Mark shares his resources with the homeless

offers apartments to dozens

Spend five minutes with Mark Agee and you will never forget him. Mark brings a gregarious enthusiasm to everything he does. But ironically, his relationship with Volunteers of America began with a tragedy.

On a still evening in August 2005, the Lloyd apartment building, which he owns, went up in flames. In typical fashion, Mark quickly found a silver lining—and a chance to use what life had handed him to improve the lives of others.

When the smoke cleared, and plans to renovate moved forward, he saw a chance to make a difference. Mark forged a wonderful new community partnership with us by leasing ten of the building’s 28 units to Volunteers of America. Subsidized by HUD’s Good Samaritan Project, the units provide permanent low-income housing for single, disabled adults from our shelters and transitional housing programs like Crosswalk and Hope House.

Mark’s new venture offered ten formerly homeless men and women the miracle of living in a bright, beautiful new space. Residents pay 30 percent of their income for rent and receive support from an onsite case manager who offers ongoing help, including connections to community resources. The first tenants moved in at the beginning of 2007.

In the years since then, Mark has expanded his partnership with Volunteers of America to include 25 of his nicest, newest units in several buildings throughout Spokane.

"His gift isn’t just a lease on a new apartment. It’s a lease on a new life for so many people," says Rusty Barnett who manages the Hope House women’s shelter. "Mark has housed many of our clients—many of whom struggle with mental illness or a history of substance abuse and all of whom were recently homeless—and not once has he treated our clients any differently than any other tenant. He’s such a compassionate person."

"Mark is different," says Barnett. "He is different because he cares AND he’s willing to do something about it."

Mark’s focus on service, family and faith are evident in all his activities. We recently found Mark working late into the night with his brother Paul to renovate a triplex on Monroe intended for Volunteers of America clients. His love for family is displayed in his family-owned businesses. He has spent more than thirty years building Agee Electric Inc. into a successful electrical contracting company with his wife, Sue. And in 2005, he began a new venture—Pamiris payroll services—with is son Bryan and daughter Alyssa. The couple also works with young couples at their church.

The name of Mark’s holding company says it all—Ten Talents, LLC.—which references the Bible parable in which a master gives his servants "talents" or coins to use in his absence. Instead of burying his talents to keep them safe, the wisest servant puts the gift to work and doubles it to ten talents. Mark is all about putting what he’s been given to good use—making a difference in the lives of everyone around him.