Donor Stories

Circle of Hope donors are crucial to the advancement of Housing Hope’s mission. They generously contribute $1,000 or more in a calendar year to ensure our families receive the comprehensive services package they need to overcome barriers to housing stability and healthy family life. Here are stories from some of these special friends of Housing Hope.


Many years ago, my wife and I took our two daughters to Disney World. At one point I came across a poster showing a caricature of Mickey Mouse.  But what caught my attention was not the caricature but the caption at the bottom which simply stated: “And it all started with a mouse.”


The evolution of the Disney enterprise as a premier entertainment and educational experience is a testament to its imagination, creativity, and innovation on an ongoing basis.  By the same token, Housing Hope’s “mouse” was a recognition by faith based leaders and concerned citizens of the nature and extent of chronic homelessness in the community and the need for an institutional effort to solve it.  Like Disney, the evolution of Housing Hope over the past 30 years or so is also a testament to its imaginative, creative, and innovative approach to homelessness and poverty within our midst.


Housing Hope recognizes that poverty is not just a state of being, but also a state of mind.  The key to mitigating poverty is to recognize and visualize each individual, regardless of age, not as what he or she is right now but what he or she can become.  The essence of Housing Hope’s comprehensive approach is to facilitate each person’s and each family unit’s transition towards a future that is stable and that has continuing opportunities for further growth and development.


Housing Hope resonates with us because it is organized and structured to be a means to a better end, not as an end in and of itself.  And that is why we support Housing Hope and encourage everyone we can to do the same.

Chris & Terrie Rae Anderson

We were part of the Bible study in Central Lutheran's basement in the 1980's where Ed Petersen began formulating the dream of Housing Hope. We left for Iowa before specific planning began and during the launching of Housing Hope. When I finished seminary, we returned to the northwest but moved to Kent for my first call. Our giving has increased based upon our ability to give. We believe in Housing Hope, we celebrate its ministry and the life-giving difference it makes for so many individuals, families, and communities. As a retired teacher and a pastor, we have known many who needed services such as Housing Hope offers. We work to make a difference in the community where we live and worship but we also have a deep commitment to Housing Hope.

We give thanks, too, for nearly 50 years of friendship with the Petersen and Eklund families. Our relationships go back to our years at PLU. We have been immensely blessed by their gifts and their friendship.


Chris Gray

Ed and I became involved with Housing Hope when we were invited to attend the East County Community of Hope Dinner in 2005. We were impressed with the organization and its program from that very first experience. After very rewarding careers as public school educators, we were excited to find a cause that supported families, especially families with children. We both knew that children need a stable living environment as the cornerstone to benefit from their education. After a few years, we agreed to serve as hosts for our own table. The friends we introduced to Housing Hope were also very impressed with the program.


 Ed passed away in 2013 and one of his parting words to me was to find something that I could be passionate about. In January 2014, I was invited to become a member of the Monroe Family Village Steering Committee and then the East County Steering Committee. Serving on these two committees has shown me that our initial assessment of the work of Housing Hope was very conservative. The staff and other community volunteers take money and multiply it by wringing every bit of good from every dime donated. It has truly become that organization that I am passionate about.


Earlier this year [2014], I had the opportunity to attend the key ceremony for a group of families who had completed their homes in Monroe. This was the time when they received the keys to their homes. I so touched by what I observed. It was not neighborhood of beautiful new homes but it was families who had spent the last seventeen months working together to build those homes. They were a neighborhood, they were best friends, even before any of them had spent one night living in those homes. I don’t think I will ever forget the looks on the faces of the children. That’s what it is all about and that’s why I am committed to doing whatever I can to support Housing Hope.


Luther & Dee Jonson

We have been supporters of Housing Hope since 1989 when the first shelter and housing program was established in Stanwood.  From the beginning we could see that Housing Hope would make a difference in the lives of the homeless and those in the low income community. The programs of Housing Hope empower its residents to set goals and see the goals reach fruition. It gives them hope for a future.  Housing Hope offers a hand up; It encourages, educates and supports those in need. 


From giving financially to giving of our time, we see first hand the positive impact Housing Hope has on our society, and we are very proud to serve others through Housing Hope.

Bill Larter

I have been supporting the “Tomorrow’s Hope” part of the Housing Hope program. I am a Pediatrician who has practiced in Snohomish County for 35 years and I have been involved with the Head Start and Washington State ECEAP programs for more than 30 years. I feel that the children of homeless and low income parents are denied the benefits of early childhood education and assistance, which have been shown to reap major benefits for society as well as the children. Note that the Head Start and ECEAP programs have shown that for every dollar spent for this type of assistance that 6-8 or more dollars are saved in subsequent social and criminal services.


Our children are our future.


Karen Madsen and Bill Shepherd

Bill and I are impressed with the well-thought-out full spectrum of services offered by Housing Hope beyond emergency and then stable housing. Any agency offering housing supplemented with employment support, financial skills training, parenting skills development, quality childcare and in-home child development assessment and support (among others)is very likely to make a very real difference in people's lives. We like to support agencies which offer a good return on our investment dollar, and we believe Housing Hope is right up there with the best.


Diane Smith

I love children! I love to nurture children. This photo shows me with 3 of my grandchildren at the beach. I love to take them on adventures.  I feel a special love for all children and treasure any opportunities to help them.  19 years ago when I discovered Housing Hope and its mission to help homeless children, I was immediately drawn to help.  So many children have been helped by Housing Hope.  So many children are better off because of Housing Hope. What a joy to participate in fund raising, in service projects and planning committees to help children grow and develop so they can enjoy life and become mature members of our society.

Larry and Debbie Stave

When my mother, Barb Stave, passed away, our family wanted to honor her in some way and the Circle of Hope was an easy choice. She was involved in many worthy community organizations but she had a special passion for Housing Hope. She was involved in the early formation of the organization and believed so strongly in the vision of Ed Petersen and the other founding members. She often shared that with us and we couldn’t help but be drawn into her enthusiasm. Over the years, thanks to her, we too have grown in our appreciation of all that Housing Hope has done and continues to do for our community to address the growing problem of homelessness. There can be a stigma associated with homelessness and it can be a hard cycle to get out of. Housing Hope addresses the homeless issue with dignity, as people learn to help themselves break this cycle while providing other programs and resources to give them the best opportunity to rejoin the community as a productive and valued member. What a great social model.


My mom taught us the importance of giving back to our community wherever and whenever we can. It has always been important to us to be confident that the dollars we do give are used wisely and as much as possible gets directly to those in need. We are grateful that we can support Housing Hope today and will continue in the future, comfortable knowing that they are great stewards of our resources while making a tremendous impact in our community.



Dennis and Shari Thaut

Our interest and support of Housing Hope has evolved over the past 25 years inspired in part by the vision of Ed Peterson but also the legacy of giving demonstrated by our parents, Barb and Roy Stave. Barb was one of the founding members of Housing Hope and contributed both financially as well as many hours in support of Housing Hope’s mission.


We also have witnessed firsthand through careers in social services the value of stable housing.  We know that when people in our community are struggling their most intermediate needs are food and secure housing. Housing Hope has responded to these needs with a variety of programs that serve as a model to other communities. We also know that the money given to Housing Hope goes directly to programs that make life changing differences in people’s lives.


Housing Hope will always be a significant part of our giving and we are confident that this organization will continue to be there for those in need.


Dennis Toepke

Invest in Housing Hope, Yes I consider it an investment and one that pays greater dividends than any other investment one could make. Why do I invest in Housing Hope? My Mother Esther Toepke invested time and money in Housing Hope when it was a "new born". I have invested as a tribute to my Mother and because my money will go for those who really need the help.


Dr. Jon and Donna Witte

Donna and I met Ed Petersen and his family when we first moved to Everett in 1982; our families soon became friends. We sat on the North Snohomish County Association of Churches Homelessness Task Force with Ed and others, learning about and reaching out to the homeless within our community. Ed began to talk about a germ of an idea - addressing the homeless crisis in Snohomish County in a focused and innovative way.


When Ed called me one night asking if I’d be on the Board of Directors of an agency he was starting, Housing Hope, I didn’t hesitate. With Ed involved I knew the endeavor would be undertaken with dedication, passion, and integrity. I met with the other original board members to sign the papers of incorporation, scarcely imagining the force for good that Housing Hope would become.


Over the years we have watched the organization grow from one shelter in our neighborhood to many sites across Snohomish County, always working to reach more folks in need of shelter, childcare, affordable housing, education, and jobs. It has been my honor to serve Housing Hope as an original Board member, ongoing community supporter, and as original liaison with the Everett Clinic, helping introduce Housing Hope to the Everett Clinic Foundation, which has been a significant financial contributor for many years.


Our decision to leave a legacy gift to Housing Hope was an easy one. For Donna and myself Housing Hope has been a “family affair”, supporting it with time, energy, and money over the years. We are proud to be able to continue to contribute to the work of Housing Hope well into the future, beyond our own lifetimes, so that others may find shelter, opportunity, and stability in a community of caring.


Jimmy Yamauchi

My relationship with Housing Hope began shortly after I transferred from Hawaii to GTE Northwest. I was enrolled in the first Leadership Snohomish County Program and upon graduation, mysteriously ended up on the Housing Hope Board of Directors. It did not take long for me to realize the unique opportunity we have here at Housing Hope to literally change lives. I was on the committee to create Stone Soup into our annual fundraiser and fondly remember our first Stone Soup Event. It was held in the current Tomorrow’s Hope Child Development Center, which was under construction. From humble beginnings the Housing Hope team has grown Stone Soup into a premier fundraising and educational event.


After serving my first three year term I relocated to Tampa Florida. I retired from GTE/Verizon in 2004 and returned to the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Ed Petersen reeled me back into Housing Hope where I served on the Board for two more terms.


Charlotte and I, continue to support Housing Hope because they are making a difference in Snohomish County and creating opportunities for many to become productive members of our communities. Housing Hope’s leadership team and the Board of Directors are comprised of highly skilled leaders and employees that are totally dedicated and committed to Housing Hope’s Mission.


Steve Zwaller

The opportunity to join the Housing Hope Board of Directors arose in 2008.  During my four years on the board, serving on various committees and projects, I really came to understand and appreciate what a difference Housing Hope was making in the lives of Snohomish County residents in need. 
It is the deep and sincere desire combined with the tireless efforts of the Housing Hope leadership and staff to affect meaningful life change.  Housing Hope offers its clients a vehicle for obtaining self-sufficiency through hard work on various issues attributing to their homelessness.  Their great success in part, has come as a result of their willingness to think outside the box and take a holistic approach in overcoming this obstacle to a secure future.

My wife Amy comes from a social services background and admires the depth and success of their programs.  Together we believe in the Housing Hope vision and mission that is drastically changing the lives of the homeless around Snohomish County and we will continue to contribute to this great organization.  Investing in people…. it is our hope for tomorrow.


My mother and father raised us girls to give to the less fortunate. We have always been blessed growing up in a family with so much love and giving. My folks always reached out to people in need and taught us to do the same. When my mom passed away in 2013 she left each of us a sum of money and in her honor I looked at different organization. I used to drive by Housing Hope every day on my way home and to work and looked on the Internet to see what exactly it was. I was very impressed with the help that it gave so many people and decided that that was where I wanted to donate the money in honor of her. I know she was looking down at me with a big smile on her face. Everyone there is so gracious and wonderful. Thank you for all that you do!