A former hotel in Auburn is providing supportive housing for people exiting chronic homelessness, including veterans and seniors.
Don’s Place, so-named for a former homeless veteran in Auburn, is operated by Compass Housing Alliance in partnership with the city. After a soft opening in December 2022 with 28 residents, a total of about 78 individuals, couples, and domestic partners were expected to be housed early this year after an official opening in January.
The building is the former Clarion Inn hotel, one of five similar properties purchased by King County to accommodate at-risk or chronically homeless.
Compass Housing, a Seattle-based provider of supportive housing and services for people experiencing homelessness, works with government and community organizations to offer “something far more valuable than just a building,” said Michael Bailey, Compass’ president. “Through our collaboration, we have provided a beacon of hope. As we work to fill all 81 units at Don’s Place, we hope this project can serve as a living testament to what we can achieve for others when we partner together.”
David, a Don’s Place resident, said he has “a home for the first time in my life. It’s mine, no time limit and no fee. It gives you a place to grow into the person you want to be.”
Similar projects are located in Federal Way, Kirkland, Redmond, Renton, and Seattle, for a total of 1,273 housing units. All are funded through King County’s sales tax, as authorized by the County Council and the Legislature.
THE DON OF DON’S PLACE
The namesake of Don’s Place is the late Donald Gene Castro, better known as “Old Man Don” in the Auburn community. While being homeless himself in his later years after he could no longer work as a truck driver, he helped others in similar straits by collecting and delivering clothing for them. He was well-known and loved by virtually everyone “on the street,” said officials at Compass Housing Alliance. Castro, a Vietnam War veteran, was 78 when he died in 2020. He received a full military burial at Tahoma National Cemetery in 2021.