Vision House Timeline
1990 Vision House Founded
In response to the increasing plight of the homeless and their enduring religious convictions, John and Susan Camerer launch the agency after viewing a movie about a single mother who became homeless and ended up losing custody of her daughter. The couple writes a personal check for $800 and establishes “Vision Special Needs Housing”. The first transitional home for single men recovering from drug and/or alcohol addiction opens on November 2, 1990, in Everett, Washington.
1991 Agency Opens Second Home
A second home for homeless single men in recovery from substance abuse opens in Maple Valley, Washington.
1992 Single Women’s Home Opens
A third home opens in Seattle, Washington for homeless single women. Although the program is not successful, the founders do not give up or lose sight of their original vision to serve homeless women and their children in the future.
1993 Seattle Home Converted to Men’s Home
The founders decide to convert the Seattle women's home into a home for single men.
1994 Single Mothers’ and Children’s Home Opens
The couple’s initial vision comes to life when the agency identifies the leadership needed to start a program for homeless mothers and their children in Renton, Washington. Meeting a significant need in the community, local churches rally behind the program with volunteer and financial support.
1995 Agency Passes Significant Audits
With flying colors, the agency passes a United Way program audit sponsored by the Boeing Company and a financial audit.
1996 Vision for Larger Facility Launches
In March, the vision for a new, larger facility for homeless mothers and their children is born. On September 8, the agency board votes unanimously to construct the facility and to build the project only with funds that will not restrict the agency in operating consistent with its mission.
1997 Property Purchased for New Family Complex
With funding from the Medina Foundation, the Boeing Employee Community Fund and a private donor, property is purchased in Renton to build a complex that will provide housing and services for 12 homeless single mothers and their children.
1998 Name Changes to Vision House
Vision Special Needs Housing changes its name to Vision House. The board of directors vote to change the agency from a charitable organization to a 501 (c) 3 religious organization and develop a statement of faith to insure that the agency stays true to its founding mission.
1999 New Home for Single Mothers
Vision House successfully completes Phase I of its complex for homeless mothers and their children in Renton. The first family moves in on December 23, 1999. Currently, four families reside in Phase I.
2000 New Single Men’s Program
In January, the Vision House board votes to begin raising the support to build the second phase of the single mother’s complex in Renton. VH opens a home for homeless men in Burien. The home is donated by the Port of Seattle with the provision that VH would move the home to a new location. The home was moved and renovated thanks to community donations and volunteer labor.
2001 Complex for Single Mothers and Children Expands
In partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties, Vision House finishes construction of Phase II for mothers and their children, tripling capacity to 12 families.
2003 Campaign Launches for Children’s Village
Vision House launches $6.6 million dollar expansion to add 11 transitional housing units, a child care center for 88 children, counseling offices and administrative space within walking distance of its single mother’s complex in Renton.
2004 Fundraising and Design Begins
Vision House starts design on the Children’s Village complex and a campaign cabinet, led by City of Renton Mayor Kathy Keolker, is assembled.
2005 Children’s Village Phase I Opens
With the support of Conner Homes, Sajasa Construction and HomeAid Master Builders Care, Vision House opens four housing units and a child care center for 88 children, overcoming a major obstacle for homeless families that need child care in order to regain self sufficiency.
2006 Schneider Family Playroom Opens
With the support of Schneider Family Homes, Vision House completes a resident community center complete with teen hangout space, computer center and appropriate activity space for children of all ages.
2007 Children's Village Phase II
In Spring, with the support of CamWest Development, Vision House begins construction on the HEDCO Building which will provide housing for an additional four families (Children’s Village Phase II). In Fall, with the support of Centex Homes, Vision House begins construction on the agency offices, program space and three additional housing units for families. Plans are also in design stage for Vision House Jacob’s Well in Shoreline. Since the beginning, over 500 homeless men, women and children have benefited from Vision House services.
2008 Children’s Village Phase II – CamWest Opens HEDCO House
In partnership with the Master Builders Care Foundation, CamWest Development completes construction on the Vision House HEDCO building. Four new families move in, bringing to 20 the number of apartment units Vision House operates for homeless families. Eight storage garages are also part of the HEDCO building. Vision House continues operating a separate program serving 9 men in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction.
2009 Children’s Village Phase II – Centex Building Opens
Centex Homes completes the third building in the Children’s Village complex, which includes 3 more housing units for homeless families, an after school program, counseling and administrative offices. Vision House can now serve up to 85 homeless individuals in 23 apartments for homeless families, and in the men’s recovery program serving 9 men. A capital campaign continues in order to raise support to build Vision House Jacob’s Well in Shoreline.
2010 Vision House 20th Anniversary and Jacob’s Well Complex Breaks Ground
Vision House celebrates 20 years helping the homeless transform their lives. Since its launch in 1990, nearly 700 homeless men, women and children have received housing and support services to assist them in achieving independence and self sufficiency. Founders, John and Susan Camerer, continue to lead the organization. Susan is Executive Director and John is Director of Operations. The Jacob’s Well housing complex in Shoreline breaks ground. This community-led project will include 20 apartments for homeless mothers and children, a family support center and a licensed after school program.
2011 Volunteers Frame Jacob’s Well Complex. Vision House Acquires Thrift Store.
More than 600 volunteers help frame and roof the first of the two Jacob's Well buildings in Shoreline for homeless mothers and children. Vision House also acquires a Thrift Store in Bothell from Bellevue Christian School to provide quality, low-cost merchandise to the community as well as to produce revenue for Vision House programs.
2012 Jacob's Well Building Project Continues. Resale Operations Expanded. Resident Programs Enhanced.
Being built debt-free, hundreds of volunteers alongside professionals installed the siding, insulation and drywall, painted the exterior and the interior and laid flooring at the Jacob's Well complex. The Vision House Thrift Store and our resale operations are enhanced and expanded - a partnership with Savers, Inc. is established whereby Vision House sells excess donated clothing to Savers, helping to further diversity our funding base. Resident programs are enhanced, adding a Family Fun Night every Wednesday, providing dinner at our monthly Resident Community Meetings, and adding a part-time child advocate position to increase the quality and quantity of activities and counseling sessions with resident children.