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A home against homelessness

New facility helps veterans

The Multi-Service Center’s new William J. Wood Veterans House helps veterans who are homeless. Photo credit: Ed Streit

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Dean had twice experienced homelessness, and he was well down the highway to hopelessness.

In December 2016, however, he moved into the Multi-Service Center's new William J. Wood Veterans House (WJW House), and he began to turn his life around.

"The homeless thing sucks," the Air Force veteran wrote in an email. "I haven't met one person here at the William Wood Veterans House that isn't happy with their new situation."

The Multi-Service Center (MSC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that works throughout South King and parts of Pierce County to provide housing, education, employment, energy assistance and clothing to individuals and families in need.

The MSC opened the William J. Wood Veterans House in 2016 to meet the increasing need of homeless veterans.  The $13 million facility is located at 29404 Pacific Highway South in Federal Way.

"We meet each veteran and family where they are at, and try to tailor support specific to their unique needs," wrote Robin Corak, the CEO of MSC. "This building is intended to be a safety net for veterans and their families who have been homeless for weeks, months or, in some cases, many years."

Much of the credit for what the house stands for belongs to the efforts of Army Vietnam War veteran William J. Wood. He and other veterans advocated in 2005 for a local property tax levy to fund additional services for veterans. The successful passage of the levy led, in time, to the building of the WJW House.

The facility offers housing for homeless or imminently homeless veterans and their families. All 44 one-, two-, and three-bedroom units are fully furnished and eligible for rental subsidies. MSC case managers and Veterans Administration staff are located onsite.

Amenities include parking, an exercise room, community rooms, computer labs and security. Basic education, financial management, technology skills and job readiness classes are offered along with mental health and substance abuse counseling services.

"It's a safety net, like you are at the circus, and if you fall off the bar they are here to catch you," wrote Paula, the wife of an Army veteran.

She credits MSC case managers for helping her, her husband and their daughter lay the foundation to their future success.

"No matter what, you are safe here," she said. "That's what this place is."

All residents who come to the WJW House must be referred through the Veterans Administration and should call 877.904.8387.  For more information, visit

Cash donations to MSC can be made to support the William J. Wood Veterans House. Donations can be made online at, by calling 253.838.6810, or by mail to MSC, P.O. Box 23699, Federal Way, WA 98093.

Be sure to mention that your donation is to support the William J. Wood Veterans House. 

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