The Greenwood Home was established more than 40 years ago as a small group home for adults living with developmental disabilities. It was formerly part of a larger collective of group of homes called “The Out of the Woods Gang.” A gentleman owned a number of homes in the Greenwood/North Seattle area and provided care for DD residents in some of them. At some point in the 1970’s someone sued him and he decided to sell his homes and divest himself of the business. At that time, Fred Fontana, Shirley Cox, Neil Sharp and other parents got together to create what is now known as Greenwood Home. They applied for the not for profit IRS status, created the board of directors, bylaws and articles of incorporation.
Clients with intellectual disabilities would find their way to the home from institutional living centers such as the Fircrest School and Rainier School. These clients could be supported by staff in a much smaller, homelike setting that allowed them the freedom to live in the greater Seattle community among its residents.
One of the staff members, Terri Meier, rose to the position of administrator and acted in this capacity until about 2012 when she retired. During most of her tenure Greenwood Home was a 3 story older home with a full basement, main floor that included an office and meeting/activity room along with bedrooms and an upper floor with 3 bedrooms. At this time, many of the residents shared a room. New regulations required that each resident have a room of their own in the 1990’s and given the condition of the home, the board began to work towards building a home that did not require residents to climb stairs, as the residents were beginning to age and show signs that the stairs would become problematic.
The board began numerous activities to raise monies for a new home such as garage sales, raffles and fundraising auctions. However, this was not raising the type of funds to build a new home. The board then contacted Solid Ground in the middle 1990’s and this organization began work with the families, board members and community to find funding for a new home. At the meetings with Solid Ground, both residents and their families decided that they did not want to be “temporarily” housed elsewhere, as by this time, they functioned more as a family than as a “home for developmentally delayed.” So, a plan was formed to build a new home on the grounds of the old home where the residents could continue to live.
The funds were found through a grant funded by the city of Seattle and the county of King, and the new home was built around the older home, in an “L” shape. The new home was completed in the summer of 2001. In one day, the residents moved into the new home and within a few days, the old home was demolished and parts of the old home were buried under soil. The area that is now the garden is where the old home used to stand. As part of the move, various families donated new sheets, towels, furniture and other items noted as deficient during the move.
Many of the current residents have lived at Greenwood Home since the days when it was a private, for profit home. Many of the newer residents have only known the “new” home as it now exists. Three of the deceased residents were related to the original founders: Neil Sharp, Shirley Cox and Fred Fontana. The memorial garden was created by Shirley Cox in memory of her son who was one of the original residents. Beda Herbison and Kathy Jermann are daughters of Neil Sharp and currently serve on the board of directors. Fred Fontana left his estate to his son and at his death, these funds created the Fontana Funds for Capital Improvements.
At present, the Greenwood Home functions as a non-profit, 501C3 corporation established for the purpose of assuring the health, safety and happiness of the clients we serve in the home. The home is operated with limited overhead and monies provided by the Department of Social and Health Services for care of the clients in the home are “given back” to the organization.
Admission and Oversight
Admission to our licensed assisted living is granted through the Developmental Disabilities Administration Core Waiver program. We are regulated by the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) Residential Care Services (RCS) program and the Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA). Our all volunteer board of directors is charged with the oversight of the home. Greenwood Home is audited by an independent Certified Accounting Firm annually to assure compliance with City, County and Federal standards.
Each of our 11 private rooms has a beautiful view of the surrounding grounds and the represents the individuality and personality of the clients we serve. Common areas include vaulted ceilings, a community kitchen, living room, dining room, sitting area and two sunrooms. Our home is air conditioned and accessible for clients who use wheelchairs and even clients who need a mechanical lift! A fenced courtyard is ideal for backyard barbecues, swinging on our swing set and annual picnics. Located in the greenwood neighborhood, clients have access to the best parts of Seattle including Carkeek Park, the Ballard and Crown hill neighborhoods and North Seattle. While this is a private residence, we do welcome visitors who are interested in the Mission to make an appointment for a tour of our beautiful home.