Meeting Information

Meeting Type
Friday Coalition Meeting
Friday, 9/21/2018
9:00 AM
11:00 AM
Washington Student Achievement Council and Landlord Liaison Project
The Salvation Army Church


The Salvation Army Church


  • Washington Student Achievement Council -
  • Becky Thompson, Director of Student Financial Assistance - - 360-753-7840
  • Gray Sterling, Assistance Director on Policy and Planning - - 360-753-7633
  • Rachelle Sharpe, Deputy Executive Director - - 360-753-7872
  • We are Tacoma people, nice to have a short commute this morning
  • The Washington Student Achievement Council is a fairly new State agency.  We were created in 2012.  Larry Seaquist helped shape our mission and how we support students (Yay Larry –ed.)
  • A lot of our work is indirectly connected to your work – if education does indeed address many of the issues around homelessness (homelessness definitely impacts education - ,and most people agree that a lack of education impacts income and thus increase likelihood of homelessness.-ed) .
  • We have a Council – every sector of education is on the council – kindergarten through grade 12 schools, community colleges, private and 4 year Universities, and businesses. 
  • We have a variety of programs the Governor gives to us – and we sit on the council.
  • We set goals to assess the educational achievement level of students and set goals to meet standards
  • We have 110 employees, manage the State’s GET program ( ), savings programs, scholarships, College Access, and more
  • Our Attainment goals –
    • 100% of working age adults have a High school diploma or equivalent.  We are at 90.5%, and set our goal for 100%.  In Pierce County, we are at 91% attainment .
    • Post-secondary credential - Aiming for 75% - currently at 51% (including certificates and such).  Pierce County – Associates Degree or higher in Pierce County – 37% (county level data is not as granular, so the 37% isn’t the same data point at the 51%). 
    • Average Hourly wages go up with level of education.  Greater education, greater chance of family wage employment (at home I have a chart that shows level of education and average income on our fridge – hopefully my children are slowly absorbing that message every time they go to the fridge for a healthy, nutritious snack – or more realistically – hunting for the bowl of extra cookie dough I thought I had adequately hidden in the recesses of the upper shelf –ed.)
    • About 75% of jobs in Washington State require something beyond high school.  Our educational system is not producing enough credential workers to fill those jobs.  Thus, we are hiring folks from the outside the State.
    • Four challenges for post-secondary education:
      • Close opportunity Gaps-  in k-12 and for direct college enrollment and completion – for people of color and foster families
      • Support Regional Leaders – Tacoma is doing a lot with the Tacoma  College Access Network
      • Reconnect Adults- many did not complete high school or credentials they started
      • Provide affordable, high-quality pathways – address the financing gaps
    • Programs
      • College Bound Scholarship – only 3 states have this.  An early commitment in Middle School where the State will  cover costs of college, but student needs to commit to the classes.  Have signed up 300,000 students.  College Bound Students have a greater high school completion rate and a greater college enrollment rate.  Need to do more to support students.
        • Marybeth – if they are on a College Bound scholarship – can they be part time?  Yes – all the way down to 3 credits.  Can use the scholarships for 5 years after high school diploma.  If they lose the scholarship, there are still other possible funding sources.
      • 12th Year Campaign – need students to fill out Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  Only 50% of seniors fill out the FAFSAs; research shows you are more likely to go to college if you take that first step.  We are asking for budged to increase the number of folks filling out the FAFSA. (think it is so cool that the first word in FAFAS is free. –ed.). 
      • Tacoma Public schools has been one of the strongest school districts to get students signed up with  FAFSA.  Even so, 30% of students missed this opportunity.  College Bound has a clock ticking – no scholarship if you don’t enroll within a year of competing high school.  A lot of money is left on the table that would be provided by the State for college. 
      • For adults, we have no system to really engage with adults to talk to them about filling out the FAFSA or providing assistance in navigating the system or determining which program or career path to pursue, or what credentials to get.  We are in the process of building a program to do that.  We are building an interactive tool that will identify education programs and their barriers- like work, family, etc.  300,000 student have 1 year of college credit in Washington and have not completed their degree.
      • Financial Aid is provided by the State Need grant – 68,000 student get access to funds just by filling out FAFSA- the funds help cover tuition and school costs.  Our largest budget request is to fully fund this; the legislature is committed to that funding over the next 4 years – although we would like that sooner (Hopefully more education will lead to better punctuation – although the rather dodgy punctuation in this sentence is all my failure, I in no way blame the public education system for my incorrect and over use of the dash – I just can’t help myself. –ed.).  We would  like to better help families plan for this support – it is a bit of a lottery now, so not something you can count on for budget planning. 
      • Passport to College – created in 2007 – serves youth from the foster care system (one of our past foster kids is in her second year of college using this funding – I always figured she’d do well, but the support that programs like this provide make her path to success and self-sufficiency so much more probable.  Foster kids need every support they can get, and this solid program provides it in spades -ed). 
        • We sign up every foster youth, regardless of grade level, with the Children’s Administration. 
        • Servers about 400 student per year.
        • Not just scholarship – helps to offset costs.  Youth from care without parents to help them navigate the system – provides some funding for colleges to support, and some outreach services.  Also a program to help youth when they are struggling 
        • Program was expanded in last legislative session – to include apprenticeships as well as more traditional education. 
        • Also expanding to unaccompanied homeless youth that face similar challenges as foster youth.  Will be serving these youth next year. 
        • Anyone who  is considering a training or higher education program next year – do the FAFSA that opens in a couple weeks – and our systems will be well enough automated to identify the students eligible for this program. 
      • Larry – talk about homeless families and homeless kids – can you help connect a child to register for these program?  Response - one of the beauties of the automation with the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is we share data with schools when youth move into schools.  Foster and youth are mobile – but we track the student’s program application status.  Staff at a school where students move in can see through a portal who if the student is not signed up for college bound.  Can also see who hasn’t filled out the FAFSA.  The school can then get them enrolled. 
      • Question - the FAFSA is overwhelming – I can see why folks wouldn’t fil it out.  Rachelle – it is better than  it used to be – have some skip logic now. 
      • Question – our clients often don’t file.  Rachelle- we have resources and toolkits we can send to high school s and organizations to help families go through the FAFSA application process (yes, I know FAFSA has the word application in it already, but it just sounds right when I use it this way –ed.)
      • Marybeth – Metropolitan Development Council has a service that can help students with the FAFSA – MDC staff at any community college, at goodwill and at MDC can help families fill that information out.   Becky – With the passport to college expansion, you all have support services as well as the scholarship.  In the high school, those that are eligible can get assistance.  We are working on how we roll that out for the 19-20 academic year.  I’m interested in hearing about these other resources that can help students out.  How do we promote these other resources, and how do we work together. 
      • Question – when I went to TCC – filling out the FAFAS  was a barrier – I had trouble with information needed from my parents who I wasn’t in contact with.  Rachelle – a new process allows (my notes are a little puzzling here, I think the process allows youth who have no contact with parents to not have to enter parent information –ed.). 
      • Al – at what grade level do the most student drop out of college.  Do we have some way to reach students that drop out in the transition from middle school to high school, too?  Rachelle – the college bound program tries to reach out to youth in that transition.
      • Maureen – this is good, but the next real barrier is walking onto the campus.  In a recent example, support staff at Clover park were amazing, but a client only got support because they noticed advertisement for MDC.  Rachelle – we are looking at how our agencies can work together .  We don’t tell SNAP recipients that they are eligible for scholarship.  We can do data matches to do some targeted messaging to these folks so they know what they can access. 
      • Theresa – there is some ambiguity about the definition of homelessness.  Who do you serve?  Rachelle – definition includes unaccompanied youth whoe are couch surfing. 
      • Kelly – At Jason Lee – they say they have 100% sign up rate.  As a parent, we didn’t know about all of this.  To increase your rate, parents need more knowledge for the parents.  Rachelle - that is a budget request.  We have to use innovative tools to connect with parents and students before and after they sign up.  We don’t just follow the 7th grade year.  Instead, we look at everyone who may have become eligible during the year. 
      • Carrie – How is this program funded?  Rachelle – State general fund.  There is a lot of will to expand this funding.  College Bound is treated like an entitlement – no other program has that level of commitment – but even if it isn’t guaranteed, it is very well supported.


  • Landlord Liaison Program -
  • Alexis Eykel, Associated Ministries -
  • Joe Lewis, Associated Ministries -
  • Tony Lewis – Associated Ministries -
  • The Landlord Liaison project is a program that incentives property owners and managers to rent to the County funded Rapid Rehousing Case Mangers.  The goal is for more affordable rental units to be available to the Pierce County Homeless system.
  • The property owners and managers must agree to relax their screening criteria.  Many Rapid Rehousing clients are denied rental units because of a criminal record, evictions or poor credit.
  • We accept most any type of rental, including single family homes, mobile homes, manufactured homes, chicken coops, rooms, apartments – everything (OK, I snuck chicken coops in, but maybe if they can pass inspection…)
  • Risk Mitigation fund – cover repair costs to property owners for damages above and beyond the deposit.
  • Overall steps – once the landlord and property management company says yes to the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which includes relaxing the screening criteria, units are then made available to the project and are put them in the housing listing system.  From that system, RRH case managers can bring a client to select a unit.  We do an approval process and connect the client with the property partner. 
  • The process is:
    1. Client select property
    2. Service providers connects client with the property partner
    3. Application is presented (with the relaxed screening criteria)
    4. Client does a walk through
    5. Client Signs Lease
    6. Client moves in
  • If the landlord has issues, they can call a 24 hour hotline.  We do understand that the barriers to housing can resurface and cause issues for the landlord.  Landlord can contact us anytime.  We will call the case manager within the next business day to let them know what is happening.
  • We want to prevent evictions by being a link in the system. 
  • The Project can also put $1000 towards costs for both sides of the equation to negotiate issues between a tenant and a landlord. 
  • Incentives offered to landlords:
    • Quickly find tenants, so no need to advertise unit and get a reduction in the vacancy rate.
    • 24-hour exclusive support hotline
    • Access to Project risk mitigation funds
    • Access to resources, tools and education  - want stronger, better tenants and landlords.
    • Tenants with access to renter readiness classes and community resources
    • Per diem rate paid for vacant unit. 
  • Protections for property partners:
    • Goal is to resolve issues before they cause damage
    • Risk management funds cover up to $2,000 for single unit and $3,000 for a multi-bedroom. 
    • Funding for tenant issue resolution/formal mediation
    • Property Partners protected from losses from a vacant for up to 30 days
    • Advance Rental concession – up to $1,200 to meet income requirements.
    • If legal issues or eviction, will cover up to $1,000
    • Can do more for properties in the City of Tacoma.
  • Expectations of property partners:
    • They have access to state funding – we cover what the state doesn’t cover.  The state will provide $5,000, with $2,000-$3,000 from this Project for other coverages.  State funds once required that the landlord have a court case pending prior to getting access to funds – that is no longer necessary. 
  • Very proactive in working with property partners and service providers
  • RRH enrollments can last different time periods – the landlord protections last only as long as they are in the RRH program.   
  • LLP does not manage property.  We are looking at providing resources to get screenings done earlier.  The Project doesn’t do screening , shelter, housing , or rental assistance (although we have some flexible funds). 
  • Maureen – Thanks for bringing this today.  When you are negotiation with  a potential property partner, area there any restrictions on the leases.  Some leases are legal, but can have escalating rent clauses, which often won’t keep a low-income person housed.  Alexis – we are going for large property management companies – and we can’t have any control over their leases – it is completely up to them.
  • Baby Bear – are there any protections for property owners when squatters damage property –asking for a friend.  Alexis – no, the property owner has to be part of the program and the renter has to be a Rapid Rehousing Client.  If the renter was a Rapid Rehousing client who found the unit through the program, and the house was, say blown in, then it would be covered.  (it is possible I just made this question up. –ed)
  • Question – for property owners to become property partners – what awareness are you creating about this program?  Alexis – we do social media outreach, and we will go out and do a presentation for anyone.  We did just launch on Monday
  • Patricia – you are using apartments, houses?  Joe – will do rooms or single family homes, too.  Patricia – do you work with shared housing services?  It is a daunting application for someone to rent a room through that program.  Alexis – not everyone can afford a house – a room might be a good thing.  We have a listing database.  Shared Housing has a waitlist, so not a resource for housing folks right away. 
  • Al – you mentioned that the unit have to be inspected – how long does that take?  It can take from 2-5 days after the property is identified. 
  • Al – what is the difference between regular and relaxed screening?  Most screenings won’t allow credit under 600 or clients with evictions – relaxed screening allow that (I thought relaxed screenings were like a regular screening, but will open up around the thighs, providing extra room from the waist to the knee, with a the calf of the relaxed screen either widening towards the bottom or staying straight and coming down, depending on the brand of screening - perfect for both comfort and play. –ed.)
  • Al – do you serve youth under 18?  Alexis - yes we serve everybody. (I was going to be an insufferable know-it-all and tell you that Rapid Rehousing can’t serve unaccompanied minors, but then someone clarified the point and I lost my chance. These moments mean a lot to me - I wish you all wouldn’t ruin them by knowing what you are talking about.  –ed.  ).
  • Theresa – I’d recommend you make the criteria for the landlords – it is important to help screen and give good leases – it is not ok if it is predatory.  All landlords should agree on a single tool for – portable screening criteria.  Alexis - landlords can choose to use a common screening criteria or not.  Theresa – I’d recommend only working with landlords that use that.  Alexis – thank you very much.  RRH programs have funding for the screenings.  I hate slumlords.  I want to do a huge systems change, but we need the landlords right now, so can’t demand everything.  We will do what we can.
  • Question – do you work with people with criminal backgrounds.  Joe – we work with everyone.  I work with the property managers and work with them to adjust their screening criteria  - to show that we have resources – dollars – to repair any damages and cover vacant rental time.  Landlords are willing to work with us with relaxed screening because of those funding resources. 
  • Maureen – I’d like to follow up to your response. There are Housing Quality Standards (HQS) – I suggest you frame the other part of the programs going forward as a landlord code of conduct -  there are international precedents and you can find them in other states – someplace we can address some of these egregious activities. 
  • Landlords can’t discriminate against convicted sex offenders (I think this might be a bit more nuanced. –ed.)    
  • There are three funding sources for mitigation funding – the State mitigation fund – a new Pierce County mitigation risk funds – and a Tacoma risk mitigation fund.
  • James – is there an opportunity to help agencies without Rapid Rehousing programs to find willing landlords?  Alexis – Pierce County is our major funder, and we are only able to support Pierce County supported Rapid Rehousing programs. 
  • Joe – we do want you to come to us with the need so we can build a case for more folks to use our services, though. 
  • Marybeth – this funding is just to pay for damages and that is it?  Alexis – the pierce county risk mitigation fund – damages, mediation, vacancy loss, advance rental concessions – where we can help clients meet income eligibility by providing up to $100 per month towards participants’ rent for up to a year. 
  • Al – I’m curious if you’ve thought about working with the two housing authorities.  Alexis – we are partnering with them and working with them.  They have landlord liaisons as well. 
  • Sammy – This is incredible – I’m so excited about this and realize it is limited with just Rapid Rehousing – but it looks like this project has all the bells and whistles missing from the previous program.  Alexis – this program is a dream for me.
  • There are landlord liaison projects embedded in the Tacoma Housing Authority and the Pierce County Housing Authority.  Are you following their model?  Alexis – ours is unique.  The Housing Authority programs work with their own landlords.  We are looking to fill in the gaps and work together. 
  • Tony - This program is a bridge between case managers and landlords. 
  • James – the state’s risk mitigation fund is available to anyone with rent assistance.  Full info at  
  • Al – do you have measures of success?  Have you considered using the same indicators of success?  Alexis -  The other programs like ours are in Atlanta.  Our measures of success are 30 clients getting into housing through this program.  We have our own measurements of success.  Al - it would be good if all the Landlord Liaison programs had a similar measure of success. 
  • James – unit needs to be in Pierce County, but if you are a landlord or have a room to rent, you can contact the Landlord Liaison Program.
  • Launch party - October 18th -4-6pm save the date flyers.  – please RSVP

Good of the Order

  • Shout out to Comprehensive Life Resources on the Merkle work
  • Shout out to the Hire253 committee – great coverage on channel 13 – keep it going
  • The REACH ACT program is starting with mobile outreach on October 8th – with LGBT support, employment, housing, etc.  Donations to create care bags – socks, toiletries, snacks, hats glove, bottled water, ziplocs, etc -  we’d appreciate them.
  • Major victory for folks experiencing homelessness – the 9th district court ruled that all cities must provide someplace for homeless to sleep on public property when there is no shelter.  This Monday at 1pm at the 1st Christian church will explain this ruling and talk about how homeless providers can use this ruling to the benefit of our clients.  Al – there are adequate shelters available? Ted – No.  And a city must still treat homeless.  Maureen – any chance we can tape the event?  The presenter is really worth hearing.  Ted – we’ll see.
  • Theresa - Group working on inclusive development on the hilltop – I’m especially interested in the Youth side.  Come see me if you are interested in working on this.
  • Kelly - Hire253 is in 12 days – I want to welcome all of you to have a table for your resource at the event.  Please e-mail me by Tuesday (like 2 days ago, I’m thinking. –ed.) if you want a resource table
  • Rich - I met a friend from long ago at the Hilltop street fair, and he said he was in the Merkle – from him and me, thanks everyone who worked on that – he called me back a few days later in tears - he was so thankful for the extra time to get his things in order for the move he must make.
  • Al - We need a resource list. James – there are some resource lists, AM does one, 211 does one, but it constantly falters.  We are building a database and it will have some features to allow you to update it and manage your own information.  By the time we have our next opening in the agenda in October, we’ll be ready.  To do this work, we all need to work on it.
  • Patricia – met with a lot of folks at the City – friend you all met a couple weeks back, who is camping in my yard, asked how the last city meeting went.  When  I said it would be at least a few months, he was so depressed.  I understand how codes take so long, but this is an emergency, and we can just take some land, put up a fence, some storage, a porta-potty and we’d be set.  My friend has very little stuff.  If we are really in an emergency, let get busy.
  • Patricia – Also, I will be gone next week – I need some place for this client to go. 

Coming Attractions

  • October 5th – Probably a presentation and Committee Work groups
  • October 12th – State Legislative Districts 25 & 31 candidate forum
  • October 19th – State Legislative Districts 27 & 29 candidate forum
  • October 26th – Youth Panel – want to get them more involved and let us know what they are
  • November 2nd – Experts Panel – Is flossing you teeth in the shower a highly effective strategy to buffer an unpleasant task with a little luxury, or just another way we carelessly contribute to global warming.  Watch an atmospheric scientist and a dentist battle it out in this monumental match of wit and will power.

Restaurant Review

When it comes to restaurants, I’m a fan of looking at the whole package.  While it is nice to find utterly amazing food, a serene setting, and sweet memories all in one package, these are few and far between (but you can find them - if you’re ever in Ashland Oregon, grab some friends, a substantial wad of dough, make some reservations, and dart a few minutes out of town to have a meal at New Sammy’s Cowboy Bistro - – I still remember this one lamb dish from like 25 years ago – my wife’s aunt and I still talk about that merlot reduction sauce…).  Usually you’ll have to compromise on something.  While I do appreciate good food, it is usually the setting and the memories that draw me back to places - I’d rather not compromise on those.  One place with a good mix of all three is a little diner in West Seattle called the Luna Park café ( - 2918 SW Avalon Way, Seattle, WA  98126).  It is nearly under the West Seattle Bridge, and not a spot I probably would have stumbled across except for a roommate of my wife’s worked there in the early 90’s (I think her roommate’s family owned it or something).  Anyway, we started going there to see her friend, and have kept going over the years.  The café is a gem.  It is a classic diner, with a meld of 50’s pop nostalgia and hipster tendencies (before being a hipster place was, well, hip).  The place is decorated with memorabilia from the old amusement park on Alki beach from the 1900’s.  It has a 50’s jukebox with the original tableside wallboxes – where you can put a coin in and pick a song on the juke box from the comfort of your booth.  The food is better than you’d expect, with truly superb milkshakes.  Like, really, really good milkshakes.  Even the vegan milkshake is worth the calories.  I like their BLT, but I wander around the menu quite a bit.  Every menu option can be made a bit naughtier with some grilled onions or jalepenos or a fried egg (although I’ve never quite warmed up to the whole fried egg on a burger thing).  And Luna’s hipster edge has produced the best vegetarian and vegan menu options I’ve bumped into in a diner.  They do breakfast all day as well, but I’ve never tried it.  I typically hit Luna’s after a day in Seattle.  Often, when I’ve wandered through a museum or two, seen some friends, caught a ball game, or just been doing the downtown Seattle thing, I hit a point where I’m a bit peckish and all done with Seattle’s crowds.  If I have the car, I’ll set out south on 1st Ave or the Alaska Way Viaduct, pop onto the West Seattle Bridge, and bam, I’m out of the City and at the Luna Park Café.  Last time I was there I had a some friends from Japan on their first trip to the US (well, they’d been to Hawaii, but, like most of my Japanese friends, they consider Hawaii an extension of Japan).  After waiting in line a ridiculous time to get a coffee from the original Starbucks in the PikePlace market (apparently the line was a big part of the fun for Yoshi and Yuki), I thought they’d appreciate dinner in a diner.  I couldn’t have been more right.  It was exactly the way they thought an American diner should be.  I tried to explain that Luna’s food is rather above average, but they were too busy soaking the place in.  The wait staff at Luna Park really seem like they enjoy their work, and it gives the place a lovely glow – something worth coming back for time and time again.  Next time you’re exiting the Emerald City, you might consider a slight detour on your way home. 


  • James Pogue, Comprehensive Life Resources
  • Cynthia Steward, League of Women Voters
  • Larry Seaquist, League of Women Voters
  • Abiodun Faleke, Tacoma Rescue Mission
  • Nikki Hurley, Northwest Harvest
  • Baridilo Dube, Northwest Harvest
  • Dru Gonia, Tacoma Salvation Army
  • Carrie Ching, Molina Healthcare
  • Sarah Bellamy, Comprehensive Life Resources
  • Joseph Denton, Sound Outreach
  • William Terry, Reach
  • Darrell Rhodes, Reach
  • Rosemary Powers, New Connections
  • Sheila Miraflor, Hire253
  • Valentinya Germer, Comprehensive Life Resources
  • Lynn Jones, Catholic Community Services
  • Ted Brackman, Puyallup Homeless Coalition
  • Daniel Gross, Pierce County Human Services
  • Maureen Howard, Housing Advocate
  • Theresa Power-Drutis, New Connections
  • Gary Sterling, Washington Student Achievement Council
  • Rachelle Sharpe, Washington Student Achievement Council
  • Becky Thompson, Washington Student Achievement Council
  • Kim Morrison, Metropolitan Development Council
  • Sarah Appling, Pierce County Human Services
  • Stacey Cleveland, Tacoma Rescue Mission
  • Bria Zimmerman, Associated Ministries
  • Tony Lewis, Associated Ministries
  • Alexis Eykel, Associated Ministries
  • Charlie, Associated Mininstries
  • Joanne Iverson, Tacoma Community College
  • Carmen, Department of Social and Human Services
  • Audrey Goulart, Sex Trafficking Response and Awareness Program
  • Kelly Blucher, Goodwill
  • Richard Berghammer, Fellowship Bible Church
  • Al Ratcliffe, Me –
  • Bill Bruno, Catholic Community Services
  • Jessica Hall, Greater Lakes Mental Health
  • Bobby Ocasio, City of Tacoma
  • Marybeth McCarthy, Tacoma Community College
  • Brandon Ault, Catholic Community Serivces
  • Sammy Iverson, Tacoma Public Schools
  • Patricia Menzies, Tent City Tacoma
  • Kristen, YouthBuild Tacoma
  • Gerrit Nyland, Catholic Community Services
  • Martha Sheppard, Tacoma Salvation Army (although she left after 10 minutes, something about 50 volunteer all waiting for her...  –ed.)
  • Cristina Valera, Juvenile Rehabilitation
  • Lavada Kent-Napier, Puget Sound Concerned Citizens