Bellevue: Last Friday, King County Councilmember Claudia Balducci donated a “retired” King County van to Dignity for Divas, a non-profit organization whose mission is to support women as they transition from homelessness to a self-sustaining life.
Dignity for Divas supports women by ensuring access to daily essentials. Their programs provide wrap around services to women (as well as some men and children) who are experiencing homelessness all over the region.
Dignity for Divas will use the van to launch a new program, “Destination Diva.” Dignity for Divas will use the van to drive women without access to transportation to an overnight emergency shelter in King County. To a woman experiencing homelessness, the project supports her greatest need: a safe place to sleep for the night.
“To feel safe is how we all want and deserve to feel. As someone who has experienced homelessness first hand, I know that having a safe place to sleep – even if it’s only temporary – makes a big difference in what you can accomplish the next day,” said Nikki Gane, founder, Dignity for Divas. “We are so grateful to Councilmember Claudia Balducci and King County Metro for supporting our efforts with a new van, which will bring our Destination Divas program to life! It’s going to make a huge impact to more than 1,000 women per year by providing them with a way to get to an emergency shelter for the night.”
“I was happy to be able to donate a van to Dignity for Divas this year.” Said Councilmember Balducci. “Dignity for Divas does phenomenal work for homeless women in our community and I know they have already been putting this van to good use, getting at-risk women to a safe place for the night.”
Since 1995, the County Council has donated vans from Metro’s Vanpool to local cities and nonprofit organizations to provide transportation for low-income, elderly, youth and disabled residents. The vans are part of a fleet of county vehicles that have been “retired” after accruing a certain number of miles.
Recipients of the vans must meet specific requirements, including outlining detailed plans for using the van, ability to provide quality and trained drivers and assurance that the van will be available to assist persons without regard to affiliation with any particular organization.
The vanpool program provides mobility for a diverse array of King County residents, supports the positive work of various local organizations and relieves traffic congestion by reducing the need for single-occupancy vehicles. Interested organizations can contact the County Council member representing their district for more information on applying for a vehicle.
Picture attached: Far left: Volunteer Kimberly Wilson, Executive Director Nikki Gane, CM Balducci, Supporter Jefferson Butler, Volunteer Hilary Meyerson.