- A big challenge for folks exiting homelessness is making connections
- Was the Daily Meaningful Activity Committee, but renamed ourselves the “Communities Connections” committee.
- We researched what happened when people enter permanent housing in the past. We found that when people were housing, they missed their friends and had no connections in the neighborhoods they were living in. This caused many of them to abandon their apartment to be with friends, or bring their friends to their apartment, violating their lease, and causing an eviction.
- We started working with the Stability Site, and are moving to work with the TRM downtown and the Adams Street shelter.
- We talked to Dawn Bohl with the Stability Site – and she let us know what they do and what their needs were. They could see folks sporadically, but not as often as folks may have needed. We made a referral request form, and if folks want connections, we’ll start making contact with folks to their new homes
- We Welcome them to their new homes by
- Helping them navigate their neighborhood
- Teaching How to balance a checkbook
- We’ll start off trying to see them weekly, and more often if they need it, and tapering it off as they have fewer needs.
- We ask some survey questions
- Family size
- What do they like to do – gardening, basket weaving, whatever. Try to connect to community resources like metro parks or the YMCAs.
- We have a large committee – Sheila Miraflor, CC Mendoza, Emily Less, Pamm Silver, Richard Berghammer, Martha Sheppard, Carrie Ching
- We have information specific to many different geographic areas – including Key Peninsula, Parkland, Lakewood, etc.
- We want to come up with a basket of lots of useful things – gift cards, dog food, a month of free utilities – we are looking for resources. Simple things like laundry detergent, toothpaste, toothbrush as well.
- We are going to have some fun – put together an ice cream social at the stability site. We want to build some trust with the folks at the stability site.
- I want to thank everyone for the work we’ve done together.
- Kelly – great work you guys.
- Theresa – the materials you gathered, can you put them on-line? Pamm – I’ll have Gerrit do it. Gerrit – I’ll figure it out (I haven’t done anything on this yet, but just sent an e-mail to Pamm so I know what I need to get working on. –ed)
- Kelly – you mentioned Metro parks activities are free. Pamm – we are talking about the parks in general, not the events you have to pay for.
- Maureen – be sure to ask the people experiencing homelessness about what they actually need. James – this project came from needs identified by our clients.
- Al – I think what you’ve done is really nice. When we moved here some 45 years ago, two organizations were helpful to us as newcomers. One was the Welcome Wagon – some outfit that came around and brought a basket of stuff (so, I thought Welcome Wagon was some sort of amazing, nonprofit community outreach effort to make folks feel welcome. Totally not the case. It was a marketing scheme that started in 1928. A nice marketing scheme, mind you – women we paid to deliver baskets of goods provided by local businesses – but still a business. It eventually became, except for a couple men in the corporate headquarters, one of the largest all-women workforces in the US. As household demographics changes, they abandoned home visits in 1998. - https://www.welcomewagon.com/ -ed.). Another was the Newcomers Club (this is more a nonprofit sort of thing, although I’m not sure if there is on active in Tacoma anymore –ed).
- Al – are you making an effort to connect people in a community with others in that community that may have come from the stability site.
- Theresa – I’m thinking of the welcome . Our National Night Out – between 14th and 15th on G Street, is a good place to form community. (Safe Streets was a big part of National Night out last year - http://safest.org/events/national-night-out-2018/ - not much posted on the website for this year – but you can see that at http://safest.org/events/nno2019/ -ed.).
- James – what can you use from us, and how do we make referrals to you? Pamm – we need anything that can go into a basket – laundry soap, toothpaste, etc. We also want localized information. We aren’t talking dishes – things to help them get started right away.
- Emily – do you want other volunteers from churches and things to help volunteer to visit? Pamm – we are just having social workers right now.
- Jeremy – awesome work – I’m thinking about toothpaste and toothbrushes and such. Are there dentists we can partner with? Pamm – it will say where they can get dental coverage in their packet.
- James – remember, this work is all happening on top of their day job, it isn’t funded. This is all good work.