Milt Minor was famous only to the handful of people who knew him, but his life-long compassion for others lives on. “He was the most caring, giving person,” remembers Joan Brown, executive director of the Northwest Housing Association.
For years Milt was the general manager of Fleetwood Homes in Woodland, Washington. Joan recalls Milt was always looking for ways to help others, especially those close at hand, like mowing an elderly neighbor’s yard. He once stopped at a store on the way to another event because he wanted to buy a pair of shoes for a boy who needed them.
After his death 26 years ago, people wanted to honor the man and his concern for others, a man who led by example. Handing out a trophy or giving a Person of the Year Award didn’t seem to fit his style. Instead, the Milt Minor Foundation was established with a mission to support efforts to put families into housing.
This spring, the Foundation contributed $24,000 to the Family Support Center of South Sound. The check was presented to Trish Gregory, executive director of FSCSS by Del DeTray, current president of the Northwest Housing Association and owner of DeTray’s Homes.
In the past, funds were generated by an annual golf tournament that was held in various Southwest Washington locations. Milt loved golfing. The Minor family attended the events including a dinner and an auction. As funds accumulated, the Foundation made arrangements to give away a manufactured home to a deserving family who otherwise would not have been able to afford it. This happened twice. “We quickly learned that giving a home away wasn’t as easy as we’d hoped,” explained Joan.
It’s challenging to find a suitable place for the home and to maintain its upkeep. Therefore, the Foundation decided to redirect its efforts to existing organizations that supported families in need of housing. The Family Support Center of South Sound makes an excellent match.
The Family Support Center is a one-stop place for people to connect with multiple services for those in need of housing, rent or utility support, aid due to domestic abuse, sexual assault or human trafficking, legal matters, parent education, and more. The recent move to a larger facility on the Westside allows more space for caseworkers and programs. The FSCSS is actively involved with the homeless needs of our community including but not limited to Pear Blossom Place, which is a shelter for families with 36 beds for families and 7 permanent housing apartments.
Federal and state monies received by FSCSS are required to go to people who are literally homeless. That means they are sleeping in a car or in a place not meant for human habitation like an unheated garage or under a bridge. The Minor Foundation donation is able to extend support to those who are eminently homeless. That means a family may have housing in the moment but it is not going to be available in the short term. The funds can support a family or person in an unstable living situation. “The money is very significant!” adds Trish Gregory, who sees the gap between homeless and almost homeless on a regular basis.
The Family Support Center has eyes on the future with plans to build 44 permanent housing units on the nearby vacant lot for families and survivors of domestic violence. There is room for 44 more soon after. These properties will have on-site case management to support people in their journeys to more stable and safe living.
It’s not possible to thank Milt directly, but it is possible to make a difference in your own way in your own community. One way is to send money to those organizations that do work that is meaningful to you. It is also more than that. Milt Minor reminds us that it is the continuing small kindness given to others that add up. How can you offer kindness on a daily basis to those around you? Maybe it is offering a ride or making a phone call or cooking someone a meal. There is always a need. Just look around.
Thank you, Milt.
You can get more information about manufactured homes by visiting their website or calling the Washington Manufactured Home Association at 360-357-5650.
For services with the Family Support Center you can literally drop by or call 360-754-9297. The Center is located at 3545 7th Avenue SW, Olympia, WA 98502.