Rick Steves became a millionaire thanks to his European travel guides and series.
Yet, he doesn’t feel comfortable living large while many others live in poverty.
So, to help homeless women and children, he decided to buy an entire apartment complex. Steves gave away the $4-million complex called Trinity Place to the YWCA, and 24 people could be settled in the apartments. The complex has become a safe place for women, mainly single mothers, where they could receive guidance and settle their lives.
Namely, he bought the apartment complex back in 2005 and adapted it to be appropriate for poor families.
“Twenty years ago, I devised a scheme where I could put my retirement savings not into a bank to get interest, but into cheap apartments to house struggling neighbors,” Steves wrote on his blog. “Rather than collecting rent, my ‘income’ would be the joy of housing otherwise desperate people.”
He teamed up with the YWCA and the Rotary Club of Edmonds to renovate the apartments, receiving some extra assistance from the Gates Foundation and the local government. Then mothers and their kids could move in. From 2005 to 2016, the complex was pretty full. At first, Steves wanted the complex to be his ‘retirement egg nest,’ but until retirement, other people should use it. But, he officially gave the apartments to the YWCA in 2017. His next step was to inspire other people.
“Working with the YWCA and the Rotary Club of Edmonds, we publicized this creative way of putting a fortunate person’s retirement nest egg to work in a powerful way in hopes that others would be inspired to do the same in their communities,” he wrote.
Some of the mothers in the complex were separated from their children as a result of their unlucky circumstances, such as drug addictions. They made efforts to rebuild their lives. Trinity Place allowed homeless mothers to reunite with kids who have been placed in foster care.