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Transplant House is a Seattle-based non-profit helping people & families in need of safe, convenient, affordable housing pre and post-transplant surgery.
History: Founded in 2006 by a small group of transplant recipients and community members, Transplant House began with just one unit. We have gradually added additional apartments and today operate over 20 units with 100% occupancy. To date, we have successfully supported 110 transplant patients from Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and Montana. We are governed by a 12-member Board of Directors and employ an Executive Director and a Housing Director.
What We Do: Transplant House helps keep transplant recipients healthy and their families strong by providing safe, convenient, affordable housing for pre and post-transplant recovery. The transplant recipient or family member typically learns of our services from their transplant team or local transplant support group. All potential residents complete an application for housing. The typical stay at Transplant House is 60-90 days. As soon as a patient leaves, we immediately clean and prepare the unit for the next family.
We currently have long-term, significantly discounted leases on over 20 housing units (all just a short drive/ride from the University of Washington Medical Center and Seattle Childrens Hopspital). All Transplant House units are fully furnished, one or two-bedroom with kitchen, ADA accessible, and with washer/dryer in the unit, controlled access entry, and free, secured, underground parking. Transplant House provides all utilities (including local phone, cable TV, and high-speed Internet). We also provide linens, towels, pots and pans, plates and utensils, and consumables like soap, toilet paper, and cleaning supplies. Pets and smoking are prohibited in our apartments. Transplant patients pay $1800 per month/$60 per day (1 bedroom) or $2300 per month/$77 per day (2 bedrooms). There are no additional taxes or deposits required. Many patients qualify for insurance or Medicaid reimbursement of housing.
Who We Serve: Our patients represent a cross-section of the Pacific Northwest and range in age from small infants to retirees. Transplant recipients typically have at least one family member or caregiver that remains with them during throughout their stay. In 2009, we provided residential housing to 29 transplant recipients and their caregivers; so far this year, we have already served 42 patients and their caregivers. We receive an average of 30 calls per month inquiring about the availability of housing.
The Need: Transplant patients often travel far beyond their local hospital for transplant surgery where they face limited housing choices. Once patients "move" to the top of a donor list, they are typically required to be in residence within a short drive of the hospitals they await surgery. Housing may be needed immediately; stays vary from weeks to months, depending on the availability of donor organs and recovery time post-surgery. Because of patients' immune-suppressed state, sterile living environments are required to reduce risk of infection. Transplant House fills an important gap in housing by providing apartments that are furnished, cleaned, and maintained following strict protocols established by the University of Washington Medical Center. Our apartments are available on month-to-month basis for short and long-term stays.
Demand is High: We maintain virtually a 100% occupancy rate. Recently, our Housing Director turned away seven patients: four were patients who had just been notified an organ was available and transplant would occur within the week; three were patients who had scheduled bone marrow transplants within the next month. Unfortunately, unless a transplant patient has confirmed housing, their surgery cannot be scheduled. With both University of Washington Medical Center and Seattle Children's Hospital serving as regional transplant centers, we expect this level of demand to continue.
Support We Provide: While we do not offer medical advice/services, we do provide a circle of support for each family. Together, our Executive Director, Housing Director, and our Transplant House Ambassadors assist and support our residents during their stay. Many of our Ambassadors and volunteers (and Board members) are transplant recipients themselves and truly understand the complex and emotional transplant process. Our Ambassadors provide transportation for the patient (and/or caregiver's) first trip to a local grocery store. Ambassadors' familiarity with the local area--businesses, services, amenities, neighborhoods--can help relieve the stress of temporarily relocation. Our volunteers remain in regular contact with the patients, anticipating needs and handling everything from cable TV not working to helping the family figure out where things are located in Seattle and how to get there. They provide respite for caregivers and can connect patients to support groups or other community resources. Sometimes what is needed most is a smile or willingness to listen. In short, we work hard to create a warm, healing environment for everyone who stays at Transplant House.
The Future: Transplant House hopes to continue to add as many additional housing units to meet the high demand. We are working to expand our volunteer corps to provide family support and to assist with organizational and fundraising efforts. We are continuing outreach within the organ transplant community in the Pacific Northwest. Our long-term goal is to purchase our own building, which will offer a long-term cost savings to both Transplant House and those we serve.
Funding: We remain a small, grassroots organization with an annual operating budget of $351,960; only 3% of our budget goes towards fundraising, the remaining 97% goes towards the leases on our units, cleaning, furnishings/equipment, and utilities. We are committed to increasing support from corporations and foundations so that we can add more units. The cost to furnish a unit is $8,000 for a one-bedroom apartment and $10,000 for a two-bedroom. We typically replace most furnishings every five to seven years; recliners, kitchen and bathroom furnishings are replaced more frequently. We receive financial and in-kind support from IKEA, Microsoft, Network for Good, Combined Federal Campaign, and others. Our annual auction is the only fundraising event that we hold. Transplant House benefits from the generosity of our volunteers and individual donors.
- Liz Truong
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