What shelter options are missing or needed in Pierce County?
The majority of the discussion groups drilled into the need for additional low barrier shelter and transitional housing options, and that we can “raise the bar” for what this means.
- More safe parking sites, sanctioned encampments and tiny house villages, with more support for transitioning out of homelessness. In Pierce/King County, over 50% of unhoused are in vehicles.
- Should be located in each part of Tacoma and Pierce County.
- Must be near public transportation and close to social and medical services.
- Meet “campers” where they’re at and be flexible in options. Outreach workers that are case managers.
- We need more safe, clean camp spaces that people can rent for week at a time, similar to the state parks camp sites. Full-service camping sites with laundry, showers, food prep areas, trash removal.
- Get insulated ice fishing tents or higher quality tents that will last longer.
- More 24-hour shelter, and accessible to couples and people with pets.
- We need more sites like Aspen Court that offer wraparound services with a goal towards stabilizing each individual. Also expand the HEAT program.
- An idea that closed down schools and other city property should be looked at for conversion to transitional housing or space for tiny houses and such. Also 5-acre parcels of land from city or county for safe parking.
- Respect for autonomy and self-reliance are what’s missing for the unhoused.
Also frequent mention of the need for storage facilities, for people who are unhoused, supplies and goods for people transitioning into housing, and for emergency response supplies. Storage options help people to keep service provider and medical appointments, job preparations etc.
Other needs that were discussed include:
- Smaller shelters that are more like micro villages
- More options for unhoused youth and young adults
- More options for families
- More capacity for immediate options for people escaping domestic violence.
- Need shelter options for women who are older or who have lost child support safety net when children reach 18
- Men as a group are underserved
- More “recovery navigator” programs
- More options and policy work needed to house people leaving incarceration
- Long-term housing for people with past trauma that need time to heal
- Direct access to job training/employment resources in shelters
- On-going advocacy with government officials and neighborhoods
- Mental/physical health resources on site at shelters and more mental health beds
- Encourage more Detached Accessory Dwelling Units (DADUs)
- Maintain support for Housing First and expand focus on prevention
- More feeding programs, ADUs, and safe parking sites hosted by churches.
- Improved communication about types of housing available
Suggested New Topic: Why don't we have public bathrooms in urban areas like the rest stops you see along the highway?