[Hpn] Tacoma, WA - Phoebe House opened life-altering doors - Tacoma News Tribune - July 11, 2002

H. C. Covington H. C. Covington" <icanamerica@bellsouth.net
Wed, 17 Jul 2002 11:25:05 -0500

YOUR VOICE: Phoebe House opened life-altering doors

Editorial - by Tiffany Schneider - Tacoma News Tribune - July 12, 2002

The News Tribune had an article about Phoebe House closing its doors (6-27), and
the slant put on it made it sound like something underhanded was going on. I
took offense to that.

I am still living today. What price can you put on a life?

I know of Phoebe House's financial problems and, yes, there was some
mismanagement. But that was due to the lack of funding to be able to hire a
full-time accountant and grant-writer.

Now, you tell me: If you had to make the decision of feeding two women and four
children who were homeless and had no food to eat or making sure your I's were
dotted and your T's were crossed, what would you do?

Or better yet, what would you do if the police brought a battered woman and her
two children to your door at 2 a.m.? Would you turn them away?

Well, I am here today because Mary East was able to keep those doors open as
long as she did. Phoebe House gave me the chance to leave an abusive
relationship. It gave me a place to heal in a structured environment.

East and her staff gave 120 percent to the women and children in need who came
to her door looking for safety and stability. What I learned there you can't put
down in a ledger or measure in a bank account. It made me realize not everyone
is out to hurt me and that my life had worth.

I write this today as a healed woman and mother. I live a life that is happy and
healthy for my children and me. I give back to the community and help those in
need who want to make positive changes in their lives.

We all live in a community and that community is only as strong as its weakest
link. We all need to help each other to make it stronger.

If each person helped only one other person, there would be no need for places
like Phoebe House. But we don't.

So where do you stand? How many people have you helped make life-altering
changes? East and Phoebe House have lost count of how many changes and miracles
have happened to the women and children who have walked through her doors.

I am truly heartbroken over the prospect of Phoebe House closing.

Tiffany Schneider is now manager of a Tacoma apartment complex.

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