Meeting Information

Meeting Type
Friday Coalition Meeting
Friday, 1/11/2019
9:00 AM
11:00 AM
Valeo Vocation – program overview and how to get clients engaged, Dispatch Health – a new medical house call program, and how you can make a difference with State and Federal Advocacy – Maureen Howard. We'll also go over how you can get involved in the Coalitions 2019 planning process.
The Salvation Army Church (1110 S Puget Sound Ave, Tacoma, WA 98405)


  • James Pogue, Comprehensive Life Resources


Valeo Vocation -

  • We presented the idea in the fall of 2017, and now are a full fledge company (raucous cheers –ed.)
  • Sherri Jensen -
  • I hate the public speaking
  • Valeo started here from this committee.
  • We started the coalition about a year ago.  James had the idea to bring all the partners together.  I dove in right then.  We’ve developed as a subcommittee.  Hire253 started from the workforce development subcommittee.  I did that for about a year.  I felt that I was just sending folks to minimum wage jobs – wanting a non-profit staffing company that can move folks into a full time, living wage job.  Valeo came from this work.
  • Greg Walker -   (the name Greg Walker means “watchful walker”, kind of comforting, or a bit creepy, I’m not quite sure… -ed.)
  • I’m new to this community and to homeless populations.  I come from a military and business background.  Sherri, a family friend, came to me.  Instead of taking profit out, weuse it to help our clients.  We aren’t the first doing this in the County, but one of the first.
  • We started in September 2018.
  • Will talk about who we are, what we do, and how your clients can engage with us.
  • Looking at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs ( –ed) – we all want to be at the top.
  • Sheri –  I wanted to name the company Thrive – but lots of companies are names that - although I still fought for it.  Valeo comes from Latin – meaning strong.  Vocation really spoke to me – it isn’t about getting a job- just surviving (from the latin vocare – “to call” –ed).  It is about finding purpose. 
  • We are a non-profit social enterprise.  For-profit staffing agencies go into the community, look at labor demands, warehouse worker, receptionist, etc.  They charge a staffing fee – it is a profitable model – there are 24 of them in the area.  We turn that profit into supportive services.  This is the social enterprise model – compete in the for-profit market but not rely on government grants.
  • Greg – the idea is we go to businesses with labor needs.  Warehouses often have staff needs that differ over time.  You hire labor for you minimum needs, then use temporary staff for busier times.  The staffing agency pays the worker.  The staffing agency then bills the warehouse – at a higher fee.  We don’t have profit, but have excess revenue to help our clients. 
  • Things that set us apart
    • Get case management – supportive services.  We don’t use our clients as a tool to generate revenue – rather try to set them up for success in work and housing.  We want to run out of clients. 
    • Our goal is to move folks into permanent employment
    • We are investing in the people and are looking for work that matches their abilities and keep working with them through case management
      • We have someone there to guide someone through all the resources in the community
      • Folks often have mental health issues, substance use, etc.  they need case management to support them.  Not just employment, but we want to help folks every step of the way. 
      • Navigate folks to mental health – who takes their healthcare, how to get there, make sure they get medications. 
      • Helping folks with childcare and getting a driver’s license and all the hard things.
      • Orientations every Wednesday – we find out who folks are and where they want to go.  About 90% of people don’t know what they want to do, or what makes them happy.  Folks experiencing homelessness are just trying to survive.  Part of the model is helping folks to dream and figure out what they want to do to survive. 
        • Help obtain ID
        • Be honest with where they are – what challenges are there – mental health, substance use, etc. 
      • Greg – a client Sherri worked with in a previous job – they had a job opportunity in a good paying job.  They needed a driver’s license because of fines owed.  She had funds, but couldn’t help them.  With Valeo – we can pay the fine – we can help with the things that are holding folks back.
      • Once the client is sent on an assignment, we check in with worksite supervisor and the client.  We try to be proactive in our communication – ask what we can do better – so that problems don’t fester, but can be addressed.  We have good outcomes when we bring issues to the client about what changes they need to do to stay employed. 
  • Do warehousing, general labor, fire/water restoration.
  • 2 pathways – we identify through the interview
    • Clients who are ready to go to work. 
      • Get assigned a case manager and employment specialist to determine right assignment based on clients knowledge, skills and abilities. 
      • We are very deliberate when working with our customer base – the companies that work with us.
      • Goal is to get a client in a workplace permanently.  4 weeks into the assignment the client is eligible for a full time hire.  We have that 4 week limit so we can generate some income from the investment we have in the client (this is so much more reasonable than any staffing agency that I’ve ever worked with –ed.)
    • Transitional Employment Pathway (TEP)
      • Thought is that we work with folks – stability site folks – who want to work, and work will solve a lot of their challenges.  But, they have challenges that prevent them from working. 
      • These folks need an income in order to be stable.
      • We provide services to stability site residences.  We can transition them into the workforce – they can work part time – they can get income to minimize employment barriers.  People have active substance abuse issues.  They can still work – they are monitored by the non-profits.  We can help work to increase their work ready status.  Heavy case management – and are prioritizing their barriers. 
      • We want to work with anyone that is coming to us.
      • Full time employment is not possible for everyone. 
      • Currently have 3 placed with the Salvation Army – they are shining examples of what employees can be.
      • Wages are paid by the City of Tacoma
      • Program is time-limited – need to encourage them to identify the next step.  Start off part-time, then move them to full time.  Need to incentivize moving them to full time employment. 
      • Question - is it working?  Sherri – we’ll see – one client is in the process of moving to the next step.
      • Question - how many folks?  Sherri – this program is for stability site folks only, where only about 10 are able to work full time.  20 are enrolled in the program. 
      • Greg – this was started with a goal from the City of Tacoma – when we got into it, as the process evolved, We thought we could put these folks on commercial contracts right away.  There are expectations there – show up on time, work at a certain pace.  We realized these folks have been out of that lifestyle for a long time.  We needed a way to pay wages – City came up with funding, but only for stability site clients.  There is only so much money – can only take on as many folks as we can afford to pay.   Have a new contract for the first 6 months of the year.  We are restricted on who we can work with.  We had clients that moved into the pallet shelters – we offered them housing, but they were living in a place better than they’ve lived in 10 years, and they don’t have to pay for it – so that can be a challenge.   
      • Working on sobriety plans for some clients – so they can stay employed.  Clients get lots of chances.
  • Accomplishments
    • 4 months of work
    • Transitional Employment Pathway
      • Served 23 clients, 5 clients on payroll,
      • Over 150 hours, $10k in wages
      • One client completed treatment pathway –> inpatient treatment to transitional housing –> work assignment.  Client had spent time with every provider that came to the stability site.  Active drug use for quite some time.  We laid out a step-by-step process for her.  Client did 45 days inpatient –she graduated, and was placed a clean and sober house with a great supportive community, just placed her with employment at a safe place. 
      • Greg -  many of our clients exit treatment to environments that contribute to recidivism.  We had housing lined up for her. 
    • Commercial contract pathway
      • 29 clients worked over 3,000 hours, over $42 in wages
      • One family living in a tent, moved to shelter an then to housed and permanent, living wage job.  We bought the tools he needed to get employed.  Got them into a housing solution. 
      • One client completed training program to earn a medical assistant certificate
      • Some clients never earn a dollar of wages – one client came to us – the right fit was an apprenticeship program with the unions, which we helped make happen. 
      • We don’t turn folks away if we can’t make money from them.
      • A couple clients – we just helped them find work with the skills they already had.
  • Where are we going
    • This has been a success.  We never envisioned how cool this would be or how well it would work (yes you did – you all had a great vision – and you’re so humble too…-ed.).
    • Want to increase number of workers employed – from 10 per day to 25 per day
    • Want to have broader offerings – we don’t have anything for folks that can’t do physical labor.
    • We have had tremendous success in helping companies loosen background check requirements.  Some are very restrictive – and we have been given opportunities to change the business community.  Often, we can’t get around that we can’t place felons in certain places. 
    • We can’t take folks who are sex offenders – a restriction on us placed by our insurance provider.  We are working to find a way to hire folks with sex offences – but need places to place them
    • Want to grow Transitional Employment Pathway – need outside money to run it – paying wage but no billing a client for wages.  Need to grow that funding pool – hoping to expand it to residents of all shelters in the City. 
    • Having conversations with Puyallup and county
    • Want to increase supportive services offerings
      • Need to teach  folks how to engage with coworkers and bosses
      • Increase client’s digital skills.  Yes, you can survive without a cell phone, but it gets harder every day.    Many places, you must apply on-line, or fill out a time card on-line. 
  • How to engage
    • On the corner of 13th and Yakima - 1224 Tacoma Ave S, Tacoma, WA  98405
    • Orientation on Wednesdays - At goodwill if the 253JobClub is happening, otherwise at 1224 Tacoma Ave S. 
    • Case Manager – Mitch and Sherri. 
    • Send clients to us on Wednesdays, or have a case manager contact Mitch or Sherri. 
  • Wendy – Associated Ministries has internship opportunities – even if not documented.  Mitch – our undocumented client is doing some volunteering. 
  • Greg – Let us know where we can partner up. 
  • Leo –How many case managers do you have? – Greg – just the three of us.  Sherri – we partner with most everyone.  What if St. Leos wants to connect – get workers?  Just e-mail us – . Do you expect us to have our own funding?  Mitch – let’s talk offline – we are open to all sorts of ideas.
  • James – congratulations to Valeo for making things happen


Dispatch Health -

  • Karrie Austin, Dispatch Health
  • I’m from Tacoma, a nurse for 17 years, last 13 at Multicare. 
  • Dispatch health was brought in by Multicare.  Goals of the service are to
    • Decrease ER use
    • Decrease patient length of stay
    • Decrease hospital re-administion
  • ERs drive healthcare costs. 
  • Dispatch health – mobile urgent care and Emergency Room – providing service in home or wherever it is safe to do so. 
  • Want to go to Nativity House and Tacoma Rescue Mission. 
  • Will go wherever that may be – but need some privacy and space to work, though.
  • We have rovers – Nissan rogues – travel with EMT and nurse practitioner.  Provide medical care in patient home.  Have direct access to board certified ER physician. 
  • Patients get referred or call directly – there is an app too, as well as a website -
  • Go through a risk stratification process – like a Schmitt-Thompson protocols ( if you’re ever curious –ed.) - with a few extra added layers.  We don’t do anything time sensitive – no chest pain, bright red bleeding – which will rule out dispatch health or escalate to 911 call or recommend ER visit .  For the rest of folks we can treat, arrive in 60 to 90 minutes.  If we are pushed back farther, we call so folks know when we will be there. 
  • When we arrive, go through the assessment and may escalate (3% of the time) if needed. 
  • Travel with lab tools, Intravenous and oral medications.  Can do sutures, staples, splinting (non-displaced), can do all sorts of other stuff - COPD, CHS (probably go this abbreviation wrong – she was talking fast…-ed), can do albuterol, prednisone, we carry a big pharmacy – but no narcotics.  No Benzodiazepines, but can write prescriptions for them. 
  • We always connect in with the Primary Care Provider and the referral source.  If assisted living or home health, they get a copy as well.  We serve anyone and everyone  3months old thorugh the lifespan. 
  • If no Primary Care Provider, we have access to the Multicare access center, where they can get a Primary Care Provider for whatever insurance they have
  • We are in with all major insurance payer, including Medicaid and Medicare – but not Kaiser and Tricare (great, a list of two insurance companies they don’t work with, and one is my provider… -ed)
  • Maureen – are you in network for other Health Maintenance Organizations (MCOs)?  Karrie – we bill as urgent care, wo we typically fall under that insurance coverage umbrella.  Billed to the client at their urgent care copay - $20-$30, or $30-$50.  Questions – if not insured or are homeless? Karrie - if the care Manegement team refers them, will work with Multicare charity care on the backside. 
  • Will serve anyone
  • Questions - What if clients are in shelter and don’t have insurance?  Karrie – we have flat rate fee – no matter the care, it never exceeds $275. 
  • Tring to work with Nativity House and Tacoma Rescue Mission – working to get folks on insurance – to get them on health insurance.  We will do our best to get folks tied in to services.
  • If homeless, we will work to coordinate a location that is safe for us to see them. 
  • We’ve been in the market for 1 month
  • Mitch – are you working with Tracy Green and Mobile Community Intervention Response Team (MCIRT)?  Karrie – yes, working with them.  We don’t do behavioral health as a primary complaint.  We do go out if folks have a medical complaint.  If they have a mental health connection, we work with that, or assign it.
  • Questions - How many mobile units.  Karrie - We have 2 units working 10 hour shifts – seeing 10 patients per day.  There is typically 45-50 minutes of facetime, but we’ll stay how long it takes.  20 patients per day.  Will bring on another team when we are starting to reach capacity of current team.
  • 8am-10pm 7 days per week.  We’ll work to be available to the community. 
  • James – want to talk about young adult shelter.  Can you have office hour slots at a shelter.  Our young adults need STD testing, too.  Karrie – maybe one of our cars could be designated to a specific locations. 
  • Question - Even just coming in for an hour, that would be very beneficial.  Karrie – having a discussion with Nativity House – they have been gracious with us there. 
  • We are in Tacoma and all of Pierce County, except the back of Graham and Eatonville and much of Key Peninsula – because of the challenge of drive times.  And South King County.   As we grow, we’ll have more geographic expansion. 


State and Federal Advocacy (we really cut Maureen short – I’m hoping she’s willing to put on another session for us where we aren’t so pushed for time. –ed.)

  • Maureen Howard, Housing Advocate -
  • Policy and funding drive your programs.  Since 1982, I’ve created funding and programs.  I’ve worked nationally and internationally. 
  • I really appreciated the candidate forums – they were outstanding. 
  • I want to give you a taste of what we can do.  I want to help you articulate your stories.  I want you to give stories that are appropriate to the funder and make that happen. 
  • If you want to have a further conversation, please connect with me. 
  • Some things I’ve learned along the way. 
    • Show up – if you don’t show up, someone else makes the decision.  Use your voice.  There are many ways to use your voice.  I call representatives to support them, when I want them to support something that may not be on their agenda. 
    • For the State Legislature, 1-800-562-6000 – the prompts will take you to your elected officials.  Make sure you know your nonprofit or company’s advocacy policy. 
    • Use your physical presence.  If you didn’t watch the Tiki tenants line up to talk to the City council, you missed something great. 
    • Use the web – every aspect of government and every advocacy organization and coalition has a web presence.  Use social media, and what works for you. 
    • If you’ve never gone to Olympia, then go.  These are our buildings, we own the capital.  It isn’t other people’s somewhere else – it is ours. 
    • If we want change, we need to participate. 
    • The legislative assistant is the person you want. 
  • Take a good look at this legislative agenda – look at which of the priorities you want to support, which you want more info on, which you can support. 
  • February 28th – advocacy day for affordable housing. (register to attend at -ed.)
  • January 31st, renters advocacy day  - (I wrote a different date in my notes, but this is what I found on the web: -ed)
  • (February 30th – Notetaker advocacy day. –.ed)
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness – has a day (February 18th - -ed)
  • I’ll send these out on this mailing list. 
  • I run Maureen’s Musings – if you want to be on it, contact me (I wouldn’t know about a lot of things without Maureen’s Musings showing up in my in-box. –ed.)
  • Rosemary – Get on Maureen’s Musings – it is stuff you’ll want to follow up on.


99 Stockings

  • Rosemary Powers, New Connections -
  • Theresa wanted to provide holiday cheer to some folks, so did the stockings.
  • We got a great response from the community and the clients.
  • If was 85 stockings for the stability site, 30+ stocking for the beacon center, and 80 Christmas bags for Guadalupe House. 
  • Our house was full of boxes of things… 
  • Emerald at the stability site and folks at Guadalupe and beacon center said folks were so pleased to get things. 
  • If you have things useful for stockings, get ahold of us, and we’ll store them for next year (I have some of my Grandmother’s good china that I don’t use so often, I don’t suppose you’re willing to store that as well.. –ed).

Good of the Order

  • James - Youth shelter – contact me if you want to get involved there, services can be delivered from 5pm – 9pm, contact
  • Wendy - Project homeless Connect – 2 weeks from today – looking for volunteers.  Contact or get more info at
  • Wendy – Associated Ministries Resource guide – update your data on our website for the next version – update form:
  • Molina – benefit incentives are partnering with Amazon.  Everyone 18 years old or older with Molina Apple Health will get amazon prime for free for 90 days – then $5.99 per month (54% of the retail price -ed).  They have to have a valid debit card or credit card, so some folks may not be able to get that (do we need banks that focus on the specific needs of folks experiencing homelessness? -ed).  All our incentives will be amazon gift cards – these incentives are for kids getting care and vision checks and A1C checks and such.
  • Carolyn - St. Leos – putting together strategic plan on how the Parrish can work with homeless.  Looking to put together a taskforce.  Goals span doing work together to align resources and be more effective in influencing policy makers.  Working on our campus and beyond.
  • Julio – request about Tacoma community Radio ( )– we don’t have a home, and are looking for a home – church or community group that has 400 ft2 of space, please let us know.   Tacoma community Radio – have been around for a year – if you have a space please let us know.
  • DeAnne - UnitedHealthCare is a dual complete plan – health, dental, ancillary benefits at no cost.
  • Matthew - Tenant relocation NOFA – due, drop it off in person
  • Larry - King county homeless deaths reach new high (article at -ed.)
  • Gerrit – Tacoma Community College is starting a strategic planning process.  Their Future Summit is a great time for partner agencies to help shape Tacoma Community College’s relationships with partners in the future –(full info at -ed)
  • January 25th – point in Time Count, not meeting.  Also Project Homeless connect is that day – 10am-2pm – OACIS center (1937 S G Street, Tacoma, WA 98405).  It is coordinated with the Point in Time Count, if you want to participate, go to website.  If you want to do the overnight count, your agency needs to vouch for your coverage for liability.  The day Point in Time Count is open to community volunteers.  Info on volunteering for the Point in Time Count - .  Info for volunteering at or contact
  •   – view minutes from past presentations, sign up for listserv, etc.  Find the link to the resource database there as well.  Gerrit – The list of Member Agencies now has links to the minutes from each agency’s past presentations (well, the last 11 months of Minutes, I’m still moving past minutes onto the website. –ed.)
  • James - Priorities on the back of the agenda.  Not so strategic – identify what we need to fix and how to fix it. 
  • James – One of the many things we did that was successful was our support of the launch of Valeo Vocation
  • Q13 – interviews at Nativity House will be aired – excited about the Respite Program getting highlighted.  

Good of the Order

  • January 25th – Point in Time Count Day and Project Homeless Connect – I know what I’ll be doing this day.
  • February 1st – Speed Networking
  • February 8th – Coordinated Care
  • February 17th – no plan
  • February 22nd – Homelessness and Race themed meeting – presentations and work groups around equity.
  • March 1st – Joint meeting with Community Partnerships for Transition Solutions
  • March 8th – Do joke chicken names provide a mirthful nod to the importance of humor in daily life, or is naming your Rhode Island Red “Tyrannosaurus Pecks” or “Cluck Norris” an unacceptable assault on the dignity of Gallus Gallus Domesticus?  Our panel of experts will present their cases, and it will be up to you (and maybe Henneth Paltrow or Hen Solo, if they attend) to decide.


  • Wendy Morris, Associated Ministries
  • Carrie Ching, Molina Healthcare
  • Carolyn Read, St. Leo’s Parrish
  • Bruce Morris, Tacoma Fire Department
  • Julio Quan, Community Advocate
  • Rosemary Powers, New Connections
  • Brandon Chun, Metropolitan Development Council
  • Immaculate Ferreria, Children Youth and families Advocate
  • DeAnn Johnson, UnitedHealthCare (I like how UnitedHealthCare unites all its words together, not quite an Engglyph, but close. –ed)
  • Jacque DeGideo, UnitedHealthCare
  • Tanisha Dixon, Tacoma Rescue Mission
  • David Sullivan, Tacoma Rescue Mission
  • Cristina Valera, Juvenile Rehabilitation
  • Maureen Howard, Housing Advocate
  • Bill Stinson, Catholic Community Services
  • Matthew Jorgensen, City of Tacoma
  • Bobby Ocasio, City of Tacoma
  • Brandee Tillman-Banks, Catholic Community Services
  • Karrie Austin, Dispatch Health
  • Janet Runbeck, Pierce County Medical Reserve Corps
  • Patricia Menzies, Tent City Tacoma
  • Alice Sofias Diakonos, Industrial Workers of the World
  • Rich Berghammer, Fellowship Bible Church
  • Erin Brock, Metropolitan Development Council
  • Tiffany Orth, Comprehensive Life Resources
  • Mitch Austin, Valeo Vocation
  • Sheri Jensen, Valeo Vocation
  • Greg Walker, Valeo Vocation
  • Eric Hasstedt, Safe Streets
  • Roxanne Simon, Safe Streets
  • Natalie, Amerigroup
  • Taniesha Lyons, Tacoma Community College
  • James Pogue, Comprehensive Life Resources
  • Gerrit Nyland, Catholic Community Services