Presentation Minutes

College Housing Assistance Program and SPace available to Respond to the Unemployed through  College Education. -

  • College Housing Assistance Program  (CARP)
    • Marybeth McCarthy, Resource Navigator, Tacoma Community College, 253-566-5063,
    • Housing project is a collaboration between community college and housing authority.
    • 55% transfer students
    • 47% receive financial aid
    • 2015 survey of 10 community colleges in the country, 13% of the folks that responded were homeless.  Another 39% were housing insecure. 
    • Started 25 voucher pilot program in 2014 – working with Tacoma Housing Authority – partial vouchers – worth 50% of usual section 8 voucher. 
    • Now going all out with 150 vouchers.
    • Eligibility – look at students in credit bearing classes – focus on students paying tuition as well as Fresh Start (college and high school).  Must be Washington state residents at least for 12 months, and over 18 years old.  Can be part time at first, but must be full time within 2 quarters and have 2.0 grade point average.  Must fit housing authority rules as well (criminal background and not owing housing authorities money, among other rules).
    • 2 general open periods 10 days after the start of fall and winter quarter for near homeless or housing insecure – couch surfing, living in a car but not engaged with an agency.
    • Federal definition of homelessness can apply anytime if they are in class, if their classes are paid for, and they are HUD definition literally homeless (living outside, in their car, in a homeless shelter, a motel paid for by a charity, someplace without heat or running water, or fleeing or attempting to flee domestic violence – ed.).
    • Starting a program to move Department of Corrections clients into an apartment complex owned by the Housing authority.  
    • The voucher isn’t always enough
    • Voucher is good for 2 or 3 years if in good standing at the College.
  • Space Available to respond to the unemployed through  college education (SPRUCE)
    • Have a variety of funding sources.
    • Tuition waiver program – students don’t register in advance and attend on a space available basis. 
    • Prior to the term starting, the student meets with advisor and comes up with a wish list, and attend classes until 3rd day when they can get in if space is available.
    • Funding lasts just 2 quarters  - but TCC works hard to get folks on financial aid to allow them to continue on
    • Provide help with the cost of books.
    • Get a $5 bus pass for the whole quarter (like all TCC students –ed.)
    • Might be a great way for folks to get started in getting educated. 
    • The 3 credit student success class, taught by the counseling, is a recommended starting point. 
    • We are funded by the City of Tacoma, TCC Foundation and the Kilworth Foundation.
    • Must be 21 or over and not have attended college in the past 6 months and not be receiving unemployment benefits
    • To get in, call 253-566-5201 – Scott Seely with MDC will do a phone screening
    • Folks on spruce can apply for the housing program and would then move on to traditional financial aid and full time schooling at that time
  • Department of Correction program starts in winter quarter in January – working with folks inside prison and working on release plans.  Hoping to still use spruce funds there, even if they were in college when they were incarcerated.  Can’t go online to do the FAFAS while incarcerated.
  • Quesetion: Is anyone reaching out to landlords about taking these vouchers?  Marybeth - It is the same criteria as an Section 8 voucher.  We write a letter to provide to landlords to help alleviate some of their fears.
  • Carolyn – do you track data by race and look at the race?  We are working with Temple University to look over this data.
  • Theresa – shout out to TCC and several folks have come out of incarceration and been successful with SPRUCE.  (thunderous clapping ensued. –ed).
  • Question - Why is this the only program?  Marybeth - this came from a past Dean of Student’s personal relationships.  
  • Make sure TCC is the best option for your clients – Bates or Clover Park could be better matches. 
  • Question - How far out can someone get housing?  Marybeth - must be in class on the 10th day before can help with housing.
  • James – if you bump into an unemployed, pregnant TCC student, we can solve their homelessness today. 


“We do change from the ground up, but also work on policy decisions – do lots and lots and lots.”  (random words I the middle of my notes – said by someone wise, no doubt. –ed). 

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