in partnership
Aurora Commons Seattle  (4).jpg
(Image: Courtesy Aurora Commons)

Aurora Commons: A place of belonging in North Seattle

We all desire a place to belong.

"The Aurora Commons is a place where people feel seen, heard, and known, and invited to belong," according to Christina Smith, Development and Communications Manager at the Aurora Commons.

Located on Aurora and N 90th Street, just blocks north of Greenlake, the Aurora Commons operates as a drop-in day space for unhoused neighbors. During open hours, people can use computers, wash clothes, prepare food, access basic hygiene items, and, most importantly, spend time in a safe and comfortable place. For over ten years, the Commons has been a haven for many unhoused neighbors who live along the Aurora corridor.

<="" sd-embed="">

Throughout the city, various social service providers work with unhoused neighbors, but the Commons operates much differently. At the Commons, relationships and a place of belonging are priorities. Community Advocates help connect people to other agencies for services (like housing or employment), but everyone is welcome at the Commons, regardless of where they are in their journey.

Smith notes, "We hope for change, but we also know that there are so many factors. What it looks like for each person is different."

<="" sd-embed="">

There are no barriers to entry, no requirements to access specific services — the Commons is a place where you can come as you are. One unhoused neighbor says, at the Commons, you can "meet with other people who are going through the same thing."

Another reflects that "people wouldn’t make it" without the support of the Commons. Someone else shares that the Commons is a safe place "to sit and cook and be real."

It can’t be stated enough — the Commons is a safe place of belonging for people who often don’t experience belonging.

There are many ways to participate in the work of the Commons. Volunteers provide hot meals, keep the space clean and organized, teach classes, or spend time with unhoused neighbors during open hours. Community members also donate items, such as men’s clothing, which is a current need.

If you’d like to donate items, check the website for a list of common needs. And the Commons can always use financial donations to keep providing high-quality services to participants.

<="" sd-embed="">

Supporting the work of the Aurora Commons goes far beyond volunteering or donating. Smith emphasizes how community members can support unhoused neighbors in their daily life.

"If more people were just kind, I think that would have as much of an impact as a small number of people doing huge things," Smith says. She also encourages community members to "be an informed voter and [participate] in policies that actually impact our unhoused neighbors," and to be "an advocate in whatever sphere" you inhabit.

Homelessness is a complex community issue, and there’s no single solution or best practice for community members to engage in. But by becoming informed, being kind, and supporting the work of organizations like the Aurora Commons, community members can support our unhoused neighbors as they navigate life in our city.

Learn more about Aurora Commons here