Natasha Lindsay once worked at a desk authorizing insurance for Swedish Health Services. “I saw how screwed up the system was.” Story after story from patient after patient reinforced the idea that there was a better way – a more personal way – to be involved with fixing the brokenness she saw.
When she began at VOA in July 2020 working in Housing Services, she was on the ground floor when we mobilized a program to help renters who felt lost once the COVID pandemic started to worsen and layoffs began. She enjoyed the work of being the connection between people and resources to prevent homelessness.
When Natasha was a young adult, she participated in a self-expression and leadership class that asked participants to design a project that would have a positive impact and make a difference on a broader scale in people's lives. She immediately knew that she wanted to create a place of refuge for women leaving domestic violence, homelessness, and other difficult situations. Her vision was to buy and renovate an old school and convert it into a co-op of sorts with a suite of rooms to live in, a community center with connections to services and education, and childcare options so that single mothers would have a place to live, learn, and thrive. And so, within a few hours of the Maud’s House Program Manager position opening, she applied. It wasn’t just what she wanted to do, it was something she had dreamed of doing.
“I enjoy working with transitional living, being the link for people. Clients don’t have to be in survival mode all the time. I want them to look up. Look around. You don’t know what you don’t know, so I’m here to show you that you do have opportunities.”
Her goal of working with people in this therapeutic way is part of a larger plan. “I want this to be a linchpin for women to connect with services and to be run so well that this is the blueprint for transitional living, and to have multiple Maud’s Houses.”
Without Maud’s House, she believes, some of these moms would be couch surfing. Some would be incarcerated, simply for survival. Most would not have their children with them. Some may not still be here. “We all deserve a fair chance,” Natasha says. “Let’s change the attitude that these are pointless people. Being homeless is dehumanizing. I want to give them the tools they need to be independent, resilient, and successful. I want these women to have a positive impact on the community because then, it’s a domino effect. Let’s change the perspective.”
Natasha Lindsay is the new Program Manager at Maud’s House, currently serving 5 moms and 13 children. If you want to help Natasha change the world starting with Western Washington, or just want to say hello, she can be reached at 360.386.9066 or firstname.lastname@example.org.