Pearl Jam concerts at Safeco Field raise $11 million to fight homelessness in Seattle
SEATTLE – Fans poured into Safeco Field to see Pearl Jam play in front of a Seattle crowd for the first time since 2013.
“Really excited, said Pearl Jam fan Tom Hegge. "Wishing we had been able to camp out like some of the other people. We’re a bit farther back, but we’re super happy to be here."
The Seattle band will play in their hometown on Wednesday and Friday evening.
Through their two shows, Pearl Jam has raised more than $11 million towards fighting homelessness in Seattle.
“And this is what those Home Shows can do," said Marty Hartman, director of Mary’s Place, a non-profit that provides temporary housing to homeless women, children, and families. "Literally, bring more people home, out of those cars, out of those tents, up off the sidewalk and give them a safe space to be and get them into their forever home."
On Wednesday, Mary’s Place opened its doors to homeless families at its first privately-owned shelter.
“Up until now, we’ve been in buildings that are slated for demolition," Hartman said. "This is the first time we’ve ever bought anything. This is our first home purchase."
The Burien emergency shelter has 219 beds, an expansive kitchen, and space dedicated to children and teens. The shelter is also equipped with a medical facility and special quarters for those with special needs.
“The gift of a home, when you don’t have one, it’s pretty incredible,” Hartman said.
Mary’s Place is one of 30 to 40 local organizations receiving a portion of the money raised through Pearl Jam’s hometown shows. According to a concert organizer, the band has already raised more than $11 million dollars this week, with 90 percent of the proceeds going to King County organizations.
Now, more than 80 Seattle restaurants have joined Pearl Jam’s campaign and are donating a portion of their Wednesday sales to Pearl Jam’s Home Show fund.
“Businesses in Seattle want to do the right thing and I think this provides an opportunity to do so, to make a difference,” said Sara Nelson, co-founder of Fremont Brewing.
Nelson added the timing of this campaign is perfect for Seattle after the City Council’s debate in May to tax some of the city’s biggest businesses in order to provide more affordable housing.
“A lot of businesses jumped on board because we do want to be part of the solution," Nelson said. "And I think that its great that this is coming in the wake of that big battle to show that we can come back together as a community."
Pearl Jam will play a second sold-out show on Friday at Safeco Field.