- James Pogue, Comprehensive Life Resources
- Excited about the forum today
- Welcome if this is your first new meeting
- Today are the Legislative Districts 25 and 31 candidate forums
- I love this time of year, but it is hard on our folks
- Al Ratcliffe - We are asking candidates to listen to stories of homelessness and how folks ended up that way.
- Thank you so much for coming
- We’ll break into two groups – and talk about homelessness – and ask you to maybe take notes and listen
- We’ll then ask you what you heard and what you think you can do as an elected official
- We’ve also provided some statistics – because so often we only see 15% of folks experiencing homelessness, not the other 85%.
- Chris Gildon - This is my second time coming to the forum, I am looking forward to it. I am running for legislature in the 25th
- I’m a veteran of 25 years of military service, including overseas. I’ve led thousands of soldiers and multi-million dollar budgets. In my last deployment into Afghanistan I ran a community peace program, where I liaised with Afghan civilian officers to negotiate peace with insurgents. I was then put me in charge of the program for the entire nation – no US dollars were used, and it was and very successful. Every month, 200 insurgents publicly gave up their weapon and pledged allegiance to Afghanistan. Returning home, I took over the Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) program – which is very challenging work. I provided advocacy and service to survivors. I use my skills negotiating with insurgents to advocate for assault victims and to work for you.
- Victoria Mena first time candidate 31st district position 1
- I’m a single mom – grew up with grandmother who was a documented immigrant. It was a single parent home, watched my parents struggle, remember being in survival mode. Remember when I was homeless and had to give up my kids when I lived in a car. I’m a lifetime advocate and community organizer – worked on different social issue. Worked to end meal requirements in Florida with my daughters. Currently policy director for Domestic Violence survivors. Cofounder of HV22 – allow victims to have the police look at their cases to adjust their status. Have endorsement of Washington housing alliance, labor partners, social justice organization like Equal Rights Washington. I bring a new voice to Olympia and a different set of experiences. Want to take everyone’s voices to Olympia.
- Al – we’ll ask candidates to spend some time talking about what they heard and what they might be able to do as an elected official
- Victoria Mena – thanks for talking, I’ve door knocked on 4,000 doors, and I’ve heard similar things to what I’ve heard today. I’ve heard issues with transportation and jobs, I’ve heard that there are no or few mental health services. Affordable housing is a challenge, looking at a comprehensive way to increase housing. Hearing shelters are maxed out every night. We need to look at and see how we can help with that. Hear about teens that can’t get into shelters and issues with family separation. Hear about folks exiting incarceration have trouble getting medicine. Really need to get transportation solutions. Want to work with unions and small business to train folks and get them housing. I believe that the people who have experience these issues need to be a the table. Health care for everyone is crucial, and that needs to include mental health – I personally don’t’ have health care because of rising premiums. Housing trust fund is important. Just cause eviction – help to makes sure folks can stay where they are – support them. Expand services in our shelters – folks need access to resources – need to look at this holistically. There is an homeless or youth bill we can work on. Whether I’m elected or not, I want to partner and work you all on these issues.
- Chris Gildon – we covered a lot – dug in deeper from last time. I really appreciate everyone’s efforts. I believe that homelessness isn’t just financial poverty – it is a poverty of education, of a support network, and a poverty of hope. All your organizations are working to alleviate that. The last time I as here we talked about tent cities – how to get out of encampments to somewhere safe, how so much of homelessness is due to the cost of living – and how vouchers sometimes punish people. We talked about the gap between the cost of living and the cost of housing. We just need to get folks into some type of shelter. Transportation was our overriding theme – folks need to get to their jobs and to the grocery store. We spoke about tent cities – and how to clean up Puyallup, and options with hotel vouchers. This organization is a great start – but the majority of your work is ahead of you. As you come up with a coordinated plan of how each organization will assist each other, look at what resources you want to ask for. Someone said this is a band-aid – we need a comprehensive plan to alleviate this issue. Home prices have risen 10% per year, and wages have only risen 2% or 3%. We don’t have enough housing, we need more. Legislature can open up land use codes to make it less expensive to build. I had a recent interaction with a lady name Yvonne – I asked what she cared about – she said that they paid off their house, but they are on a fixed income, and she has $50 at the end of each month because of her fixed income, - she said if her property tax goes up she’ll be out. Permitting fees – traffic mitigation fees, sewer hookup fees – they all add to the cost of housing. We talked about barracks type housing. Low income housing are condominiums. Let’s look at ways the legislature can reduce the cost of housing.. come to us as a Legislature so we can reduce the cost of housing effectively.
- Al – Thank you both – we’ll have closing statement at the end.
- Chris Gildon – thank you so much for all that you do – this has been an incredible experience to run for the legislature. I’ve knocked on 12,000 doors, the opportunity to meet so many of my neighbors has been humbling. I spent time negotiating peace with insurgents, and advocating for the needs of sexual assault survivors. I want to take those skills to Olympia.
- Victoria Mena- this is a campaign for working families by working families. We are representing the workers. I understand all the interconnectedness of these things. I think together we cannot focus on a band-aid, but envision a world without homelessness, with supports and jobs. The things I want to get out there are upward mobility. If you are working in supported housing, you can’t access higher education or get a better job. The things I want to champion with you all are health care, youth support, eviction prevention. We need to redo our tax structure to equitably tax folks. Low wage earners are paying 17% of their income on taxes but high wage earners are paying just 3%. I’d love connect – come door knock with me – this weekend in Buckely - help us make sure folks needs are represented.
Good of the Order
- Al - I’ve been so pleased with the listserv, and yesterday I looked at how many message went out on the listserv seeking information or offering services over the past year
- Sock Drive- “What a Blessing” street outreach could use some socks for their sock drive.
- Dru – have some size 14 lightly used steel toed work boots – if anyone needs them – let me know - firstname.lastname@example.org
- Dru - Needs an extra walker – client’s was recently stolen - email@example.com
- Theresa – Mike Sterbick is a good resource for boots
- James – love that you are from rural Pierce County – we work there a lot. We don’t have many
- We go and meet with folks in East Pierce County, and we make a 2 week out appointment to get in treatment, or connected to housing resources – but where do they sleep tonight. Where does someone in your district sleep tonight.
- Audrey Oliver, Comprehensive Life Resources
- Tammy Riles, Comprehensive Life Resources
- Liz Murphy, Comprehensive Life Resources
- Bryan Carbullido, Comprehensive Life Resources
- Jane McKittrick, Catholic Community Services
- Mindy Kim, Catholic Community Services
- William Stinson, Catholic Community Services
- Coley Wiley, Comprehensive Life Resources
- Karleen Essary, Employment Pipeline
- Al Ratcliffe, Me
- Dana Orr, Pierce County AIDs Foundation
- Brandon Ault, Comprehensive Life Resources
- Maureen Howard, Housing Advocate
- Abiodun Faleke, Tacoma Rescue Mission
- Patricia Menzies, Tent City Tacoma
- Charleen Fitzgerald, Coordinated Care
- Linda Posey, Greater Lakes Mental Health
- Jessica Hall, Greater Lakes Mental Health
- Monique Patterson, Next Chapter Foundation
- Dru Gonia, Tacoma Salvation Army
- Carrie Ching, Molina HealthCare
- Pamm Silver, Molina Healthcare
- Barbara Kaelberer, Adovcate
- John Smith, Tacoma Rescue Mission
- Bruce Morris, Tacoma Transportation Commission
- Larry Seaquist, League of Women Voters
- Chris Gildon, Candidate
- Rachel Jo, Campaign Manager
- Victoria Mena, Candidate