his apartment and its location, it’s the stability and steppingstone to progress in every area of life that is most important, he affirms. “I appreciate Bellwether and The Rise on Madison because this is needed for people like me who want to move forward, succeed and encourage other people. I want to tell people that they can do this too.”

Swedish is committed to empowering everyone in every community we serve — that includes our caregivers. Our community partnerships are a vital part of this work.  

“Once you get established and you get a roof over your head and a nice apartment, it motivates you to want to do more; to want to be more; and want to accomplish more. It’s just like putting up a building,” DeAngelo says. “A building doesn’t get built overnight. It takes time but you keep building. Before you know it, you got a skyscraper. You can see everything that you worked for.”

About Providence Swedish 
Providence Swedish has served the Puget Sound region since the first Providence hospital opened in Seattle in 1877 and the first Swedish hospital opened in 1910. The two organizations affiliated in 2012 and today comprise the largest health care delivery system in Western Washington, with 22,000 caregivers, eight hospitals and 244 clinics. A not-for-profit family of organizations, Providence Swedish provided $540 million in community benefit in the Puget Sound region last year. The health system offers a comprehensive range of services and specialty and subspecialty care in a number of clinical areas, including cancer care, cardiovascular health, neurosciences, orthopedics, digestive health and women’s and children’s care.   

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