What kind of shelter would we advise the City of Tacoma to locate on the 34th and Pacific property?
This site will eventually be permanent housing but is temporarily available for placement of temporary shelter prior to construction. It’s 2.9 Acres (126,324 sq. ft.). General thoughts.
- First determine who is the priority to serve. Then plan design.
- Several advocated against use of site for congregate shelter.
- There should definitely be supportive services onsite, eg Substance Use Disorder and Mental Health.
- Timelines are too long for permitting, building, getting shelter and permanent housing built.
- “When we deal with the crisis from above, we don’t incorporate learning from lived experience.” Limitations of city and county data collection regarding outreach and sweeps misses the real story. “Numbers don’t tell the story. People’s experience doesn’t get into the database.”
Serve RVs or do Safe Parking.
- Discussed creating a KOA-like campground site.
- Consider focus on RV’s. Personal RV’s while perhaps run down, could be helped with volunteer efforts to paint or spruce up. Could also include RVs owned by non-profit or city for others to use.
- Could include small night/month fee (as a regular campground ) Could also have vouchers for those without regular income. Could have a camp host who would have free site access like some public campgrounds. Could be rotated.
- Could include common cooking area, internet access, hygiene.
- Work with RV vendors to swap out RV's at low cost. Move to camp with old RV; program helps swap out for new RV. Resources on site with case management.
Do a sanctioned encampment.
- The biggest bang for the buck/immediate need was for a sanctioned camp site. Getting people stable and in a place where services can find them.
- The biggest need right now is for sanctioned camping with managed waste disposal, hygiene, and ways to cook that don’t involve open fires.
- No real answer to “where can we go” for people that are being swept. “We need to have the ability to help people and to not just yell at them.”
- Shelters for couples -- there are male, female, and family versions of shelters; but no real places for couples that don't want to be split up to come indoors.
- The importance of the stability site was noted, but understand that the expense is likely too high to replicate that kind of site.
- Safe Camping, Subsidized Housing for Individuals with SSI. Serve whoever is in need. Shelter for youth under 17. Clean and Classy Environment. A shelter that people want to come to.
Do some version of a tiny house village.
- Apodments/VetPods. Pallet homes. Four wall tiny homes. Ice fishing shelter.
- Should assist families: folks with pets; individual units (not congregate), and case management.
- Tiny home villages can be set up in a couple of months
- Could also make the site look like a real village with outside landscaping and other structures that could reduce pushback from nearby residents/businesses.
Temporary congregate shelter
- Some schools are disposing of portable school rooms, which are amendable to being used as housing.
- Fastest most affordable way to get a site up is seeking modular classrooms. They are coded properly to offer housing in and most schools offer these for free. I have a guy who can break down deliver and rebuild. Does the parcel have water and sewer available already? With shared bathroom these could host about 15 bodies comfortably with a shared hub, shared kitchen and shower room business development for on-site resources.
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