Travel guide guru Rick Steves just gave a $4 million apartment complex to homeless women and kids who need housing.
Steves realized the importance of affordable housing early on during his travel adventures (how else?) as a young man in Europe.
With his rail pass, he’d sleep on trains, ferries, the pews of Greek churches, the concrete floors of Dutch construction projects, and in barns at the edge of unaffordable Swiss alpine resorts.
“How else would a white, middle-class American kid gain a firsthand appreciation for the value of a safe and comfortable place to sleep?”
Twenty years ago, he devised a scheme whereby he could put his retirement savings not into a bank to accrue interest, but into cheap apartments that could house struggling neighbors. He would be helping others while his own money would grow whenever the property values rose.
“I would retain my capital, my equity would grow as the apartment complex appreciated,” Steves explained on his travel blog. “Rather than collecting rent, my ‘income’ would be the joy of housing otherwise desperate people. I found this a creative, compassionate and more enlightened way to ‘invest’ while retaining my long-term security.”
The 24-unit apartment complex began housing single moms who were recovering from drug addiction and ready to get custody of their children back.
“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.”
But, in early 2017, Steves’s generosity rose to a whole new level. He took his affordable housing project one step further and donated the entire 24-unit apartment complex to the YWCA. The nonprofit group will now be able to plan for the future, knowing that the facility is theirs to keep.
(WATCH the inspiring video at K5 News)
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