Companionship is a model of walking alongside an individual experiencing difficult life events, sharing the gifts of time and presence. Through companionship, respect and empathy are shared, community is fostered, and relationships built on trust and care are developed. Most participants in our programs are affected by mental illness, have experienced periods of homelessness, and are engaging in these deeply vulnerable relationships to strengthen their stability and recovery.
Residential Companion: At the House of Healing (HOH), companions make a one-year commitment to live in the house, to live in community with and provide companionship to both the companions and residents they share their home with. HOH is a beautiful eight-bedroom home, where four residents and four companions engage deeply with one another by sharing stories, meals, and living space. Residents typically come from Harborview Medical Center’s inpatient psychiatry unit. During the three to six months they spend at the house, residents receive companionship from the HOH community and clinical services from Harborview’s outpatient mental health program. When residents move to permanent housing, we continue to engage with them, extending the embrace of our caring community through our Community Companion Program, and supporting their continuing healing. Alumni are always welcome at the house’s dinner table, and many return to visit.
Community Companion Program: Our Community Companion Program is a unique and wonderful opportunity for each of the residents living in our permanent housing, as well as for House of Healing residents as they transition out of the House and into their new home, to experience the supportive presence of companions. There are two models of companionship we practice through, one on one companionship and group companionship.
- One-on-One Companionship: Through weekly meet-ups in the community and group gatherings at local events, participants gain a sense of connection and confidence in engaging with others, and within their communities. Companions are paired with an individual volunteer, and together meet in the greater Seattle community and spend time together. The Community Companion Volunteers come away from the experience cherishing their connection and shared memories of special moments. Community Companion Volunteers commit to minimum one year of service, spending approximately eight to ten hours each month with participants.
- Group Companionship: Our Group Companionship program is a beautiful opportunity to build community, both among a team of companions, as well as among residents at PHC’s permanent housing properties. Each week, a team of four to five companions come together to host a gathering of residents at one of our properties, such as preparing and sharing a meal, playing Bingo, exploring their neighborhood, making crafts, or watching a film together. It’s a time to come together in community with their neighbors, laugh, socialize, and share.