Meeting Information

Meeting Type
Friday Coalition Meeting
Friday, 3/2/2018
9:00 AM
11:00 AM
Phase 3 update, Tacoma Housing Authority, SOAR Overview, and updates
The Salvation Army Church


On occasion you all talk way too fast,
I record what I hear, or heard last;
and try as I might,
I don’t get it all right,
and clarifications, I prefer leaving unasked.

  • James Pogue, Comprehensive Life Resources
  • Lots of new faces here today – that is great.
  • Excited to have Michael Mirra talking about what they are working on
  • Puyallup – homeless response – CLR may be contracting to provide outreach services


Phase 3 Update

  • Colin DeForrest, City of Tacoma
  • Phase 3 – connecting folks to permanent housing - is very challenging.
  • Need to collaborate to solve homelessness
  • Putting out Request for Information (RFI) – request for information (RFI attached – ed.)
    • The RFI is to solicit what groups in the community suggest for implementing Phase 3 – permanent housing.
    • RFI is due on March 20th.
    • Just a request for ideas – not a formal bid to do work.
    • Focused on housing, but with other services that can make the housing successful.
  • Al – Suggest City advertise outside of the normal channels – website, advertising, places people will actually look
  • James – excited to get resources behind some of our ideas


Tacoma Housing Authority  -

  • Michael Mirra – Executive Director of the Tacoma Housing Authority,
  • Provide High quality housing to the people who need it
    • Real estate developers – Tacoma Housing Authority (THA) is the City of Tacoma’s largest landlord – 1,500 households rent from THA
    • Also Help nonprofits to develop and finance their housing – as a lender, with bonds, with land, sometimes as developer.  Sign long-term rent agreements using section 8 dollars.  Commercial lenders like the income string and the vouchers make the housing affordable.  Calls this a “shadow porforlio” composed of 1,000+ units.  Nonprofit partners are TRM, CCS, Mercy Housing, and others.
    • Main way THA helps is by paying landlords for a portion of the rent for folks - 4,000 households served.  Households are 20% Average Median Income – not enough to rent a studio.  Without this subsidy, folks would be homeless. 
    • World knows how to do rental assistance.   What is doesn’t know how to do – the hard work – is:
      • how to spend housing dollars to not just house someone, but, if they can work, to help them succeed as builders of assets – to become independent. 
      • How do you spend housing dollars to not just house someone, but to help the city as a whole to succeed equitable – to create a safe, vibrant, prosperous, and just City. 
    • Some Current Projects
      • 3 ½ acres on east side of Portland - Arlington Drive Youth Campus – 12 bed crisis residential center for 12-17 year olds.  Also building a 40-60 units of Permanent Supportive Housing  for 18-24 year olds. 
        • Pierce County is in 3rd decade of crisis.  Pierce County sends more kids to foster care than any county in Washington.  Many 12-17 year olds are unsafe.  Growing number of homeless 18-24 year olds.
        • Kids are not at home, not in jail, simply disappear into drug trafficking, sex trafficking, under the radar.
        • Community Youth Services will run the 12 bed crisis residential center.  90+ percent discharged after average of 10 days to safe housing.  Will serve 500-600 12-17 year olds.  Will be a major advance in this county. 
        • 40-60 apartments for homeless young adults and their children.  Permanent Supportive Housing – with option to leave with a voucher if they no longer need case management
          • Sited near medical clinic in Salishan housing development – many of these folks have acute care needs.
          • Also near First Creek Middle School, new eastside community center, and a new Bates Technical college eastside campus
        • This campus will give youth a second chance at success in life.
        • Breaking ground on the project in July, 2018
        • THA contributes land and money to build, real estate expertise to build, operating income through voucher, property expertise, warm welcome for the youth.
      • Money is being spent on projets linked to schools and colleges. 
        • Pay to house homeless students and families
        • Interested in education for 3 reasons
          • Educational success is an important part in mission
          • As real estate developers, need to have students succeeding to be future renters
          • School District has a claim on the help of the Tacoma Housing Authority.  Kids in deep poverty bring challenges to the school that are tough for teachers to overcome.
        • Seek ways to spend housing dollars to help kids achieve and succeed in school.
        • McCarver Elementary Program – case manager stationed at McCarver creates housed clients in McCarver who are engaged in the school and better able to learn
          • Trying to take this city wide.
          • Challenge is tough for folks to find housing near school – even with housing voucher. 
          • 3 options to solve the challenge
            • Parents must stick with voucher and their school – hope they can find housing by school
            • Expand to a cluster of schools – parents can choose schools as they find housing near one of the schools
            • Give up on school focused model and let parents scatter – give parents chance for more options, but scattered clients are more difficult to support
        • Homeless enrolled TCC student Project
          • Pilot 3 years ago with 47 students. 
          • 2 years of data show that this is successful.  Tracked 47 households – graduation rate, retention rates, and GPA.  67% success.  Of those 150 not enrolled who applied, only 16% were successful.
          • University of Wisconsin surveyed TCC students – 67% reported in 12 months prior they experienced housing instability, eviction for non payment of rent, couldn’t pay rent or utilities, moved out because couldn’t pay, or entered sharing housing to share expenses.  24% reported that they were literally homeless at some point in 12 month period– sleeping in a car, building, shelter or didn’t know where they would sleep that night. 
          • TCC Board of Trustees and THA board – plan was to collect 3 years of data ,but decided after 2 they had enough data to expand program.
          • Program to help TCC students who start studies in prison – most are moms reuniting with children – going to track them separately. 
          • TCC program has same challenges with the difficult Tacoma rental market
            • Can’t find housing in reasonable proximity to housing market. 
            • THA buying 47 unit and 45 unit apartment buildings near TCC, and bought 7 acres of property to build 300-500 units of housing with retail. 
            • Decide that only affordable housing in West Tacoma will be what THA builds or buys now. 
          • Question – McCarver area has many houses boarded – what could City of Tacoma or THA do with those houses in walking distance of McCarver.  Michael – there are probably bank owned properties- we do buy those up, city had a program to fund purchases like that would – it would be good to renew that program.
          • Rapid Rehousing Money.
            • Provide 1.3 million for Rapid Rehousing funds each year. 
            • Frustration  with THA waiting lists and lottery system.  Housing isn’t accessible – 3-4 year wait if you get lucky on the list, still wait once you get a voucher to find housing.
            • Rapid Rehousing makes dollars relevant.  Main metric is the success of Rapid Rehousing.  THA watches those number pretty carefully. 
  • Question – apartment complexes around TCC – earmarked for TCC homeless students?  Will people staying there end up homeless.  Michael – not going to displace anyone.  Some turnover units will be allocated to TCC students..  Bates and UWT need to look at program like the buy up around TCC too, because their students are going to have trouble finding housing near those schools as well.
  • Brian - How should we use Phase 3 money.?  Michael – asked city for 15 million to buy property before Tacoma real estate market makes things unaffordable.  If we could match that with other financing sources, could buy 45 million worth the property.  That would be a good investment now – it is a one-time chance before things become unaffordable.
  • Questions – I have worked to house VASH clients, Randall  Townsend client, one thing that happened a lot – find a place for folks to go to, but folks would  be turned away because of vouchers – Michael – Last night the Washington State Senate outlawed discrimination based on the source of income.  Source of income in defined as rental assistance vouchers.  This will be valuable, especially to find unlawful racial discrimination.  It outlaws discrimination against source of income, but not amount of income.  Landlords can still require particular income levels or credit rating.  Rental market is just too expensive, vacancy rate is too  low.  Forty percent of folks with vouchers can’t use their voucher because they can’t find a landlord willing to accept them.
  • Paul – What will happen – will there be isolated pockets with low income communities and high income communities, but no options for middle class.   Michael – prefer a mix of incomes in a building – for sake of diversity and to help subsidize programs.  However, many low income tax credits and housing trust funds allow only filling buildings with folks who are low income – not always an option to do mixed incomes.
  • Al – talk about your suggestion to the City?  Michael – City’s committed to funding an overnight shelter for 18-24 year olds and a drop in day center for 12-24 years olds.  Still looking for a spot for these things.  Beacon center at faucet and 13th has been a temporary overnight shelter – young folks can’t enter till late evening, and must leave by 6am.  Can’t change the inside of the center while it is being used as a senior center.  Community Youth Services is terminating their contract to run the program.  Sorry to see Community Youth Services going.  Need both a day and night shelter location and an agency to run it.  THA made a proposal to the City to take the senior programming at Beacon Center and move it to the People Center on MLK – where metro parks has a senior program underway.  That would leave the beacon center to be dedicated as an overnight youth shelter and day time drop in youth center.  Focusing on youth would allow the center to be remodeled.  That would be faster and cheaper than finding, buying, and fixing up a new location.  And, the neighborhood around the Beacon Center has accepted the youth shelter operating there already.  City has run into a lot of neighborhood opposition for other locations for the youth shelter.  Colin – City staff transitioning day center from temporary location where they lost their lease.  Community is embracing the overnight shelter.  No other updates.  Been spinning wheels on this, and it has been frustrating for all involved.  Al – this suggestion makes very good sense.  Another group is looking at using the Rite Aid (I spent way too much time trying to find out why they call it Rite Aid, and not Right Aid.  Came up dry.  Rite Aid sounds like a service to help you troubleshoot a ritual gone wrong; not sure what that has to do with pharmaceuticals  – ed.) building for a similar purpose – there is concern about zoning and the structural problems with the building.  Question - what can we do to assist this effort?  Michael – advocacy is important to  help the City puzzle it out and get a sense that the community is behind it.  – especially that youth homelessness in intolerable.  Chris – would be good to have the Rite Aid building folks work together with the Beacon Center Youth Shelter.  – James – we are working on that.    
  • Michael – handout information - we have a brochure describing THA, a double-sided page on mismatch between wages and rents, and a chart on THA’s initiatives helping newborns through youth aged 18-24 year old. 
  • Al – Not wanting to have competition between two youth centers.  Two centers are not a problem.  Lots of room to work all this out.  
  • James – want us to wrap around and  support every effort – we all work in the continuum together.  Try to communicate what we are doing so we aren’t duplicating and are supportive.  Colin – some time ago there were 2 groups – historically, when 2 groups competed, didn’t make progress.  Collaborative has appeal.
  • Theresa  - Any suggestions for how our group can be successful long term – how can we have impact together? – Michael – this coalition has 2 main contributions – advocacy – keeping the topic front and center in front of our City and County Councils.  Usually only see homelessness when it causes other folks problems.  This Coalition is situated to keep this focused.  Addressing homelessness is not just a cost, but also a cost savings.  We know what success looks like.  We can run shelters, Permanent Supportive Housing programs, Rapid Rehousing programs.  It is expensive, but It saves money in other systems like hospitals, courts, family welfare.  Problem is that when the City spends money on homelessness, it is savings for other agencies.  Need a unified spreadsheet (I love this “unified spreadsheet” phrase – I’m totally going to use it –ed)
  • Brian – Used to have a high utilizer program for folks that were using lots of ER services and such.  Colin – one community tracked top 50 high utilizers that used like $80 million in one year (studies show a typical homeless person, between hospitals stays, shelter stays and emergency services costs a community about $30k-40k per year, the most expensive around $100k per year – I must have misheard Colin on this. -ed).  Need to keep working to better serve these high utilizers.  Hard to get into ERs and other places to identify individuals.  We say a lot of the right things, but the follow through can be difficult. 
  • Al – One of the great things about this group – you all do the actual work on the line.  Talk to your bosses and CEOs and boards to take an active role in this lobbying work. 
  • James – there are lots of high utilizer meetings – the Tacoma Fire Department takes the lead in the City of Tacoma – Mike Newhouse specifically. 
  • Richard – We are across the street from the Arlington Crisis Residential Center that is going in – BDS did the initial discussion in the community, many pastors and organizations in the community were not aware of the meetings until well after they happened.  Not sure who to connect with to have a community conversation about how to be informed.  Michael – let me be the contact. 
  • James – 2 challenges were brought up –
    • how to use school housing vouchers
    • How to use City of Tacoma money



SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access and Recovery (SOAR) update

  • SOAR is a process that trains case managers to apply for Social security benefits for their clients.
  • First training cohort is today
  • 30 people in pierce county are certified – but last SOAR application was made back in 2015. 
  • SOAR model allows folks to go to the top of the list to be processed. 
  • Contact Dawna to learn how to do this -
  • SOAR – 1st time applications average 28 months from first denial to appeal to finally getting benefits.
  • With SOAR, 87% get accepted on first try and get funding within 100 days. 
  • Question - How long is the training? – approximately 20-25 hours on-line.  Dawna does follow up to the training. 
  • Every Social Secutiy office region has someone that receives the SOAR applications
  • With SOAR, often people get trained and don’t use the training. 
  • Meeting today at 1:30 on 1305 Tacoma Avenue – 3rd We have slots, want to make SOAR training work. 
  • SOAR trained case manager does work of the social security office – and it makes it all go faster. 
  • Dawna is tech support – anyone can get trained for free. 


Phase I Update

  • Byron – no updates 

Phase II Update

  • Chris – have some small good news – site council reborn – 7 residents are on the council .
  • James – have council come here- Chris -  I’ll arrange that.  

Listserv (it just kills me every time that I can’t add an e to the end of listserv –ed.)

  • e-mail chain – someone tried to send a secure message – cause lots of issues. 
  • Listserv still works great – got 2 folks in a motel in 2 days
  • Try to only provide answer to single person about a resource that isn’t yours.
  • Al - Saving message from the listserv – if we could indicate a positive result, that would be great.  

Employment Update

  • Hire 253 – clothers and haircuts – need list of folks who need that.  The big event is Tuesday, March 13th – 10-2.  News tribune will be here. Bring clients.  

Microhousing Update

  • starting a google doc listserve for folks on this group. 
  • Al- comment on tiny houses – tiny house construction must comply with building code. 
  • Tiny houses are different from temporary shelters like the pallet shelters at the phase 2 site. 


Good of the Order

  • Mitch – Sherri is amazing
  • Hire 253 – March 13th, 10am-2pm, Salvation Army Church (1110 S Puget Sound Ave, Tacoma WA 98405)
  • Carolyn Weisz– there is an opportunity to present on race and its intersection with homelessness at the 2018 Race and Pedagogy National Conference – info at
  • Patricia – reach out to folks that control property – to find a site for folks to stay in a tent city.  Proposed regulation changes are out of the Planning Commission and moving to the Council soon.  Tent City land needed – there are folks willing to help host the tent cities.  Have city funding and folks that can help make a tent city work – need location to place the tent city.
  • Tiegan – temporary Tent City ordinance – if folks want to apply to host a tent city, contact Tiegan,   

Coming Attractions

  • Next Meeting – Friday, March 9th, 9am-11am at the Salvation Army Church (1110 S Puget Sound Ave, Tacoma, WA  98405)
    • Tacoma Community College will present on their work with homeless students and other resources
    • Committee Work time


  • James Pogue, Comprehensive Life Resources
  • Kara Koehn, Northwest Integrated Health
  • William Rose, Northwest Integrated Health
  • Chris Martinez, representing different homeless populations in the community
  • Patricia Menzies, Tent City Tacoma, Take 2
  • Dawna Bryant, Comprehensive Life Resources
  • Robin Murillo, Recovery Foundation
  • Ruthie Johnson, Recovery Foundation
  • Daryl Jones, Recovery Foundation
  • LaPaige Bethey, Comprehensive Life Resources
  • Kalena Towle, Multicare
  • Alma Quinden, Multicare
  • Sheila Curry, Prosperity Wellness Center
  • Barbara Van Hise, Prosperity Wellness Center
  • Hae Man Song, Prosperity Wellness Center
  • Brian Wilson, Catholic Community Services
  • Byron Corzo, Tacoma Rescue Mission
  • Kacy Cross, Westcare Washingotn
  • Sherri Jensen, Sound Outreach
  • Mitch Austin, Comprehensive Life Resources
  • Joseph DEnton, Sound Outreach
  • Carolyn Weisz, University of Puget Sound
  • Paul Carlson, RI International, Evaluation Treatment Center
  • Sammi Iverson, Tacoma Public Schools
  • Felicia, Clover Park Technical College
  • Al Ratcliffe, Man of the World
  • Calvin Kennon, Comprehensive Life Resources
  • Emeline Pahulu, Employment Security Office
  • Gerrit Nyland, Catholic Community Services
  • Sarah Appling, Pierce County Human Services
  • Michael Mirra, Tacoma Housing Authority
  • Marian Snyder, Concerned Citizen
  • Kelsey Potter, Coordinated Care
  • Adrianne Adams BranCato, Coordinated Care
  • Charleen Fitzgerald, Coordinated Care
  • Theresa Power-Drutis, New Connections
  • Joseline, Metropolitan Development Council
  • Richard Berghammer, Fellowship Bible Church
  • Kayla Scrivner, Tacoma Pierce County Health Department
  • Paul Lakosky, Tacoma Needle Exchange
  • Chris Boitano, Catholic Community Services
  • Ka-Seen R. Collins, Metropolitan Development Council
  • Dru Gonia, The Salvation Army
  • Martha Sheppard, The Salvation Army
  • Brenda Obrien, Department of Social and Health Services
  • Drie Michelle, Divine Duality
  • Passia Abraham, Comprehensive Life Resources
  • Rainey Carlin, Comprehensive Life Resources
  • Tammy riles, Comprehensive Life Resources
  • Kelly Blucher, Goodwill
  • Heather Fahsholtz, Comprehensive Life Resources
  • Colin Forest, City of Tacoma
  • Tiegan Bradbury, City of Tacoma
  • Larry Seaquist, League of Women Voters