Travel guru Rick Steves gives away $4 million apartment complex for housing homeless women and children

SEATTLE — Travel book writer and TV show host Rick Steves has given a $4 million apartment complex in Lynnwood, Wash., to the YWCA for housing homeless women and their families.

“One of my pet social causes has long been affordable housing,” Steves wrote on his travel blog, posted April 13. “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. I would retain my capital, my equity would grow as the apartment complex appreciated, and I would suffer none of the headaches that I would have if I had rented out the units as a landlord. Rather than collecting rent, my ‘income’ would be the joy of housing otherwise desperate people.”

Steves, whose company is based in Edmonds, Wash., said he eventually came to own a 24-apartment complex in Lynnwood that he provided it to the YWCA for housing single moms who were recovering-drug addicts and getting custody of their children back. It is called Trinity Place.

“Imagine the joy of knowing that I could provide a simple two-bedroom apartment for a mom and her kids as she fought to get her life back on track,” he wrote.

But then he decided to take it a step further.

“With the election of our president and the rise of a new, greed-is-good ethic in our government, I want to be more constructive than just complaining about how our society is once again embracing ‘trickle-down’ ethics, and our remarkable ability to ignore the need in our communities even as so much wealth is accumulated within the top one percent of our populace,” Steves wrote.