by msjones msjones

On May 31, 2019, 160 innovation workers from six tech companies, including Amazon, Amperity, and Verizon, joined and piled into a room at Google to learn how a few of the leading nonprofits in Seattle are addressing homelessness. The event, per usual, was basic; mics, nibbles, chairs, and a panel of leaders on an engaging topic. There was so much interest in the event that Google offered an employee closed video stream. We’ve clearly seen tech workers in Seattle educating themselves at our events, they  want to understand the challenges and issues in Seattle and take direct action to improve their communities.


For the first time since 2012, King County is reporting a reduction of individuals experiencing homelessness. There’s skepticism about the numbers, however the Point in Time Count is regarded as the most reliable and consistent reporting metric.

The panel of experts convened to share how their organizations were contributing to the lowering of homelessness in Seattle. Presenters  included: Gordon McHenry, President and CEO of Solid Ground, Paul Lambros, CEO of Plymouth Housing, and Arthur Padilla, Interim Executive Director of Roots Young Adult Shelter. Director of Amazon in the Community, Alice Shobe, who has spent her career working in housing, moderated the panel.

The panel walked through the basics of homelessness and running nonprofits. As the discussion progressed, a few themes emerged:

  • The root causes of homelessness are varied, but one theme is common. Individuals with strong community or familial support fair better than those without. The lack of community-based mental health and addiction services came up, as did housing affordability.
  • Running a nonprofit is complex, to put it mildly. Lambros detailed how Plymouth raises funding from multiple sources to construct a $20m building and contrasted that experience to a private industry which has far simpler and faster tools at its disposal.
  • Voting and connecting with your local policy makers is important and impactful. There was a clear call to action by every panelist to vote in all elections and send lawmakers notes when you think they’re doing a good job.

(Left to Right) Arthur Padilla, Interim Executive Director of Roots Young Adult Shelter; Gordon McHenry, President and CEO of Solid Ground; Paul Lambros, CEO of Plymouth Housing; and Alice Shobe, Director of Community Engagement at Amazon.

After the crowd asked their thoughtful questions, each panelist shared specific opportunities they had for tech workers where they could volunteer and make a difference. is proud to offer events like this that engage our members in a way they can get informed and connected to the community.

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