Meeting Information

Meeting Type
Friday Coalition Meeting
Friday, 9/7/2018
9:00 AM
11:00 AM
Representative Jake Fey and LASA Homeless Prevention Program
The Salvation Army Church


  • James Pogue,  your emcee
  • Thank you to the Salvation Army

(If something seems off, please blame the note taker, not the speaker - people speak quickly, and I may miss a rather important word or two. –ed)


  • Jake Fey – Representative from the 27th Legislative District -
  • James – transportation is constantly a challenge – that drove this invitation
  • Jake Fey - (he does have an e-mail, but this e-mail form is a very effective was of initiating communication - ed.)
  • Jake Fey – I’m a Port Angeles kid – had a great childhood.  I do understand a bit of being vulnerable.  My father passed away when I was young.  My parent came from Germany, and my mother hadn’t worked outside the home.  My parents had left the house, and my mother and my income was my social security check.  I understand about hand me downs.  My mother never drove, so I understood the isolation of that.  But for friends, my life would have been more isolated.  But for folks that got me engaged in the YMCA, my life could have been very different.  I feel very blessed I was able to make it through college and could realize a life dream to be an elected official.  Was on the Tacoma City Council for 7 years, and have been on legislature for 6 years.  Focused on environmental work, although was initially interested in doing social work.  I don’t claim to understand the issues you work through.  My focus as a legislator and a City Council member were around transportation.  As a City Council member, you do learn a lot about the needs in the community.  I represented the city of 5 years on the Puget Sound Regional Council – where I dealt with transit and road issues in the 4 county area.  Was on the Pierce Transit board for 5 years and the Sound Transit board for 2 years.  One of my mentors told me it is cool to be an elected official, but you need to do things outside your wheelhouse – you need to pay attention to issues you don’t normally gravitate to.  In the 2nd year, I was approached by Columbia legal services to interest me in doing legislation related to youth homelessness.  It took 2 years, but we passed a bill I introduced called the “Homeless Youth Stability act”. That bill was patterned after the good work the Tacoma School District does with the Tacoma Housing authority at McCarver Elementary – which linked housing vouchers with stabilities of families.  The program gave vouchers to families committed to staying geographically stable and participating in their students’ lives.  It helped with the turnover rate of students at McCarver, which was nearly 100% over a year.  I did that bill – which provides support in terms of counselors for counselling and community programs to support homeless families in different communities across the state.  We are in year 3, and we need to provide a lot more money to make that affordable across the state. 
  • I did an associated bill the last few years that is in place regarding extended foster care.  For young people that find themselves homeless, they deal with two factors – the young person is a products of the juvenile rehabilitation system or are foster kids with no supporting mechanism after aging out of foster care.  At the Y, a young person had a 1 time choice to go into extended foster care, and then couldn’t come back in.  If you can imagine a bad experience in foster care and being 18 and wanting out of the system and then changing your mind and not being able to get back in.  We passed a bill that allows them to be eligible for extended foster care until 22, even if they refused it once.
  • Worked on the Office of Youth Homelessness Advisory committee to be successful – providing affordable housing and supportive services for youth.
  • I could have been homeless as a child – but my parents built their house and had paid it off allowed us to stay in that stable housing  environment.
  • Was involved in the Boys and Girls Club, because I have a particular empathy for young people who don’t have the opportunities that even I had as a youth.
  • I’m really looking forward to next month and the opening of the new East Side Community Center – a start of the art, great center for youth on the east side, which has been lacking.  This was my capital project funding – first with feasibility funding, and then with 5-6 million from the state to help with the costs. You’ll want to go to that center and check it out.
  • I have been vice-chair of the Transportation Committee for 6 years, with retirement of the chair, hopefully I’ll be chair next year, and do some more work.  I’ve had great mentorship form the chair, but I’ll have my own twist on things, hopefully making transportation more accessible to people in desperate need of transportation.  The State doesn’t do much with transportation funding – most comes from feds and the local jurisdictions .  We do provide funding for Safe routes to school.
  • We are doing a pilot program in a couple King County school districts where we provide low income youth free bus passes, so they can be mobile during the summer time.  I’m open to ideas like this.  There are ideas around making the transportation system more accessible to folks experiencing homelessness. 
  • Was recently in South Tacoma around 84th, were there are lots of encampments.  I was asked to go there because the encampments are on the WSDOT property on  the edge of the freeway – I have that type of exposure.  There is a safety issue for folks encamped near transportation corridors.
  • Calvin – thank you for the work you do.  For me, for the clients we serve, we can use more free bus passes.  We cannot provide adequate transporation for the lcients we serve.  Jake – you would have a mechanism to provide the bus passes? Calvin – yes
  • Joseph – one issue we have, is that Pierce Transit will cut routes and increase fairs – which is problematic.  Recently, Pierce transit opened up 50% reduced fares for social service agencies – a great first step.  For everyone getting a 50% one day ticket, there are people behind him that don’t come to social service agencies and don’t get access to that discount.  Basically what I’m saying, is that folks getting resources from DSSH or food stamps, In King county, if you come with an award letter, you can get a 50% reduced orca pass.  You don’t have to go to a social service agency other than DSHS to get the benefit.  Jake – has that been successful?  What has Pierce Transit said?  Joseph – we all get rejected when we suggest this.  Marybeth- this is a budget thing, really.  Jake – when I was on the Pierce Transit board, we had the ability to raise sales taxes higher to .9%.  We had a ballot proposition to raise from .6% to  .9% that narrowly lost.  It passed overwhelmingly in Tacoma, but no other places.  The political reality is that we couldn’t get more resources to support the transit system, so we looked at the boundaries.  Jurisdictions were given the option to opt out – Bonney Lake, Sumner , DuPont, and parts of Pierce County opted to drop out.  This shrank some revenue.  Maybe there will be an effort to raise that taxation up again.  Unfortunately for Sumner, Veritas, a social entrepreneurship company, lost transportation to their facility.  We could be helpful with you and with Pierce Transit.  I just got them state money to have electronic bill boards at major transit hubs – very helpful for people taking the bus – making it more user friendly.  Pierce Transit occasionally asks us for stuff.  I’m happy to work with you on getting folks 1 day passes – that isn’t how anyone does things anymore.  We should try to facilitate a better situation where we can subsidize and make it more streamlined – for anyone in poverty. 
  • Sherri – Thanks for being here – appreciate all the work with youth.  I worked in King County, and the half-off orcas were successful.  Curious if the discussion on the Orcas ½ off happened in Pierce County.  Jake – that issue only came up in the context of increasing the fare costs.  Management proposed fare increases across the board – but we were able to keep the fares the same for many riders.  Sherri – in Pierce County, for the last 3 years working with the population, it has been extremely challenging.  This is the first time Pierce Transit has done any work with the homeless population.  In King county, I was paying just $.25 per one-way ticket.  Jake – maybe the state can provide some funds to subsidize that.
  • Kelly – we did Hire253  - hired lots of those folks.  Lot of folks got jobs, but didn’t have any transportation.  Now have a hiring event on October 3rd.  If anyone could provide proof of employment and get folks a 1 month Orca pass – 1 month free, 2nd month 50%, 3rd month, can afford on their own, it would be great.  And we’d have the data to show the impact.  Jake – that actually is depressing, what you said.  You go to all this effort to get folks setup, and they can’t get to the job so they lose it.  That is very depressing.  
  • Al – I want to second what was just proposed.  I noticed that the busses run on schedule or close, whether they have passengers or not.  These kinds of proposals, add no extra cost to the transportation system, since they run regardless.  Jake – less than 25% of the revenue is from fares.  Al – having folks go places they need to go would help out an awful lot.  Anything we can do to help make this happen – and keep it accountable, would be great.
  • Theresa – The places that are taken off the grid because the political will to provide the tranpsoration is not there - those people are still our people – we can’t get housing for folks without sending them into the hinterlands – where there is no transportation.  One request is when someone comes to you with a tiny house or low income house project, please consider stretching the view so that people can live where they can afford, and get to Tacoma for services and for income. 
  • Marybeth – Tacoma Community College negotiated with pierce Transit, because we are a hub – but we do have to kick in money. Everyone else has heard me talk about the space available program – could we do space available on buses.  If it isn’t peak time, could folks just show up?  If there is room, can our folks just take the bus?  Jake – has anyone seen a full Pierce Transit bus?  Why shouldn’t folks be able to get on anytime – their ride is as important as everyone else – limiting times sounds a bit discriminatory to me.  Theresa – but that is better than what someone would have now.  Carrie – what if folks with a provider one card could get on any bus?
  • Question –on the topic of low income housing and transportation – we’ve been working with the Tiki tenants.  18 were forced out of Tacoma to find affordable housing.  The Merkle renters , who pay only $395 per month- will move out of Tacoma.  At the state level, can we make it possible for affordable housing around high capacity transit?  2nd question – is about tenant protection to prevent homelessness – evictions are one main cause of homelessness.  Also, can you require every development to include low income housing?  The land is available for low income housing only.  Sherri - Affordable isn’t low income. Larry – is there any way for rural areas that opted out – is there a way that communities can opt back in.  Jake – I’ll have to look at that.  In the case of Sumner, it was one person’s choice.  I’ll write that one down and see how you opt back in. 
  • Maureen – are you willing to commit to increases in the state housing trust fund?  Jake – yes.  To me, it is disturbing what is going on.  There is all this rush to develop in Seattle and Bellevue, and it drive property values up, which pushes people out, and they move south, and that adds congestion.  Want to have more economic development outside of Bellevue and Seattle.  Some people want to densify.  You can’t build enough affordable housing to get everyone commuting.  We need more jobs distributed.  Yes, we need a lot more money in the housing trust fund.
  • Maureen – just cause eviction – I’d like it to include the right to council – tenants that have a right to representation do better.
  • Maureen – the unconstitutionality of barring folks from sleeping places if there is no shelter available is also important. 
  • Glenn Kelley – thanks for coming – I like the orca cards much better than passes – passes are used as currently, and on the street they can be used to purchase heroin.  The cards need to be attached  to a person.  Our homeless are being pushed out into rural areas – our boys in blue are having a hard time – feeling bad that they are harassing folks who are homeless.  Need to have things to offer folks experiencing homelessness.  There are things only offered in the City, not in the County, and so folks experiencing homelessness gets concentrated in Tacoma.  My piece is that Ricky’s law is a very good thing, but I don’t think you were a part of it.  They say our mental health field is interpreting the law, but folks aren’t using it.  We now lost our treatment center to an interpretation of the law.  Workers aren’t going out and aren’t detaining folks.  If folks are willing to do treatment, then we can’t detain.  So folks say they are willing to go to treatment, and then don’t get detained.  Just some things, other than  transportation that are important.  Jake – can you send me something on that?  Your information is new to me.
  • Jake – I have one quick question – I have 5 or 10 more minutes, but I can come back – just let me know.  Before January, though.  What is going on in Puyallup?  (laughter –ed.). Next Tuesday, a reading of an ordinance is on September 11th.  Jake – is there a general idea about what is going on there?  When I was at the meeting on the encampments, Pierce County and the other jurisdictions aren’t’ doing the .1% for mental health.  They aren’t stepping up with other resources.  Now, all the folks who want service, get service in Tacoma. 
  • Patricia – Transpiration – are there way to get Uber and Lyft linked in with passes if they are outside the network?  The new court ruling, anyone going to be surprised when we say we need tent cities around town.  Why am I still working after 6 years to try to get a tent city setup.  We will get one setup but need plan and a host. 
  • Arnold – I stayed here and while I listened I realized these folks are talking about me.  There are lots of good people  on the streets.  Homelessness touches lot so people, children, teenagers, adults – it doesn’t discriminate, and it happens really fast.  I remember thinking – I was on section 8, I was retired, and then everything snowballed and I was homeless.  I turned 3 turns into the wind, grabbed the wall, and realized I didn’t have a home anymore.  I went through lots of mental and emotional changes, right outside where I was, and then I had to step back into.   Raised in South Carolina on a tobacco farm.  I’m trying to get out of this thing, but I’m leaving too many people behind.  These people you are talking about are all humans, with emotions, and they have kids they aren’t able to see.  Transportation is important  -people need to get where they are going.  I spend ½ my time guarding my stuff – people need storage – a place to keep their things safe because they need to go back and check their stuff.  Everyone has things, you ask folks to only take what they can have in a backpack, you are asking folks to give up a little of their humanity.  You wouldn’t believe what a mirror does for someone – to allow them to do their makeup or just look at themselves.  People like to be treated like humans – that can be more important than a bag of peanuts.  Homelessness is a thing – people ask if you are homeless, and take a few steps back.  People say they are going to call up the police.  Then you may need to run, and forget about your appointments.  People talk about homeless like they are zombies.  Homelessness causes drug addiction – people are scared to go to sleep, so they medicate.  It isn’t about them, it is about their environment.  People are up at 5am – and moving.  All that garbage is from having no place to put something.  New jeans are used then discarded, because there is no place to put them.  It took me awhile to sit down and understand why there is so much garbage – there just isn’t storage.  I always wondered why people who don’t have much can have so much garbage, but garbage is because they can’t store stuff – it is a loop.  Everyone can’t micromanage their lives and do the things they’d like to do. If I could go a full day doing the things I need to do that would be nice, I’m too busy looking out for my stuff, for myself.  Lots of folks are riding bicycles.  There are potential geniuses out there - I watch the amazing things they do.  These are people that did work – working for Nalleys (I miss seeing those huge pickle barrels at Nalleys. –ed.), driving corvettes.  Jake – thank you very much, I appreciate hearing from you.
  • Jake – I’m all about followup, maybe a couple folks could meet with me to put something together.  Work with Pierce Transit.  Joseph will follow up with Jake Fey.  Thanks for the opportunity to meet with you. 
  • James – our system doesn’t reward people who are working to get out of homelessness – the system isn’t fully setup for success, but it will be when we are done. 


  • Living Access Support Alliance (LASA)
  • Yuni Medlin, Homeless Prevention Specialist - - (253) 581-8689
  • Homeless prevention serves were just a service – we would get water back on when it was shutoff for someone.  Then we noticed that folks were coming back. 
  • So, I redid my assessment, collected data, and wrote some grants.  (I think every manager in the room was thinking of how to lure Yuni to their organization –ed.)
  • I can help Utility deposits for City of Tacoma residents. – only for folks at risk. 
  • With 3 day pay or vacate – in the past, I could only help with the most current month – and I couldn’t help until the past 2 were repaid if 3 months were overdue.  Now I can help with past due, working with the landlord.  It is not rent assistance – but it is a housing intervention.  If you send someone with a 3-day pay or vacate notice, will sit down with folks and really work on plans to be stable.
  • Transportation problems – if someone has a job, can give a month of transportation with an orca card – but is only for folks with housing, not folks experiencing homelessness.  With ABD or Disability, can get discount rate – and because of the discount can get them two months of transit, not one. 
  • Clients were often getting traffic tickets on the way to the LASA office – clients with no insurance and tabs.  So, we can do driver’s license reinstatements.  If they are juggling paying off a variety of fines, we can help now. 
  • Often folks don’t have resources to self-sustain.  If someone’s hourly pay rate doesn’t cover rent, we can step in.  helped a client get their income up with licensing help, and now instead of $14 per hour, they are making $20 per hour, and can pay their rent.  LASA also makes sure to only refer clients to programs they are actually eligible for.  We spent more time with clients and put together plans for self-sufficiency. 
  • Theresa – who qualifies?  Yuni – client needs to have a 3-day pay-or-vacate, a 10-day final notice on utilities, or utilities are shut off.  Just had a client that lives with no utilities for 6 months.  Had to pay $1000 to collections agency to get collection account paid off and get utilities back on.  I had to be careful – once I contact TPU, TPU has to act – utilities are required for occupancy in the City of Tacomam.  Now working on employment with this client. 
  • Maureen – are there income limits – are children required?.  Yuni – we help below 50% of Area Median Income (AMI) - we used to only help clients below 30% AMI.  Maureen - Is this info on your website?  Yuni – no. would like to get that going
  • Marybeth – had referral from Share and Care house.  Yuni – it is county by county.   I call share and care house to see what is available. (I think this is a discussion about HEN- I’m going to reach out to Share and Care House to hopefully get a presentation on HEN in October or November. –ed)
  • Yuni – lots of folks come to us with needs – we work on the things pressing on them right then.
  • Maureen – what if they are beyond the 3-day pay-or-vacate, but are in the eviction process but owe money.  Yuni – if I can keep them in the housing, I work with the landlord to keep them there.  There are time where the landlord won’t work with us.  I landlords won’t work with us it is typically someone with a section 8 voucher who isn’t paying their share of the rent.  Can work with clients to try to get them paying.
  • James – TPU has lots of new programs they are launching to help folks manage their needs.  (I’ve been reading a book called The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion, by Jonathan Haidt.  Fascinating book.  He breaks morality down into 6 “moral foundations”.  TPU’s assistance program fits into a couple of them – one of them is the Care/Harm foundation – where we try to protect others.  But it also fits into the fairness/cheating foundation, where we want people to be rewarded relative to what they contribute.  The section in the book I’m on right now is all about how liberal politicians emphasize only 2 or 3 of the 6 moral foundations, where conservative politicians emphasize all 6.  Haidt compares connecting with these moral foundations to hitting all 5 taste receptors on the tongue – the conservative message often resonates better than a liberal message because it connects will all our innate moral foundations. A liberal may focus on the harm reduction of the utility payment plan to ensure low income folks get their utilities paid for and are safe, but a conservative may focus on the tax/extra cost they will pay to cover someone’s utilities that they may see as not having contributed enough to deserve it. And that both of those views are centered in feelings that are built right into us.  And that those feelings are true gut reactions which our intellect then works to justify.  Our intellect usually comes second, after we’ve made a moral decision.  Anyway, a new way for me to think about why people identify with both the liberal and the conservative movements – very interesting.  Obviously, I’ve over-simplified the concept – the author does a great job providing evidence and discussing how we change our moral compass based on lots of factors, too.  A good real.  –ed_)
  • Marybeth – are you just serving Lakewood? Yuni – we never just served Lakewood, we just happen to be based there. 
  • If folks are sent to me with a 3-day pay-or-vacate document, we can work to help them.
  • We don’t help folks that are asking their landlords for 3-day pay-or-vacate notices.  We do some common sense checking to ensure the 3-day pay-or-vacate was legitimately initiated by the landlord. (this fraud is the scourge of homeless prevention nation-wide - .ed)
  • Lynn – did you say you could help someone with a license?  How about car tabs?  Yuni – no.  Poeple often prioritize based on survival.  Try to help them with their immediate need, whether that be rent assistance, utility assistance and or transportation assistance. 
  • Maureen – I love that you analyze your data all the time – do you look at how often it is not enough money.  Yuni – it is prioritization that causes problems and gets them behind.  Someone got a $75 late fee one month.  That was enough to set her behind every month.  Got the landlord to remove that, and they are back current.
  • If someone can’t afford their living situation they can’t afford  We look at what income level they need to self-sustain.  Will work with them to get them to that level. 
  • Questions – how full are you?  Yuni –very full, but I just keep taking more people.  If I’m not working with someone downtown (I think when she staffs the Community Resource Center), I’ll sit down and help folks work through their paperwork. 

Good of the Order

  • A few days left for SPRUCE program at TCC
  • Saturday, September 15th, at Spanaway Lutheran Church, from 10am-2pm  resource fair with bike helmets, sports physicals, etc. 
  • HIRE253 -  – make sure to post flyers
  • October 30th, from 3pm-5pm, Human Rights Commission forum on charity care in hospital systems
  • Valeo – thanks to everyone who contributed – got over $30k in just 2 weeks
  • September 27th – CoT committee review of tenant rights – want to pass by Oct 16th.
  • Arnold Ben Kitchen read a poem about immortality.

Coming Attractions

  • Next week – we’ve invited all the shelters we know of:
    • Stability site
    • Tacoma Rescue Mission
    • Nativity House
    • Freezing nights –which is looking for churches (Tuesday or Wednesdays won’t have shelter available if they can’t find a church to support this).  This is very important every year. 
    • Comprehensive Life Resources youth shelter. 
    • Putting together a spreadsheet about details on the shelter – clean and sober, laundry, how do you get in, how old can your kids be, what clients can expect.  All that put together. 
    • We’ll talk a bit about inclement weather. 
  • September 21st – Probably a candidate forum, but maybe College programs for youth at risk or experiencing homelessness, and an overview of the Landlord Liaison Project by Associated Ministries (they don’t know I’m probably going to punt their presentation in preference for the candidate forum –ed.)
  • September 28th – October 19th – Candidate Forums
  • October 26th – presentations on community resources for youth and young adults
  • November 2nd - Guest panel – The 14 reasons Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is the best Harry Potter book – experts present the irrefutable facts and take audience questions. 

Restaurant Review

Bars need deep fat fryers.  There is no law, but I’d vote for one if they put it on the ballot.  Beer begets onion ring begets beer – seems a natural circle beneficial to patron and pub owner alike.  But alas, not everyone is on board.  That said, there are some great bars in Tacoma with no deep fat fryers.  The Parkway (313 North I Street, Tacoma WA) is one such tavern.  They have an impressive selection of craft brews, and unlike many bars, have a substantial selection of beers that aren’t IPAs (what is it with local brewers and their love of hops – yes hops grow great in the Northwest – they dominated the Puyallup Valley until prohibition, when farmer switched to berries to stay afloat while organized crime enjoyed a period of growth and dominance – but there are other ingredients in beer).  Anyway, the bartenders at the parkway are exceptionally knowledgeable, and if it is a quiet night, they are happy to chat beer and offer samples until you find the brew that is right for you in that moment in time.  And I always feel like I’m in the presence of bartender perfection – the bar can be slammed, and it usually is on Friday and Saturday night – often standing room only - but the bartenders just get the job done – no one stands there without a drink.  They are a marvel of efficiency and attentiveness.  Despite lacking a deep fryer, the kitchen turns out good fare.  Many consider they have the best burger in Tacoma.  In my vegetarian years, I was partial to their bean burger patty with sautéed mushrooms and swiss cheese.  I still order that, actually.  Their soups and salads are worth eating.  Late at night, popcorn is the main option, and I’m good with that.  Their nachos are totally worth it, too – pub nachos – make no mistake.  The Parkway is about a 30 or 40 minute walk from my house, so I can justify an extra pint and some popcorn because of all that exercise.  I do always try to focus on healthy living.  The owners are good peeps – not friends, but friends of friends, which adds to the joy of patronizing.  I’d recommend weekday evenings – pleasantly busy, but not oppressive.  And a late lunch there is a joyful experience – great food, good ambiance, and maybe, if you don’t have to go in to work later, a good pint.;


  • James Pogue, Comprehensive Life Resources
  • Larry Seaquist, League of Women Voters
  • Joseph Denton, Sound Outreach
  • Dru Gonia, Tacoma Salvation Army
  • Patricia Menzies, Tent City Tacoma
  • Arnold Ben Kitchen, person experiencing homelessness
  • Sheila Miraflor, Hire253
  • Kalena Towle, Multicare
  • Glen Kelley, Multicare
  • Marilyn Duran, Tacoma Rescue Mission
  • Felicia Dennis, Clover Park Technical College
  • Lynn Jones, Catholic Community Services
  • Charleen Fiztgerald, Coordinated Care
  • Theresa Power-Drutis, New Connections
  • Christina Valera, Juvenile Rehabilitation
  • Valentinya Germer, Comprehensive Life Resources
  • Devon Isakson, REACH
  • Maureen Powers, New Connections
  • John Smith, Tacoma Rescue Mission
  • Sarah Appling, Pierce County Human Services
  • Career Path Services – moving to LA next week – working with LA Family Housing
  • Marybeth McCarthy, Tacoma Community College
  • Carrie Ching, Molina Healthcare
  • Keith Galbraith, Family Renewal Shelter
  • Barb Kaelberer, Accountable Communities of Health
  • Kenny Bruemmer, Veterans Affairs
  • Bobby Ocasio, City of Tacoma
  • Coley Wiley, Comprehensive Life Resources
  • Richard Berghammer, Fellowship Bible Church
  • Yuni Medlin, LASA
  • Kelly Blucher, Goodwill
  • Al Ratcliffe, now with improved hearing
  • Sherri Jensen, Valeo Vocation
  • Rowan
  • Dug the dog
  • Dawna Bryant, Comprehensive Life Resources
  • Molly Nichols, Futurewise, tenant protections
  • Teona Kellley, Associated Ministries
  • Calvin Kennon Sr., Comprehensive Life Resources
  • Jake Fey, Representative from the 27th Legislative District
  • Joyce Stanford, Candidate for State House 26th Legislative District
  • Gerrit Nyland, Catholic Community Services