- Kelly Blucher, Goodwill Industries, KellyB@goodwillwa.org
- This was a product of the Workforce Development committee
- Trying to find meaningful ways to get people into employment.
- It has been an amazing year for Hire253 (to put it mildly. –ed.)
- We need to provide employment opportunities for those currently experiencing homelessness
- We brought employers in who are able and willing to serve the most vulnerable clients – they have to be there to interview, hire, and report out their outcomes (the vetting process this group came up with has been key to making this event a success – having the employers ready to hire the population we serve is no small task –ed.)
- April event – 90 employers and community resources
- 636 attendees – 22% of people were currently homeless or had been in the prior few months.
- 30% of attendees got jobs
- Our target is to get 50% of the attendees hired.
- We are reaching out to different employees hired
- We had a lot of folks with disabilities attend the fair
- Also saw more veterans than previous fairs
- Attendees are aging – seeing an older population at the fair.
- Our planning group has dwindled on this project (we can better support this work, oh Great Coalition. –ed)
- I need help to figure out which resources we can put together prior to the event – preparation to be hirable, and supports to stay employed – transportation and childcare are major obstacles (obstacle – from the latin “ob”, meaning against, and “stare”, meaning stand. So, something that “stands against you”. –ed) Folks who get jobs need childcare right away, and need to figure out how to make that happen. (if we didn’t, we should totally see if Child Care Resources, who came to present in late April, could have a table at the event. Info on their services at http://www.pchomeless.org/MeetingMinutes/Details?id=379 –ed.).
- Next event, focusing less on livable wage jobs, defined as over $20/hour, and more on any level jobs. Once you hit this livable wage job level, you rather paradoxically lose many supports. (the benefits cliff sucks. –ed.)
- Career Readiness Class – June 10th – just show on up. Info at https://www.goodwillwa.org/cred-career-readiness-program/ - no cost, will help with lots of basic living skills.
- Center for Strong Families (https://www.goodwillwa.org/goodwill-building-stronger-families%E2%80%95and-communities/ ) – trying to integrate into all workforce development. Integrating financial literacy into all employment programs has value.
- Financial Literacy Program – partnered with Tacoma Public Utilities – M-F from 10am-12:30am or 5pm-7:30pm. it is free, as is everything Goodwill does. Attendees get $80 off their utility bill, and if they do a one-on-one planning session, they get another $80 off their bill.
- Al – I know Goodwill has a connection with the Chamber of commerce – do they sponsor or help promote Hire253? Kelly – good question, no, not on the workforce development level. Goodwill has a position on the Board. Goodwill also have a position on the Workforce Development Board, but they aren’t involved with the Hire253 project.
- Sheila – can non-English speakers get an interpreter? Kelly – if they have their own interpreter, that is fine. Often folks with disabilities come with interpreters. Theresa – Tacoma Community house does a lot of similar programming in Spanish, so that is a resource that can work well for Spanish speakers.
- Maureen – the TPU $80 has an income restriction. Kelly – yes it does.
- Al – Since you’re champion of the children, I nominate you to be champion of the adults, too.
- Next event is scheduled in September.
- June 19th – from 10am-1pm – having a hospitality job fair – the reason why we didn’t call it Hire253, we didn’t have funding for lunch. Hospitality typically does not do background checks, so that is a good option for many of our clients.
- Samie Iverson, Tacoma Public Schools, siverso@Tacoma.K12.Wa.US
- We had an idea around racial equity.
- I know there is energy in this room around this topic.
- I took on leadership of the committee, however, I’m limited in my time with the school district, and we’ve had some reductions in staff in my office. So I’m not going to be able to coordinate this group.
- This is important work, and it sucks that when money gets tights, this sort of work falls to the wayside.
- An ask for someone to take on leadership.
- Tacoma Public Schools is hosting an equity summit. June 24th and June 25th – there will be a session focused on homelessness. CCS, AM, Reach and building changes will be there. We will discuss homelessness and housing stability. We often focus on academic, and not on basic needs. It would be great if community members attended.
- It is difficult to find someone to drive this work around equity. We are trying to find an anchor for this work. If the Coalition doesn’t take this on, we’ve not sure who will – many other groups have bumped it. (I’m planning to meet with Tiegan Bradbury, with the City of Tacoma, who is the point person for the next round of SPARC work in the community, to see if their work can integrate in with the interest our Coalition has on building a more equitable system. If you’re not familiar with the last round of SPARC work, the report is available at http://co.pierce.wa.us/DocumentCenter/View/67289 . Leading this committee is a great opportunity for one of the budding leaders on you staff… -ed.)
- 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.
Continuum of Care
- James Pogue – I co-chair the Continuum (whenever you see the double letter “u”, the word is probably from Latin. Such is the case with Continuum – from the latin “continuus”, meaning “a continuous thing”. Gotta love those wacky Romans. Ed.)
- We work on the County’s 5 year plan to end homelessness (the last plan is available at https://www.co.pierce.wa.us/DocumentCenter/View/5583 -ed.)
- The last plan was all about how we spend HUD’s money – which is limited in scope.
- The new plan is working on addressing some of the drivers of homelessness (as well as how to spend HUD money, I’m imagining. –ed)
- Looking for opportunities for input (oh, I have plenty of input to give…-ed)
- Anchor Communities initiative is funneling its work into the Continuum of Care.
- Veteran committee funnels into the Continuum of care as well (we’ve always been a subcommittee – perhaps the only active subcommittee for quite some time – of the continuum of Care – ‘cuase we’re awesome. –ed) – we collaborate with these large efforts.
- We want to get everyone to fund things together – have the state and county and philanthropic groups all bring funding together (‘Fairy tales can come true, it can happen to you, if you’re young at heart…’ –ed.)
Tacoma Pierce County Affordable Housing Consortium
- Amanda DeShazo, Executive Director, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Membership-based – members are nonprofit housing providers and other agencies that have a stake in affordable housing in pierce county, including construction firms, builders, banks, architects and more.
- Group does advocacy for affordable housing.
- Do lunch and learn – find coming events at https://www.facebook.com/TPCAHC/
- Foundations center – about grant writing
- Advocacy is our most important work. I sit on the Continuum of Care, work with the Pierce County Council, City of Tacoma Council - all city councils in the community really. Try to change policy to get more affordable housing build.
- Was on the technical advisory team for the City of Tacoma affordable Housing Action Strategy ( https://www.cityoftacoma.org/government/city_departments/community_and_economic_development/housing_division/affordable_housing_action_strategy ) – that group is reconvening to start working on implementation. Need a local source of funding for local housing (have you all thought about taxing rich people? Or rich companies? How about an alternative minimum tax for corporations? Just a thought. –ed).
- The consortium is working to pass a levy for affordable housing – in 2020 perhaps. It is very grass roots, and we would like help pushing that initiative (you can count on the Coalition. –ed).
- Theresa – Given that you work with the City – have you looked at the stuff Councilmember Chris Beale put out about equity? Amanda – yes, we are very supportive of that. Theresa - I understand it was pulled at the last minute. There was concerns that some of the language in it was duplicative of the affordable housing action strategy. We would like some of the equity language put back in – councilmember Beale is pushing the equity elements.
- Nathan – do you folks do anything around eviction prevention? Amanda – many of my members are landlords – The Tacoma Housing Authority is one of our members. Our consortium took a position – it was a difficult conversation because of the role landlords play in the consortium. We worked on the language for the Tacoma Landlord tenant act – with a lot of support from the membership. Nonprofit affordable housing providers have a lot to learn still. I worked with Michael Mirra and other stakeholders on the laws that passed. We walk a tough line with so many landlords and the mission of serving people in poverty. In connection with Center for Community Change – looking to get them working with the Tacoma Tenants Group.
- Maureen – given the disparate points of view with organizational members in the consortium, how do you come to an advocacy agenda or principle? Amanda – thanks for that question. We formed 3 active committees – public education, membership, and advocacy. It is tough to get our outward facing communication out. Have an admin assistant working on the website. We set our agenda at our advocacy committee meetings. We take our lead from the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance. With session over, will do some candidate forms – working on the affordable housing action strategy plan.
- Carlos – does the consortium support just cause eviction? Amanda – we support “good cause” – but have lots of education to do.
- Al – What do you do outside the City of Tacoma? Amanda – when I came on board, that was an interest of the board. I’m working with Puyallup. We’ll do a Puyallup candidate forum. It is always a challenge to have capacity, as a one person shop. The members of the consortium have concerns outside of the Tacoma – and I’m trying to go countywide.
- Theresa – you attend a lot of meetings. What is the difference between “just cause” and “good cause”? Amanda – “Just Cause” and “good cause” are the same – we were supportive of the 4 month time limit and implementing “just cause”. Theresa - Everyone understands just cause, and introducing good cause is very confusing. Amanda – that was the decision of the advocacy committee.
- Part of the Pierce County agenda – you probably followed the legislative session – House Bill 1406 for State taxes for affordable housing (https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=1406&Initiative=false&Year=2019 )- Derek Young is working on it for the County. That bill was one of the bills he was adamant to get passed. I’ll try to send more information out – the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance has a webinar about implementing it (find the recording at https://www.wliha.org/resources/webinars-and-tools ). I’ll follow up after the 10th of June.
- Maureen – individuals can also be members of the Consortium. Amanda - $25 for low income, $80 for other individuals. The Consortium has some 50 member organizations. We have member networking events. We are building up more of the member benefits, building up the website. If you want to join, the information is on the webpage – the money goes to support our advocacy work.
- Maureen – the City and the County are reviewing the rental housing code. We don’t need the State to implement rules. We advocated for just cause with the 4 month window. The City of Tacoma Council is looking at doing a study. Tacoma Housing Authority has done a review, as well. That is a good question for a candidate forum, if you do them.
- Maureen – rent control – should we do a conversation on that? Amanda – we are looking at that conversation. (this would be a fun discussion, and something that I suspect is going to be frequently discussed over the next year. This recent article is a good primer around rent control efforts in Washington state - https://www.seattleweekly.com/news/would-rent-control-work-in-washington/ –ed.)
- Nathan – appreciate the landlords giving ground. Molly Nichols – big shoes to fill – she did so much of that work. Tenant organization is really important – I’d sign up for the Tacoma tenant org june 10th 5pm some church – need an active tenant organization – which depends on the committee members.
- Maureen – who did you hire as an executive assistant? Amanda - Britany Clark – who has a Masters in Public Administration.
- James – what can we help you with? Amanda – advocate for more funding – especially related to the 1406 work with Derek Young. Also the countywide Mental health tax – we need to support that work.
- Sign up for the Affordable Housing Consortium Newsletter (there is a link at the bottom of https://www.affordablehousingconsortium.org/ ) If you have ideas on Lunch and Learn topics, let me know.
Commitments for helping our work – James – what can each of us commit to do to advance the work of the Coalition?
- James – workforce development committee – we are going to be involved in Hire253 – ensure someone on our workforce development committee can work on that
- Dawna – Hire253 – I have a friend that works for Boeing doing recruiting – I’ll get them involved.
- Emily – Kelly said you want to get in the East Side, so I can connect with you about that
- Between Emily and Pamm – work on equity
- Pamm – thanks to the Community Connections Committee – I will work to keep our people housed
- Sheila – my loyalty is to my job –helping Pamm, and to Kelly, so I’ll be helping with hire253
- Al – I have been trying to figure out better ways to get the business community involved in our work. I’m auditing a class at the University right now about economic and equity work around the county – the lead organization working on economic development and equity was the chamber of commerce. Want some good ideas on involving the chamber in this work
- Bryan- I’m interested in equity
- Charleen – I’ll connect with Kelly on how to support Hire253
- Theresa – I’m hoping the whole group will be able to build equity work in what they do. For the Community Connections work – New Connections sells stuff at the fair trade market – we sell stuff, they allow us to create ornaments and things – that is something we could do for the community, we could do it as a bigger event to include people newly housed – they can make something at take it home or sell it.
- Jeremy – will attend equity committee. Will also meet with Derek Young. Will also work with my personal network.
- Maureen – it is just over a year since Theresa dragged me to a meeting – to see if you all could be a fiscal agent for the tenant rights group. In the year that happened, I opened my box of talks I’ve given over the years – I’m working personally on the stories out of season. I’m trying to figure out how I can be more useful to the group. I want to step back so others can step forward.
- Rosemary – I’m of two minds – and everything takes more energy than I have – and I want a strong equity focus – but the other piece is around 1406 – find some new ways to be affordable housing advocates.
- Carolyn – my heart is with the equity work – it always falls by the wayside. I leave message with the SPARC group. I want to support the equity group. If people have short term projects with data analysis that they need around equity, I can help. If you have data, I can do that work.
- Samie – Thanks to everyone for the interest, and Emily LGBTQ does need to be in the equity movement. You all have the energy, and I’ll show up as I can. I want to keep things positive. Governor Inslee signed the homeless student stability bill that builds senate 5324 – proof that even though we have some local changes, there is momentum statewide to do it with an equity lens. I promise to keep active.
- Kelly – I’m going to stick with workforce development. I’m glad so many of you want to be a part of that.
- Larry – I too am committed to equity. We didn’t talk about the advocacy group – it had been busy, and will be again in summer and fall.
- TRM – I want to look at equity. Want to also to do support for the community connections work.
- TRM – I’m on the racial equity committee. I lack many of the organizational skills needed to lead it – and I also would like to focus on a more sustainable permanent housing options for when folks leave the mission and the stability site – so they don’t reenter – which is tough because folks have so much trauma.
- Carlos – I’ve made it my life’s mission to end racism. Would love to work on equity
- Nathan – Maureen has been a great support – thank you. My commitment is to get in touch with Amanda.
- Gail – work with Pamm and Sheila –will help the Community Connections Committee
Good of the Order
- Al - Project Child Success named Kelly Blucher their first Child Champion - congratulations
- Someone - Pam Roach solved the homeless problem by deciding to put them all in jail.
- Management analyst 2 position open at City of Tacoma (search City jobs at https://www.governmentjobs.com/careers/tacoma -ed.)
- 80+ people met on the Key for a community forum on homelessness Youth – with over 20 organizations presenting what they are doing
- Al – the stability site was mentioned. Over the last few months, could we get an update on the stability site? The City has some question if they would like to sustain the stability site. (scheduled and done on 6/14/2019 – you’re welcome. Ed.)
- June 21st, Youth focused presentations, including an update on the ACT youth initiatives, and an update from The Coffee Oasis on progress on their new Pierce County youth shelter
- June 28th, Wellfound Behavioral Health Hospital - program offerings and how to connect clients to services. The State Trueblood office will also present information about their programs for individuals exiting incarceration.
- July 5th, No meeting
- July 12th, Is an electric toothbrush with a dead battery simply a regular toothbrush, or something sadder. Join our panel of experts as they delve into the emotional impacts of toothbrush charging catastrophes, how dental tool anthropomorphism can enhance your life, and the dark side of failed charging routines.
- July 19th, Youth focused presentations
- July 26th, is American cheese a national embarrassment and not worthy of the name cheese, or is this frugal, Swiss-developed cheese processing breakthrough both vital in a world with scarce food resources and a truly satisfying texture addition to the hamburger. Join our panel of cheesemakers, burgermasters, and discerning epicures as we delve into history, science, and divisive rhetoric surrounding America’s namesake “cheese”. Or is it just cheese with no quotation marks. Show up to find out.
Back in my stay-at-home dad days, I had a couple annual museum passes, a couple toddlers, and a bus pass, and I often found myself wandering downtown Tacoma, taking in all that the City of Destiny has to offer. We often ended up on the Thea Foss waterway, walking along the esplanade. We usually had a sack lunch, but occasionally we splurged for a meal at the Blue Olive bistro. And then it closed. Then Woody’s on the water opened up in the same spot, and we sampled their fare as well. And then it closed. Then, in 2011, The Social Bar and Grill made its debut, and it looks like third time is the charm, ‘cause it is still going strong. Located at 1715 dock street (a stone’s throw to the glass museum, except you really shouldn’t throw stones at museums, especially glass ones), the Social (https://www.thesocialbarandgrill.com/) has a fun menu of Northwest standards with a bit of flair. The restaurant faces the waterway, with lots of patio seating along the esplanade. Ever the fan of sharable appetizers, I rather enjoy the options they lay out – fried calamari, steamed clams, oysters (fresh or fried), chicken wings, 4 or 5 kinds of tacos and more. The food is a bit trendy (poki this, wasabi that, ginger-soy steak bite that – if you get my drift), but typically very well executed. The ingredients are fresh, the flavors are bold but well planned, and I’m generally quite pleased. They have a pretty solid, although limited, set of vegetarians options, including butternut tacos and sautéed mushrooms. I tend to avoid entrees in general, but I do like their rockfish tempura. Service wise, the table staff are always attentive, but the kitchen often takes its time. If I’m in a rush, I mention it to them, and they are prompt. Otherwise, I appreciate the pace. It isn’t slow, it is what it is supposed to be. You have time to enjoy your drink before the appetizers, and time to finish your appetizers well before the entrees come. But really, I just like to hang out there with friends and family – maybe order the white sangria pitcher ($12), play some cards, watch the boats, and enjoy some serious flavor from the appetizer menu. They have a group space you can reserve, and they do make it easy to have an event with 20 or 30 folks there. Anyway, grab your kids (or not), hit the glass museum, walk (or run) the esplanade when everyone is too squirmy for culture, and wrap it all up with a cocktail and some victuals worth gormandizing on.
- James Pogue, Comprehensive Life Resources
- Larry Seaquist, League of Women Voters
- Kelly Blucher, Goodwill Industries
- Samie Iverson, Tacoma Public Schools
- Carolyn Weisz, University of Puget Sound
- Rosemary Powers, New Connections
- Matthew Jorgensen, City of Tacoma
- Maureen Howard, Housing Advocate
- Jeremy Walker, Housing Advocate
- Theresa Power-Drutis, New Connections
- Valentinya Germer, Comprehensive Life Resource
- CC Mendoza, Metropolitan Development Council
- Charleen Fitzgerald, Coordinated Care
- Bryan Green, Safe Families for Children
- Al Ratcliffe, me
- Pamm Silver, Molina Healthcare
- Sid Sandstrom, The Coffee Oasis
- Gail Misner, Molina Healthcare
- Emily Less, Tacoma Pierce County Health Department
- Robert McDonough, Catholic Community Services
- Brandon Ault, Catholic Community Services
- Dawna Bryant, Comprehensive Life Resources
- Carlos Castanon, Comprehensive Life Resources
- Nathan Blackmer, Comprehensive Life Resources
- Jurea Rubit, ANLLC/KDCC (I’m not sure what either of those acronyms mean. –ed)
- Haili Crow-Cyr, Tacoma Rescue Mission
- Andrea Sanz, Tacoma Rescue Mission
- Gerrit Nyland, Catholic Community Services
- Coordinated Care
- Judy Flannigan, The Salvation Army
- Taniesha Lyons, Evergreen Tacoma Student