Meeting Information

Meeting Type
Friday Coalition Meeting
Friday, 4/13/2018
9:00 AM
11:00 AM
Sex Trafficking Response and Awareness Program, Betsy Ross House, and the coming Creating Homefullness Event.
The Salvation Army Church


  • James – glad everyone his here
  • Started this meeting in March of 2017 – so we’ve been active for over 1 year. 
  • If you aren’t getting e-mail regularly, they are coming, so let me know to put your name on the e-mail list ( )


Sex Trafficking Response

  • Ché (also goes by Rachael) Smith, The Sexual Assault Center of Pierce County -
  • Program History
    • Was the “Yes to Hope!” program – City of Tacoma funded.  Now rebranded to Sex Trafficking Response and Awareness Program, Tacoma, WA (STRAPWA)
    • Started in July of 2015 – served 23 clients that year with advocacy and case management.  In 2016 the program served 48 clients.
    • August 2016 – started to do more outreach and education – got an overwhelming amount of new clients.  
    • In 2017  the program served 79 clients – all with a single case manager.  60% of the clients were homeless or frequently on the run. 
  • Statistics
    • National Centers say that of the 1/7 runaway children will be sex trafficked.  A study has shown that within 48 hours of leaving home, 1 in 3 children would be approached by a sex trafficker.  Replicating that study in Seattle, it was every single time. (I’m a big fan of data, but this is pretty troubling –ed.) 
    • It is almost a given that homeless youth will have been approached by a sex trafficker,
    • These statistics don’t take into account survival sex.  Youth need food and shelter, and often exchange sex for necessities. 
  • The program provides wrap around services, including jobs, housing, education, therapy (the sexual assault clinical therapist is trained in how to deal with sex trafficking).  There is also a Community Therapist for meeting clients not in the office, but in the community.  This Community Therapist can take a phone call from a client in crisis and can “meet a Sherri’s) for some food and talk.  They also do “Walk Talk Therapy” where the client and therapist take a walk, which can create a better opportunity for openness . 
  • Ché moved from primary victim case manager and advocate to being the family and friend support advocate – provide support for families around housing, education and support.
  • This year’s national sex trafficking conference in Tacoma – coming up next month.  3 day conference. – May 22nd through the 24th.  Providers – law enforcement, judiciary, doctors, social workers, advocates – great line up of speakers (including a friend of mine, so it must be great… -ed).  Registration is pricey (around $300 –ed.), but if you can sign up with a group of 5, registration is only $150 for 3 days (with food).  Agencies can get a table too.  Full into at   
  • Have “Lets Face it walk” sexual assault and sexual violence walk (was walk a mile in her shoes).  Find out how to support that, contact Ché. (or hit the website at -ed.) 
  • Brian – when we visit sex trafficking camp – do you have a flyer we can leave if they won’t talk to us.  Ché– we have pamphlets and cards they can get from Ché. 
  • Drop in Center – Monday through Thursday, 8:30am-5pm and Friday by appointment (call 253-592-5728) .  The drop in Center is a place where clients can be safe, relax, watch videos, coloring books, have computer access to education an employment resources.  There are also harm reduction supplies, like male condoms, flavored and unflavored (I’m not sure why this specific detail was included, but I’m going to assume it was important –ed), dental dams, lubricants, and needle exchange is also available.  The drop in center is located at 101 E 26th street, suite 100, Tacoma, WA.  It is by by Almond Roca.
  • Question – Is there a mobile clinic service – CHÉ- still in the works.  The program also has new Memorandum of Understanding with the RAIN (Rise Above the Influence) gang reduction program.  A RISE staff member will be co-located at drop in center.  They do have a small grant to do a free mobile health clinic for homeless youth and sex trafficked individuals.  Will let folks know if that comes about.  (I don’t like the ”if” it that sentence.  the Connector in me wants to get everyone who can make this happen in a room and not let them out until it is a reality. If you haven’t read Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point - - he talks about Connectors, Mavens and salespeople – an interesting way to look at how a few key people can make big things happen.  Like most of Gladwell’s books, it is recommended reading – ed.)    
  • Provide Legal resources – clients often have criminal records associated with there time being trafficked.
  • Most clients have significant PTSD – coping mechanisms are often not very healthy.
  • Dru – comment – it is a really good program that a friend went through – now she is clean and has gotten custody of her daughter back and is doing great.  (applause).  Ché– philosophy is that people need someone to believe in them, someone to empower them to be deciders of their own future (Ché said more about this, and even though this was my favorite part of the presentation, I didn’t get it all down and beautifully as Ché said it. -ed.)
  • James – for our gang outreach and homeless outreach staff – they do great trauma informed training on sex trafficked youth.  For instance, they taught us that just suggesting to a client that they fill out a police report can be a traumatic experience for the client.  They are a great resources and a good community partner. Collaboration is deep commitment by involved agencies– we are each in each others centers, not just referring folks to different programs.  Partner agencies can really help our clients be successful.


Betsy Ross Home for Female Veterans

  • Kacy Cross – veteran navigator for Betsy Ross house,
  • Westcare – out of Las Vegas – provides transitional housing – safe and stable – modeled after Washington Department of Veteran Housing Transitional Housing Programs
  • On soldiers home campus ( ) – there are 12 rooms.
  • Mission:
    • Betsy Ross Hall for women Veterans is transitional housing designed to provide safe and stable housing for women veterans who are committed to returning to employment and/or independent living.  Betsy Ross is modeled after the WDVA Building 9 Transitional Housing Program.  This means that WestCare’s policies regarding admission, background checks, case management, reporting requirements, security, and all policies and procedures, will meet all federal and state requirements.
  • provides transitional housing, including:
    • 3 meals per day
    • Employment case management
    • Assistance with benefits
    • Common area for socialization
    • Laundry facilities on the main floor.
    • 12 rooms – 1 wheelchair accessible. Each room has a fridge and microwave.
    • Building is filled with artwork – can take any artwork they want when they leave the facility – and local artist will replace
  • Eligibility
    • Women who served in any branch
    • Honorable or general discharge
    • Must be Homeless
    • Clean and sober 30 days prior to entry
    • Want to live clean and sober
    • Want to become independent
    • Criminal background check (arson, sex offender not allowed). 
    • Come through the coordinated entry system
  • Admission
  • Questions- How long does it take to get in? Kacy - 3 days for a referral – get background check,
  • Brian – would you take bad conduct if related to military service?  Ray – yes
  • Coley – what is the background check checking for? – Ray - no criminal acts of violence, arson
  • Sherri – how long is the  transition period? Kacy – varies, but around 1 year
  • Program uses a Butterfly metaphor for the program – clients come as caterpillars – become butterflies – The butterfly tree on site represents this metaphor – you color a butterfly on the tree when they leave.
  • Goals and outcome
    • Best practices
    • Reduce barriers to individual’s stability
    • Establish sustainable community connections
    • Reduce dependency on pharmaceuticals
    • Empower to be advocates for self
    • Question – psychiatric meds, do you attempt to limit use of those?  Ester – many women are on meds – that doesn’t prevent them from coming to us.  We aren’t nurses, so if they have significant issues they will not be qualified.  Guy – clients need VA healthcare
    • Questions - Veteran are federal, is medical marijuana use OK?  Guy – the facility is on a drug and alcohol free campus – but will try to work with clients with a  green card – wouldn’t be a knock out factor.  Must be conscious that facility is government owned, though.
  • Rules
    • Campus is drug and alcohol free – all vets must remain clean and sober.  Do drug testing at entry and randomly during program.
    • If the client has a vehicle, you need valid insurance, registration and driver’s license.
    • All veterans are expected to pay 30% of income or the Housing and Urban Development Fair Market Rent, whichever is less.  If no income at entry, no fee, but when they get income, they will pay.  This helps clients establish rental history.
    • Smoke free campus – if smokers, have programs so they can quit smoking (I’m embarrassed to say my first thought was “Don’t drink, don’t smoke, what do you do?” )
    • Curfew – is 11pm – quiet hours from 11pm-6am.
    • After initial 30 days, can request a 72 hour pass.  Cannot use drug or alcohol on their pass.
  • Brian – must they be single?  Many women veterans have custody of children. Guy – only single mothers now, but we would like to incorporate single mothers in the future – perhaps add a child care facility.    
  • Patricia – pets allowed?  Kacy – must be service dogs.  Patricia – cats? Guy – no
  • James –Are you at capacity?  Is there a relapse process if folks don’t remain clean and sober? Guy – clients get a 2nd and 3rd, 4th, 5th There are12 apartments, so we generally have an opening.  4 folks transitioned out in the last 90 days.  Referrals all come through coordinated entry.
  • Ché– length of program?  Kacy - County says 1 year – depends on how long it takes to get their own goals met. 
  • Patricia – does the facility have a garden?  Guy – yes, huge garden – 170 acres on property – can even have a ½ acre per veteran if desired.  There is nursing home on campus -90 bed.  WDVA runs lots of programs there.  Lots of community engagement and activities.  But, this is a very rural environment.  With no transportation, that can be a challenge. 
  • Is there transportation support?  Answer - have a vehicle on order – run to VA and community errands.  Have nursing and medical on campus in case of an emergency.    
  • James – it is a beautiful campus – quiet and calm.  Catholic Community Services SSVF – can do outreach and Coordinated Entry for potential clients.  Brian – we can take veterans to detox any time they want to go. 
  • Larry - Ray Switzer – invented building 9 – built a new soldiers home from nothing .  Created a homeless veterans center, started with nothing, has 60 beds now.  Public doesn’t understand how many homeless vets there are – specifically young female veterans.
  • Some additional Information:


Facing Pierce County Homelessness: Creating HomeFULLness

  • Larry Seaquist, League of Women Voters,
  • Cynthia Stewart and I have worked with people across the County to see if we can contribute to where the county is going with the homeless crisis.
  • Saturday, April 28th, the Facing Pierce County Homelessness: Creating HomeFULLness. (sign up at )
  • Homelessness is increasing in Pierce County.  Goal last fall with all the partners was to have a strategy to house everyone that needs housing so we can begin to make those numbers go down.  Introducing 4 questions for folks to answer.  The questions ask, if you were in charge, what would you do to design a strategy that would begin to make homelessness in Pierce County go down. 
  • A strategy is not a hope or ambition, it is how you use the resources you have to overcome opposition to get something done.  We have some housing stock, but our real resource is the people in this room.
  • This is a growing crisis.  Not just literal homelessness, but the Superintendent of Public Instruction indicated that the Washington state total youth homeless count is at an all-time high for the 9th year in a row. (kind of an interesting website with more info on homelessness and public k-12 schools at -ed.)
  • I discovered footnote 12 – in the continuum of care 2012 agreement – between the City of Tacoma, Pierce County and the City of Lakewood.  The footnote states that, after 1 year of centralized intake, the overwhelming number of qualified prevention calls dwarfs the available resources, so Pierce County will no longer serve folks at risk of homelessness.  The goal was narrowed to Diversion and Rapid Rehousing, not Homeless Prevention.   Collective impact ideas are important to changing this decision. 
  • Prevention - Is it time to add prevention back?  We want housing first programs like Permanent Supportive Housing, Rapid Rehousing, etc.  But, it is clear we need a strategy to allow us to do prevention.  Is that appropriate?  Is it time to add that back?  How would we do that?
  • Data Driven - Set a goal, but how do you measure.  Gerrit generates data based on what is in coordinated entry.  However, no one can see day by day, hour by hour, what is happening.  We want to be able to respond to a dynamic need with a dynamic solution.  We need data that all of us can see, that the homeless can see.  We are all fascinated by Mark Zuckerberg and his congressional stuff.  Facebook can tell a woman she is pregnant before she knows it herself – based on her on-line behavior.  There are things we can do with data – we need to figure out how to better use our data. 
  • We need a Consortium to manage homeless response.  Earlier James mentioned coordination.  What you do here is remarkable.  But, you don’t touch the whole county.  We would like to get everyone coordinating like you.  Give your agencies more control to run things.  I would think that you all could collectively control the budgets, so that if you knew the goals and the data, you could adjust the resources to respond to current need.  Cynthia has proposed a new consortium or contract arrangement to move where everyone is engaged – not just the County and the City.  Non-profits and churches could be part of the collective.  We could have a consortium, agencies could sign up, and then have a voting right,
  • Neutralize opponents - Who really are the opponents.  The opponent isn’t that housing prices are going up – that is climate.  Maybe the opponents are the owners.  Who is it that is really opposed to the idea of reducing homelessness.  Who makes money because there are homeless people.  Identify those groups, so we have a strategy to block and counter or defuse their opposition. 
  • Brian – Landlords don’t want homelessness, they want money.  Regulatory change giving clients more rights is needed. Larry – we could Write a legislative agenda for next fall. 
  • Theresa – Larry, you have an amazingly concise way of framing a problem. 
  • Cynthia – want to add that part of the event on the 28th is to collect input from everyone.  When you register, you’ll get a feedback opportunity to respond to these 4 questions (listed below). 
  • Greg – on the opposition – don’t want to make opposition into enemies.  If they aren’t aligned with our work, we can too easily deaminize them.  Need to talk about problems, not persons.  Some of us do work from the goodness of our hearts.  A big part of opposition comes from ignorance.  Many folks have serious misconceptions about homelessness.  I didn’t realized barriers to independence without jumping in and learning.  If we can get the community there, it will be valuable.  I am doing everything I can to get the message out.  Need to get information out quickly along the different channels.  Larry – important not to turn someone nervous about homelessness into an enemy.  We do have enough hostility in the world. 
  • Richard – along those lines, working with Noah at TRM, working with their homelessness 101 projects where they education churches.  Larry - Having folks who are homeless advocate is powerful.
  • Larry – want to coalesce around a strategy to reduce the homeless count
  • James- this is a great opportunity to invite non-traditional partners (James word for opposition –ed.).  In Puyallup we looked for who are the most vocal complaints.  Then we went and met with them to walk through their concerns.  Listened to community concerns through a trauma informed process (just like with our clients).  Outcome was both groups understanding their challenges. 


Conversation about Tiki apartments

  • 1111 S. Highland – Tiki apartments – was purchased by seattle based investment company – increased rent, offered $900 move out fee.  60 units.  More details at and at   
  • Patricia Menzies –
  • Legislation about month-to-month lease requiring 60 day notice did not pass in Washington State legislature. 
  • May have one of the “sea crystal” moments.  New ordinance just passed the Tacoma City Council to change the municipal code to allow nonprofits and churches to host tent cities.  Need a 14 day notice, but it can happen fairly quickly.  People say to go slow because of the neighborhoods.  It has gone slow enough.  Tiki apartments people are panicking – it is right down the street from TCC.  Google map shows lots of space at TCC.  If we could push through emergency housing, work with folks at Tiki, work with TCC – move city’s 30 pallet shelters there.  It would prevent unsafe homelessness for folks without other resources at Tiki apartments.  The message is often that people need housing and jobs.  We need to reframe that as shelter and opportunity. 
  • A TCC site would not just serve the Tiki apartement folks losing their housein.  We could also move folks from the stability site out there to run the camp councils. 
  • I am pushing this alone – need a nonprofit to adopt Tent City Tacoma – so we could get funds.  Will have a table at the event on the 28th.  People offer help, but need someone to help me work to create a tent city Tacoma effort. 
  • Questions - How about the kmart on 6th ave as a plan B?  Patricia – there are a few plan B’s.  
  • There is a lot of need.
  • James – Patricia needs some energy behind this – any skill set can help this effort – not just folks that have housing backgrounds.  We want to support this effort.
  • Theresa – We just moved a woman from the Tiki apartments to another location.  There may be people for whom the shelters would be an improvement over where they are living, but for folks in the Tiki apartments, they are used to living in an apartment.  Would be great to find them apartments.
  • Patricia – I agree that these Tiki apartment folks do deserve a house or a room, but some folk will be unable to do that.  We might be able to serve these folks and bring visibility to this issue. 
  • James – this could be a pivot point.  We don’t benefit from this situation, but it may have a residual affect.
  • Question – We should add reducing background check costs to legislative agenda. 
  • Coley – Coordinated Entry – most of the folks who go through coordinated entry – have to be homeless.  Could we have programs that help people with prevention, instead of waiting until people are homeless.  Does anyone do Homeless prevention.
  • Gerrit – rambled about homeless prevention and how hard it is to do.  Agencies don’t like to run it, lots of chances for fraud.  Low number of families that ask for assistance will end up homeless, so past targeting of resources have made the programs tough to justify.
  • Ché– have some emergency funding – would have to qualify as clients – if you ask if someone trades sex for something, they qualify for services and we have some resources. 
  • Patricia – want to add to what Gerrit is saying about homeless prevention, sometimes landlords subsidize housing to keep people housed. 

Brian – people don’t realize their capacity to get money in an emergency – they often come up with a way to survive.


  • James - Waiting list for the stability site is like 90 deep.
  • Phase 2 – trying to raise money to pay for meals – donate for the SPARK race

Good of the Order

  • Went to the city council meeting – 2 changes to the ordinance – people can stay longer than the 6 months changed to 1 year.  Allowing sex offenders didn’t make it to the ordinance.  The innovative shelter team – presented it to the Council.  Sent it to the group.
  • May 23rd Fair housing center of Washington – new lunch - $25, not a fundraiser, great entertainment and keynote speaker – info at

Coming Attractions


  • Ché Smith, The Sexual Assault Center of Pierce County
  • Ester Ortiz, Westcare – Betsy Ross
  • Kacy Cross, Westcare – Betsy Ross
  • Paul Carlson, RI International
  • Andrea Talmadge, Westcare – WAServes
  • Ray Switzer, Westcare
  • Larry Seaquist, League of Women Voters
  • William Rose, NW Integrated Health
  • Patricia Menzies, Tent City Tacoma
  • Carolyn Weisz, University of Puget Sound
  • Carrie Ching, Molina Healthcare
  • Sheila Miraflor, Sound Outreach
  • Brian Wilson, Catholic Community Services
  • Byron Corzo, Tacoma Rescue Mission
  • Valentinya Germer, Community Youth Services
  • Dru Gonia, The Salvation Army
  • Samie Iverson, Tacoma Public Schools
  • Matthew Jorgensen, City of Tacoma
  • Nicole Brees, REACH
  • Caroline Belleci, Pierce County Human Services
  • Theresa Power-Drutis, New Connections
  • Matthew Feldbush, Comprehensive Life Resources
  • Cynthia Stewart, League of Women Voters
  • Shelby Drey, Comprehensive Life Resources
  • Brenda O’Brien, Department of Social and Health Services
  • Jeffry Steele, Sea Mar Behavioral Health
  • Earnest Aguilar, Department of Social and Health Services, Pierce North CSO
  • Calvin Kennon, Comprehensive Life Resources
  • Melissa Moss, Catholic Community Services
  • Sherri Jensen, Sound Outreach
  • Joseph Denton, Sound Outreach
  • Greg Walker, Valeo Vocation
  • Yolanda Brooks, Washington State Departments of Transportation
  • Chris Boitano, Catholic Community Services
  • Coley Wiley, Community Youth Services
  • Stephanie Wright, Adonai Counseling
  • Linda Older, MDC Veteran Services
  • Richard Berghammer, Fellowship Bible Church
  • Gerrit Nyland, Catholic Community Services
  • Someone from Love they Neighbor whose name I didn’t catch and didn’t sign in
  • Rebecca, UW Student
  • Brandon Chun, MDC
  • Luis D. Rivera Zayas, Tacoma Rescue Mission