Seattle’s Wm Booth Shelter expands

JETTSON ESTEY was a mortgage broker before becoming homeless.


“Homelessness can happen to anyone,” said Major Ron Strickland, Northwest divisional commander. “Fortunately, the William Booth Center is here to help.”

Strickland and several guest speakers spoke movingly at a dedication ceremony at the Army’s William Booth Center recently. The event celebrated an expansion at the men’s homeless shelter for veterans who otherwise might be living on the street.

Scheduled for completion in June 2002, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs is providing significant funding for the $1.3 million expansion, which will include 30 new beds, classrooms for life-skills instruction, work space for medical staff, and laundry and bathroom facilities.

“Veterans are now able to do the things they need to do to improve their self-worth,” said Marty Kaplan, acting coordinator for the King County Veterans’ Program. “Our program is substantially stronger because of our relationship with The Salvation Army.”

“I owe my life to the Veterans’ Administration and The Salvation Army,” said Jettson Estey, a United States Army veteran whose career as a mortgage broker and retail manager was cut short by his alcoholism and unhappy marriages. He became homeless in December and came to the William Booth Center in February. “William Booth Center is a place where I had a chance to get my thoughts and life back on track.”

Today, Estey works full-time at the center as facilities manager. “I have a great job, which carries a lot of responsibility. The Army is an organization of caring people.”

Patrick Neal, a Marine Corps veteran, was an aviation technician who, like Estey, became unemployed and homeless because of alcoholism and divorce. He, too, is now employed full-time at the William Booth Center, as lead facilitator. “The Salvation Army has given me back my self-respect and confidence.”

(Some material in this article originally appeared in The Seattle Times.)

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