Ellie Lambert Memorial Fund
In the early months of 2016, a handful of folks came together with the intention of helping the community of Yakima come up with and implement permanent solutions to our crises in affordable housing and chronic homelessness. That group of folks who came together would eventually form the core team of what would become Justice Housing Yakima.
Among those who came together that spring was Ms. Ellie Lambert, who had devoted a large part of her career and personal dedication to not only helping people who were homeless find support and stable housing, but also to the task of treating all people with dignity and respect, and encouraging everyone else she came into contact with to do the same. While she passionately believed in helping those without homes, she never did so with an ounce of patronizing; she was able to see the potential in every person she met, and treated them as equals.
Ellie brought not only her passion for helpful solutions but also her dedication to keeping our Board focused on the need to treat all people with dignity and respect. As a guiding force on the Justice Housing Yakima board, she developed our mission into the project that would become Cottage Hill Village, a development of up to 30 tiny homes with a community center that will provide much needed permanent, supportive housing in Yakima. In late 2018, we secured a large parcel of land near Milroy Park in central Yakima to build this village, and we remain dedicated to continuing to develop this project so that this dream – shared by Ellie and many others – will become a reality.
In the midst of the excitement of launching this endeavor, however, Ellie became ill and was eventually diagnosed with cancer. She didn’t let that stop her from keeping this effort going, working with us and many in the community to develop these plans so that our community can offer people safe, affordable housing situated in a community of peer support. She continued working with us until her health absolutely prevented her from doing so, always reminding us of our core values:
- Every person needs a home
- Every person deserves to be treated with dignity and respect
- Every person should live in a safe and healthy community.
Sadly, Ellie died in early May of this year. Just weeks before, the JHY Board of Directors adopted a resolution honoring Ellie’s work on this and other projects, declaring our intention to name the community center at Cottage Hill Village “The Ellie Lambert Community Center.” The Board also set up a special memorial fund so that members of the community can honor Ellie and help keep her legacy alive by contributing to this fund to help make Cottage Hill Village not just a dream of hers, but a reality for all in this community.
One oft-repeated phrase Ellie said in relation to this project was “This is a community effort.” Indeed, it is a community effort, and you can be a part of this effort by giving to the Ellie Lambert memorial fund.