- James Pogue, Comprehensive Life Resources
- Final push on our subcommittee projects
- We are the Tacoma Pierce County Coalition to End Homelessness. We have a simple goal – end homelessness
- We focus on solutions
- We have presentation for all sorts of folks who
(apparently, no one talks faster than someone running for office – wow. Keep in mind that I mostly recorded what folks said – for clarification or things that just sound off, contact the candidate for clarification. It’s not them, it’s me… -ed.)
Candidate Opening Statements
- Emily Randal – State District 26 – I grew up in the district, with folks who care about the community, like you folks working hard to take care of each other. I had earlier experience with healthcare costs and started down a path to make changes. my sister was born with encephalitis. My dad, who worked at the naval shipyard, didn’t have the ability to cover all her costs – it wasn’t until Medicaid expansion that we were able to take a breath and focus on our family, not spending all our time fighting to stay housed. Many folks are on the edge – as a renter all my adult life, I know how much work we need to do to stay housed and how fragile housing can be. Families in our community – where the average rental prices requires a $20 per hour wage – need support. That is why I’m inspired to be here and to work on all these issues - housing, health care, employment, and more - to build a better future for all of us.
- Connie Fitzpatrick – an honor to be here. I’m running for the house in the26th district – that district is across the bridge, including Bremerton, Port Orchard, Gig Harbor and more. I followed my family in serving in the naval service. After service, I went to cosmetology school – been running my own business for 10 years. Raised money for PTA, volunteered, advocated for son with ADHD – saw education with a different lens, saw need to be an advocate for him. This is where I saw a disconnect - where we are not fully supporting education. We need to support our schools – strong schools and housing builds strong communities. Thanks.
- Joy Stanford – many of you know me – I’m running in position 2 in the 26th District – I’m a mom, health care advocate, educator, and 20 year resident of my district. I’m learning a whole lot. I was at the MDC breakfast where the speaker said “housing is mental health care” and that resonated with me. I’ve learned that shared housing is a great solution. Every week I learn something new. I’m sad Patricia is not here – I’m glad to see Maureen here. I learned a lot from a NAMI presentation this week. I’m glad to be here to see and hear and understand you so we can champion your issues.
- Mari Leavitt – in the 28th leg district – Fircrest, Steilacoom, Anderson Island, Tacoma, Lakewood, JBML and Western State. Came here as a military family child. I knew it would be my home when I first came here. I’ve raised my family here. I’ve been a college administrator, a deputy director of human services, have ran my own business, have 7 kids including 2 foster kids, on the YMCA Board, a school board committee volunteer, PTA mom and leader. There are many things I want to work on – education, - early learning through expanding career training opportunities. 2nd thing – end political partisanship - and increase access to medical care and housing. I’m a small business owner – I know we need more incentives for starting and growing small business . have endorsements by the Washington housing alliance action fund and others.
- Kateri Mosely (sp), speaking for Christine Kilduff – she was unable to attend. I’m a 20 year veteran of her legislative district. Kristine has a statement for me to read: I’m so sorry I can’t be with you today – my priority today is to be a voice for families and to opportunities. I’ve fought to keep communities safe and affordable, also prioritizing education,. The deck is stacked against low and middle income families – I will fight for better tax policies – oppose property tax increases that strain low income families. Need to meet everyone’s needs – need to provide housing and other needs. Made some progress with the Housing and Essential Needs (HEN) program – still have more work to do. I fought for increased Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funding – with the great recession, TANF funding was reduced. For the first time this session, we had more funding. Thanks for letting me represent you.
Small Group Breakouts
Full Coalition Report Out
- Please try to answer these questions:
- What did you hear today
- What can government do to help
- What would you do personally if elected
- Emily Randal – thanks so much for the opportunity to listen to your stories and talk about what we can do to make change. We heard about a lot of different barrier to resources folks need to lift themselves out of homelessness – food, clothing, and transportation. This is an issue in our district and districts across Washington. There is no bus service in Key Peninsula – we must rely on neighbors. In Kitsap County – no service on Sunday – folks with shift jobs can’t get there on Sunday – have to say no to jobs that could break their homeless. Heard about racism as a barrier – inequality in access for black women in transportation and contracting jobs – unequal pay – barriers they face – higher levels of homelessness – long term problems we are not fighting hard enough. Talked about eviction for folks on fixed incomes – how hard it is for elders and folks who have lived long lives in their homes and are again hit with the eviction and a return to homelessness. Government has a huge responsibility – to make sure government works for all of us, with black or brown skin, parents, folks aging. This is the year we can work together to make changes in the legislature – to make sure folks can survive and thrive. I commit to 1631 – climate action that may seem left field – but if the initiative passes, we’ll put fees on the biggest polluters, like oil companies, which will create a pool of funds to support transit program – Sunday service, larger ranges, subsidized orca cards. This will flip the system – so the wealthy are paying their fair share.
- Connie FitzPatrick – Thank you. I was in the same group as Ms. Randal. We heard a lot of things at the table that I hear when visiting residents. These impact us and folks across the bridge. Transportation is a barrier. Accessing clothing, which may not seem like a big deal, but a lack of work boots can be a barrier to a great job. Clothing for business women is often available, but mens clothing is needed. We can breaking the cycle of homelessness by supporting programs. The goal is programs like temporary housing support, day care so you can go to work while you child is being well cared for. What I would do is partner with groups like the black collective to ensure folks are getting access to contracts. Partner with the Pierce County Council - that provides transportation in rural communities. I’m so glad to be here today – thanks so much for talking to me.
- Joy Stanford – We heard a lot – this is just the most fabulous group. I get the e-mail – I love all the e-mails. One e-mail will be sent, and in 30 minutes, the problem is solved. The fact that you are solving problems locally reflects our collective responsibility to these issues. What I heard is that everything intersects – food, home, clothing. The mass evictions are a substantial issue. As an elected official, we must take the resource we can find – fees we charge or new taxes – make sure the use is transparent and goes to these specific issues. How do we know that education money gets to the classroom level. It often does not seem like it is. It is our responsibility to make sure that money gets down to that level. Ms. Maureen – at the NAMI night – we could require everyone released from a mental health facility to have a viable housing plan. Just cause eviction reform – all of us will be fighting for this. Rent control – we need these things. I can’t believe that we don’t have funding to take these folks living in rundown apartment buildings and work to ensure buildings are acceptable – not fancy, but livable. We don’t have a whole lot of options in Kitsap County – in Gig Harbor on the key Peninsula – there is no bus service. Folks need to get from Key Peninsula to Bremerton or Tacoma – folks need to be able to get around. I’ll champion those efforts once elected.
- Mari Leavitt – thank you again for participating in this forum – I appreciate opportunity to listen to you. A few things I’ve heard – public health is paramount – looking at the impact of public health in encampments – community health - talking about food networks - talking about how to transform vacant building into a place for folks temporarily before a more permanent housing option. We often talk about homelessness and we think of folks who are chronic – but homelessness is across the spectrum . What can government do? We need to increase HEN funding – as deputy director – I saw HEN decrease. We need to fund the housing trust fund. Need to ensure local communities can make local decision – each locality is different . need to talk about eviction reform. We also need to increase Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) vouchers – 40% of VASH vouchers were returned because they couldn’t find housing. We need to look at seniors – need a plan for Western state and wrap around services.. Finally, government has a responsibility to pay for prevention. Want to work with state agencies to work on prevention. I’ll advocate and champion affordable housing and education –work on legislation that will have an impact. Permanent housing and diversion are the best options so people have a single homeless episode. I’m committed to this work – I know that there are communities and networks with expertise and we do have to make hard choices. Thanks for your time and appreciate listening to you.
- Maia Espinoza – Thanks for the opportunity to listen today – I learned 4 pages worth. A few other things I didn’t know before. I didn’t know about the severity of our aging homeless population. I’ve worked with homeless youth, but was blind to the aging homeless population. I found out about the lack of transitional housing – how they complete a program and treatment and then there is nothing afterwards – they go back on the street – that is not a permanent solution. I learned about generation al homelessness – I didn’t realize that existed and it struck a chord with me. My family is long time renter and my family struggled with money – but many folks are one unfortunate event from homelessness. I also learned that half of the program funds can go unused – where the free market isn’t incentivized to use these resources. People who are homeless or have a criminal record won’t get access to housing. We can add back to the housing trust fund – it was diminished by more than ½ in the past decade. I think, at a minimum, the State should ramp those funds back up. I like the idea that we require anyone receiving state funded programs have as a requirement of housing when they exit their program. Not only a viable housing plan but also a case manager to ensure the plan is successful. Last, what will I do? I’m also a business owner – I’ll advocate from a business perspective. I think it is important to meet people exactly where they are. We need to start from where people are. I passed a bilingual education bill. I met our members where they are, and pushed what the bill meant for each senator and their constituency. I’ll bring my business perspective to the position. There is a housing shortage across many income levels – not just folks in the immediate crisis stage. I was on KIRO and was criticized for saying our programs keep folks where they are. I promise I will listen to you as experts so we can forge paths forward. Thanks again for the opportunity today.
Good of the Order
- Hire253 – this Wednesday – hopefully you all have a table – send your people – 10am-2pm – lunch for 700 people at Goodwill - 27th and Yakima
- Wednesday 1-3 need folks to come to Valeo – 1124 Tacoma Ave S. Valeo is a nonprofit staffing agency for folks with low income, facing homelessness, on SNAP, or homeless. Valeo has contracts for general labor and construction and needs some workers.
- Housing Alliance – got input on policy agenda from you all. 4 priorities were set:
- Increase in funding for affordable housing
- Just cause eviction – landlords should need a reason to evict
- More funding for HEN and ADB – closed the donut hole, but need more funding
- Portion of the sales tax for local communities to do something to fix homelessness
- Flu clinics coming.
- City of Tacoma rental housing code did pass out of the committee and is coming to session noon on Tuesday with 1st reading at Council meeting Tuesday night
- Multicare and Franciscan assistance, - ask me if you are interested in talking about this assistance – can help with hospital bills up to 500% of poverty level
- Thanks advocacy group
- In the next week or so, I’ll be rolling out a website for the coaltion and an upgrade to our listserv. I’ll keep you posted of the changes, but wanted to give you a heads up.
- October 5th – Short Presentation and Committee Work groups – subcommittee work
- October 12th – State Legislative Districts 25 & 31 candidate forum
- October 19th – State Legislative Districts 27 & 29 candidate forum
- October 26th – Youth Panel – want to get them more involved and let us know what they are
- November 2nd – State of Washington Employment Services Division
- November 9th – Do avocados really fight cancer and heart disease, or are we just deluding ourselves to justify overconsumption of the “butter fruit”? Our panel of experts helps us sort through the evidence and takes your questions. Companion discussion - are you trendy enough for avocado toast? Find out at the avocado buffet.
I love Vietnamese fresh spring rolls. I can’t get enough of them. You can get them at pretty much any Vietnamese restaurant in town, but they aren’t all created equal. If you’re not familiar with the fresh spring roll (or G?i cu?n if you’re all fancy with foreign words), you’re missing out. They are made up of pork, prawn, rice noodles, wrapped in Vietnamese rice paper (a strangely stretchy substance). They are usually served with a peanut sauce, and they are good. My favorites are made at Vien Dong – they have the right combination of noodles and bean sprouts. The bean sprouts offer some crunch and lightness that is often overlooked by lesser spring roll makers. And I like their dipping sauce. Vien Dong (3801 S Yakima) is my favorite Vietnamese restaurant – I’ve been going there for nearly 20 years. The first meal I brought to my wife at the hospital after she cranked out our firstborn was spring rolls from Vien Dong. Kevin and Lynn, who serve the tables, are lovely folks – it has been fun to watch their kids grow from toddlers to adults over the years. Mom and Dad are typically running the kitchen, and when the kids aren’t off at orchestra camp and what not, they help with table service too. And Vien Dong does something with pork chops that is heavenly. I like their Pho too, but the ranking of Tacoma pho restaurants is the work of another review (I am mocked by my Vietnamese friends for my unsophisticated pho palate). And, while I do like Vien Dong, the Lincoln district isn’t the only spot in town with good spring rolls. My backup location is Fresh Rolls in Downtown Tacoma (823 Pacific Ave). They are a chain, and have quite a few menu items, but I’ve only tried their take out spring rolls. They have a refrigerator case and I can be in and out in a jiffy. They have a nice vegetable to rice noodle ratio (good crunch), and it makes a quick and relatively healthy meal. I’ve made my own over the years – they always seem like they should just take a minute to put together, but that is never the case. It is fun work though – a good activity to do together when friends come over for dinner. You can substitute tofu for the meats, which I appreciated in my vegetarian years. I still order them that way now – I do like tofu. And, like pizza and Mexican food, even mediocre fresh spring rolls are still totally worth eating – so I order them any time I’m trying a new Vietnamese restaurant – you can’t go wrong. But the good ones are worth the effort of tracking down.
- James Pogue, Comprehensive Life Resources
- Larry Seaquist, League of Women Voters
- Bruce Morris, Community Member
- Amanda Reeves, Food Lifeline
- Emily Less, Tacoma Pierce County Health Department
- Brandon Ault, Catholic Community Services
- Sherri Jensen, Valeo Vocation
- Glen Kelley, Multicare
- Kalena Towle, Multicare
- Kelly Blucher, Goodwill
- Nathan Blackmer, Comprehensive Life Resources
- Nick Wood, Washington Low Income Housing Alliance
- Dawna Bryant, Comprehensive Life Resources
- Charleen Fitzgerald, Coordinated Care
- Melissa Frink, Catholic Community Services
- Faatima Lawrence, Catholic Community Services
- William Stinson, Catholic Community Services
- Elaine Tuisila, Metropolitan Development Council
- Alexis Eykel, Associated Ministries
- Dana Peterson, Catholic Community Services
- Valentinya Germer, Comprehensive Life Resources
- Major Don Sheppard, Tacoma Salvation Army
- Jessica Hall, Greater Lakes Mental Health
- Richard Berghammer, Fellowship Bible Church
- Daniel George, Randall for state campaign
- Lavada Napier, zydeco queen Cajun food, housing group
- Sandy Nguyen, Catholic Community Services
- Maureen Howard, Housing Advocate
- Karleen Essary, Department of Social and Human Services
- Bobby Ocasio, City of Tacoma
- Sheila Miraflor, Hire253
- Barbara Kaelberer, Accountable Communities of Health
- Meri Sinnitt, Community Member
- Carly, Connie FitzPatrick Campaign Manager
- Chealsea?, Community Organizer and Campaign Manager
- Joy Stanford’s campaign manager
- Joseph Denton, Sound Outreach
- Gerrit Nyland, Catholic Community Services
- Emily Randall, Candidate
- Mari Leavitt, Candidate
- Maia Espinoza, Candidate
- Connie Fitzpatrick, Candidate
- Joy Stanford, Candidate