Meeting Information

Meeting Type
Friday Coalition Meeting
Friday, 9/14/2018
9:00 AM
11:00 AM
Shelter Provider Panel
The Salvation Army Church


  • Kelley Blucher,  your emcee
  • Welcome and thanks so much for everyone coming


  • Shelter Panel (the Pierce County shelter handout is attached –ed)
  • The Panelists
    • Catholic Community Services - Nativity House – Single Male and Female Shelter - Melissa Moss -
    • Tacoma Rescue Mission – Single Male Shelter and Adams Street Family and Single Female Shelter -  Luis Rivera Zayas -
    • Tacoma Rescue Mission – Single Male Shelter - Lawrence Kinnaman -
    • Comprehensive Life Resources – Young Adult Shelter – Jake Nau -
    • Korean Womens Association – Domestic Violence Shelter – Stacia Vierra -
    • YWCA – Domestic Violence Shelter – Kristen Thomas -
    • Freezing Nights – Seasonal Adult Shelter – Mike Boisture -
    • Catholic Community Services - Stability Site – William Stinson -
    • Catholic Community Services - Stability Site – Faatima Lawrence -
  • Brief Shelter Descriptions
    • Nativity House Shelter – Melissa Moss – Nativity House providers day and overnight shelter – for clients 18 and over.  Any gender and any criminal history is welcome.  There are 117 male and 50 females beds.  We partner with Fransican and Multicare for a respite program.  We have case managers and peer counselors during the day, as well as a Mental Health Professional on site during weekdays.  We have an agency on site that does co-occurring disorder (mental health and substance use) treatment.  There is a total of 5 peer counselors and 7 case managers (for a total of 12 people.  You’re welcome.  –ed).  Breakfast and lunch for anyone who visits the day shelter, dinner for overnight guests only.  The shelters limits to 90 day stays, but if folks are working on housing stability and/or mental health, will extend their stay.  We often need to help get vulnerable folks focused.
    • Tacoma Rescue emergency and outreach services - Luis
      • Downtown Campus – mens campus, with beds for 139 male adults.  If it if the first time you have come to our door (or 5 years after last time you came), we will always give you shelter.  For others coming to the shelter, it is on a first come first serve basis.  Folks arrive after 3:30pm, with rollcall at 6:30.  Offer breakfast to guests, and lunch and dinner to anyone.  No felony discrimination.  No drug use or possession on campus.  3 rules: no violence, no drugs, don’t destroy the property (we are considering adding these as rules at my home. –ed.).  We work with you.  We are a 90 day shelter, but we tell guests they only have 30 days, with a 60 to 90 day extension possible.  We will go past 90 when folks are working with us.  During severe weather in Winter, we add 67 extra mats.  Daily, we have 4 case managers and a lead (that would be 5 – if you do the math, which I’ve again done for you.  So very helpful.  –ed).  After leaving shelter, clients can’t re-enter for 90 days. 
      • Adams street shelter – closed campus family shelter – 30 units.  By appointment only – call 253-383-4493 ext. 1500 to get an appointment.  There are lots of callers, so be persistent.  We do screen clients – only enrolling the most vulnerable.  Adams is on overflow all year – there are 38 permanent units – and we use about 40 cots in the grand room.  The waitlist is 30 to 45 days, again, by phone only. 
      • Lawrence – lead case manager at men’s shelter – we have 5 case managers – Marcus – veterans case manager in the vet room (10 bed vet room).  To enter the Vet room, you have to pass Urine Analysis (UA), as it is clean and sober facility.  This is also 90 days.  Ty – in morning – give bus passes to folks staying the shelter –if they are looking for work or going to DSHS and such.  John – does intakes with new clients.  Xavier – works with guys on extensions, and help guys get identification and birth certificates.  When employed, guests get sack lunch for 2 weeks and an orca card with $72 of transportation to and from work.  We work to remove all barriers we can.  All case managers are able to have Coordinated Entry Diversion Conversations.  All clients need Diversion Conversations to enter shelter.
    • Comprehensive Life Resources - Young Adult Shelter – Jake Nau – Current sited at the Beacon Senior Center – drop in programs run on weekdays from 4:30pm-9:00pm and 1pm-9pm on Saturday and Sunday.  They Assist clients ages 12-24.  We provide a meal every day (thanks to Tacoma Rescue Mission) at 5pm.  Provide some case management – have many community partners that come in and get referrals out to them.  Our shelter is also run out of the Beacon Center – opening at 9pm everyday 18 to 24 year olds.  Have capacity to 40 or up to 50 if needed.  Clients have to be out by 6:30am.  No barrier other than age.  Ask no drug use on facilities.  We work with lots of clients who are using drugs, so we have a harm reduction focus. 
    • Stacia Vierra – KWA – confidential domestic violence shelter in Tacoma.  Serve survivors actively fleeing a domestic partner violence.  Can be single women or women with children up to age 17.  Contact our 24 hour crisis line - (253) 359-0470 - staffed 24x7.  Always an advocate on site.  We are a smaller shelter, 7 rooms total with 19 beds.  Rooms are for mom+1 and  up to mom+4.  It is a 45 day stay that can extent up to 90 days.  If they need extra time finding a permanent housing solution can get more time.  Have a housing coordinator that works on the housing needs.  Also in the process of being deputized to do Coordinated Entry for shelter clients.  Eventual goal is to extend coordinated entry diversion conversations to non-shelter stayers fleeing domestic violence.  Also we don’t’ really have barrier that prevent entry  - but no substance on the property at the shelter – we do monitor safety of everyone.  Each client get own bedroom, but share bathroom.  Kitchen, dining area and playroom shared.  Have a legal advocate as well – for domestic violence protection orders, criminal cases, family law cases, etc.  Clients often have a lot of cases they are involved in.  We do one-on-one children advocacy.  Have a prevention coordinator hosting weekly meetings – looking to do more prevention workshops in the community.
    • Kristen Thomas – shelter program mangers – Domestic Violence Shelter for folks fleeing from current, intimate partner relationship.  No age or gender exclusion.  Have 23 units – have single units and larger - the largest and can take families up to 8 people.  All unit have own kitchen and bathrooms with a locking door.  90 day stay – first step is to call our 24x7 crisis line (253-383-2593) and do a phone screening.  Do a safety assessment and prioritize based on danger.  No urine analysis or drug testing to gain access to or remain in the program.  We understand those fleeing domestic violence have struggles with sobriety – connect with resources as desired.  Have other services in our admin building – legal services for help with domestic violence issues, a therapeutic children’s program, family therapist on staff that meet with community clients and shelter residents. 
    • Mick Boisture, Freeing Nights in city of Puyallup.  Started 15 years ago – take 18+ with a cap of 70 each night – only operate from November 1st to March 31st.  Go night to night for duration of stay.  Guests meet at New Hope Resource Center pickup site (414 Spring St., Puyallup, WA) – take them to a church 13-14 churches – different each night.  Sunday is shower night, and will have Monday night showers too.  It is an all-volunteer run program.  Have a person certified in de-escalation training – will train all volunteers.  Have a gentlemen’s agreement  with police department – they can bring clients to our sites.  Pick up around 6:30 and are at churches at 7pm, then back to new hope at 7am.  Housing resources are done at New Hope center.  Animals are a challenge - we’ll take any if they are safe.  Cages are on site at some locations and on the trailer if needed – if a dog barks they need to go to the kennel.  All belongings are dropped off at the pickup site and are put in storage.  90% of guests have bikes.  We put folks in the van – now have 2 vans and take them to the church.  Use the vans during the day to tke lots of folks to appointments.  Not a day shelter, though.  On Sundays and Mondays, if you give us a bag of clothes, you get it back cleaned in a week.  1 church has coupons to do laundry at a laundromat.  No medical provided – but have an agreement with Central Pierce Fire and Rescue – since not every call we make is an emergency – we can ask for medical checks on folks – and Emergency Medical Services will arrive with no bells and whistles – just quiet arrival to work with folks.  We do pickup folks that are not sober.  If folks are not safe for other guests, they will not go on the van – but mostly we take everyone.  But, no drugs or alcohol on the church properties – very strict on that.  Guest clean up churches, and we will fix things in 24 hours if churches are damaged.  Clients like freezing nights.  Crime goes down when freezing nights is active.  Police appreciate it. 
    • Stability Site – Catholic Community Services – William Stinson – Stability Site.  We have 60 tents in the large tent, and 20 pallet shelters.  Out of the 80+ folks, the residents elect 7 people as the Council.  One Council member is on the grievance committee.  We are a 24x7 program, staffed at all times. We are ages 18+, and any gender.  We do have 3 couples as well.  If one member of a couple leaves, the other member can stay.  There is no limit on stay duration.  As long as you follow the rules, you may stay.  Major Rules: no weapons, no drug use on the site (marijuana allowed in smoking area, alcohol allowed in your tent).  There are 4 case managers during weekdays.  Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served.  The Salvation Army comes twice daily with transportation.  The Stabiltiy Site entry process is through The Rescue Mission – which holds the waitlist.  When we have an opening, we contact the rescue mission and they let us who the next most vulnerable client on the waitlist is, and we work to bring them into the site.  There are no barriers to entry.  When the enter, they get storage, a new tent, and case managers then engage with the client.  Can have one or two pets, but must be on a leash.  On site laundry and showers.  Any donations are accepted, and we’re happy to give you a tour – just contact me. 
  • Questions for the Panel
    • Marybeth – would any of you allow safe parking for folks living in their cars?  Freezing Nights is looking into it – it is a nuisance for businesses in Puyallup.  But no one does that now.
    • Question – can you share if you have any open beds – if not, what is the waitlist.  What about storage, or do they need to get rid of their belongings
      • TRM single adult – have open beds – if they are new, they always get shelter that day.  Storage – belongings on the bed, and also have a property room for them, where they can check it in and out.  Storage room, can have 2 bags.  Next to bed, just 2 bags.  Work with folks to get their stuff in manageable sized bags.
      • Nativity House – waitlist is about 30 days – depending on men and women.  Get a 2’x2’ locker for belongings.  Can also store belongings next to and under bed.  Have an area in parking lot where stroller or carts can be stored. 
      • Adams Street – can store belongings in the room
      • Young Adult Shelter – never a waitlist, haven’t hit capacity yet.  Storage is a challenge – no storage available.  We are a homeless program that is essentially homeless, staying on the City’s couch at the Beacon Senior Center. 
      • KWA – no waitlist – only screen when we have an opening – currently at capacity.  Will screen when have an opening.  Everyone has their own room, so they can store them in their room – dressers, closets, desks.  Can’t store belongings after folks leave, though – can only store  a few days after exit.
      • YWCA – have a waitlist – only take highest danger using a lethality assessment.  Priority list is separated by unit size – separated by unit size, and work down priority list to do an intake.  All units are fully furnished – whatever they can fit in their unit is ok.  Can also help folks with  storage unit costs if they are fleeing domestic violence.  If folks have a complete house, can help out with storage for a couple months.  Questions - how long is the waitlist? – around 30 days, although depends on unit sizes.  We occasionally offer extensions to folks if they have a known exit date. 
      • Sherri – I’ve counted and we don’t have salvation army and Lasa – so we have about 650 beds.  I counted very few beds for women.  Domestic Violence is a leading cause for women going out onto the streets.  Many women on the streets.  Are the shelters fighting for more women beds? 
        • At Nativity House, we have 50 beds for women, and extra rooms in the back – but we are at capacity and have no way to expand.
        • Tacoma Rescue Mission single male – have single females at the Adams Street Shelter- that process is more rigorous.  We are at capacity for families. 
        • Freezing Nights – average about 35% women in the shelter.  Many women don’t want to come in.
        • NH and Stability Site – Nativity House can only have 50, but we’ve found that the waitlist for women is a lot less than for men.  In the summer, we occasionally have extra beds open for women –women will often stay with family and significant others. 
      • Patricia – Deputized for Diversion – what does that mean? 
        • Luis - that means they can have a coordinated entry conversation – the system to get them into housing.  They are blessed and officially trained to the conversations.
        • Melissa – we get specialized training and shadow experienced diversion specialists to makes sure the front door to the homeless system is properly offering diversion to clients.
      • Marcus – with the large number of chronically homeless – she just went down the number for us.  Why aren’t we looking at what happened at the stability site – Why do we just accept the population of the homeless people.  Why don’t we just challenge our electors to do something about this (Our Coaltition certainly works to engage elected –ed)
      • Al – a series of questions –
        • Immigration status – do you check?  All no – YWCA asks in  order to help with immigration issues and safety planning.  For the Coordinated Entry deputized shelters, it is asked at the Diversion Conversation Assessment (we actually ask if any family member is a legal resident – as some funding sources only serve households with at least one person in the country legally)
        • Are there beds for discharge from the hospital?  Nativity House –yes.  Freezing Nights and Salvation Army also provide this.
        • When you make a referral, do you follow up with the organization you referred them to? – Most said yes
          • It is easy to make a referral,  it is better to see that they received the services. 
          • Melissa – at Nativity House, we often have peers and Case Managers transport the client to their appointment to make sure it happens.
        • Stability Site – Shelter or campground?  Faatima – shelter
        • What is up with Puyallup? (I think this is going to be a standing question for quite some time…-ed)
      • Maureen – do you have interpreters – about ½
        • ADA access – about ½
        • What does your housing plan look like for a client?  What does that piece of paper look like? 
          • YWCA – have Coordinated Entry folks meet with our clients – every Friday.  We try to reduce barriers as much as we can.  The client works with Coordinated Entry on their housing plan.  Can help with client if they are filling out applications and such.
          • Nativity House – we have a whole screening and a Housing stability plan – identify goals and barriers and what the client defines success as, and help them with the tasks they need to do to get to success.  We update the plan with the client every month or wherever they are on their goals.
        • Maureen – building status?  Do you own them?
          • Freezing Nights - Our biggest costs is food – only about $6k per year.  Damage to churches about $8k per church. 
          • If I’m a single man, any time of the year, I can get a bed.  Anyone else, has to be inclement weather or on a waiting list.  I think we need to make a list of these really hard conversations like on Next Door, but the tenor of anti-homelessness is increasing by the day.  Jake – clients aged 18-24 years old,  there is always a place at the Young adult shelter.
          • Tacoma Rescue Mission - Lots of folks doing outreach, day-in and day-out.  We can only shelter those who want to come to shelter. 
        • Theresa – it would be great to have you all come down to problem  solve with us – if we could have a conversation at some point to talk about the challenges we see clients have with shelter.  Ben said that it isn’t a garbage issue, it is a storage issue.  I’m often picking up good blankets, good shoes, etc.  We should think about ways we can better deal with storage.  A lot of us are going to City Council  meetings and saying that we need to house folks.  If all of you  spoke as a group with the advocacy committee, it would be powerful.  Let’s frame this so it isn’t about garbage and human waste, and advocate as one. 
        • Lynn – for Nativity House and Tacoma Rescue Mission – would love a direct contact line.
        • Lynn – shout out to the women at the Y, and thanks to everyone.
        • Lynn – Adams – a lot of the places you have to be 18, if you have a mother with a young adult, is there a place they can go.  Had a parent with a child with a young adult.  KWA  has an age limit, but can do case by case.  YWCA has no age limit.
        • Sherri – referrals for respite beds, how do they work?  Nativity House – we have 15 respite beds that are paid for by Tacoma General and Saint Joseph’s Hospitals – and they fill the beds.  It is a 30 day program, hospital can extent.  Multicare and Franciscan control the beds.  Questions - Do all the folks working at the hospitals know about this resource?  Melissa – the front line staff all know the protocol, but they hospitals set the criteria.  We see the same thing, folks can just get dropped off with us too.  People have to be independent.  We are a place for folks to heal – but they have to be self-sufficient as well.  Faatima – if folks are not being referred to us from a hospital and could be, it is possible that all our respite beds were full.  There is a waitlist for folks at the hospital.  Sherri – do hospitals release folks who are injured?  Everyone – yes.  Luis – they drop them off in front of our shelter all the time.  Will write on paperwork “released to TRM”, but just dropped off in front of the shelter.  Glen – have sat in on many social work meetings at Multicare – we have a lot of folks in beds for months on the tax payer bill.  There are not healthy enough to put on the street.  The hospitals bought these beds to save money and to be humanitarian.  You need all the information from both sides and not just throw stones.  Dollars have to come from somewhere – the  hospitals came to the plate and bought the beds.  Comment - It is extremely inhumane for folks to get serves and sent out to the street. 
        • Patricia – I am sad that for the 6th year in a row we are heading into winter and we don’t have tent cities in Tacoma.  It used to be just non-profits that could host them, now lots of agencies can host tent cities.  There is a lot of work someone has to go through to setup a tent city.  The code is daunting and onerous.  Churches and nonprofits are not stepping up.  The city waived all kinds of stuff to setup the stability site.  We have a lot of energy in Police Sector 1.  They say you can only have 1 in each police sector.  Have to get one in sector 2, 3 and 4 before we can setup one 1 in sector one.  Why can’t we waive a bunch of these regulations so folks can be safe.  Call the City or your council person and let’s get some tent cities setup.  We need fenced sites for folks.     
        • Maureen – it is budget time with the City – they will vote by the end of October.  Is UPS in sector 1? (it is in Sector 2 –ed.)
        • Kelley – Hire253 event coming up – and employment being such a focus – is there a way for when we help people who are currently experiencing homeless, is there someplace we can store their things while they go to work for 2 weeks?  Can we find a means for storage? 
        • Kelley – I was at the House of Representatives – We have a web of shelters, Valeo, goodwill, if we can  start to do warm handoffs to help folks in shelter and with Valeo.
        • Comment -  MLK center used to do storage – a thought. 
        • Greg -  in my head there is a theme – we have a lot of people that are working really hard in their space to do good things.  There are some gaps and missing connections.  This group is working to connect people at one level.  How do we create better visibility across the system.  People aren’t sure what the next step is needed to help folks.  We need to get the right people in the room.  Let’s see if we can put a team from the medical community and social services community that can bring all perspectives together.  What to do with folks that don’t fit into the norm.  What do we do with storage.  Let’s figure out if we can get the right people in the room. 
        • Mary’s place is getting a lot of press right now – using vacant building on one or two year periods.  Luis - Government buildings – all has to be perfect.  Get fire codes waived yearly. 
        • Sarah – don’t forget about the Medicaid funding options – Amerigroup runs that – Gerrit – it is a challenging operation because of Amerigroup’s requirements. (Gerrit should have been more supportive – this is a great opportunity to put more resources into our community.  Bad Gerrit –ed.) Sarah – we have some ability to leverage county funding with the funding they are offering. 
        • A lot of shelter are involved in Phase II, does anyone know anything  about phase III.  Gerrit – talked about Phase II and mysteries of Phase III (and after the recent City Council Committee of the Whole, I’m not sure I’m any closer to understanding the current strategy – except that the Mayor did say we need to do more with Permanent Supportive Housing –ed.)

Good of the Order

  • Kelley - Just a reminder – HIRE 253 Posters – everyone should take one. 

Coming Attractions

  • September 28th – October 19th – Candidate Forums
  • October 26th – presentations on community resources for youth and young adults
  • November 2nd – It take 11 pounds of rhubarb leaves to kill you.  But what if it is only 10 pounds?  How at risk are you?  We ask the experts. 

Restaurant Review

Well - a supermarket review, actually.  I love ethnic supermarkets.  First off, they are usually pretty inexpensive – I do like getting a deal.  Second, they have unusual produce, which is always fun.  Figuring out what I’m buying and how I should cook it is an adventure I’m keen to have.  So often, the produce is not labeled, or is labeled in something other than English, which can be a bit daunting.  But, google translate and the internet in general can be your friend, and I can usually figure out what I’ve bought.  And third, shopping at an ethnic market it is a bit like travelling to a foreign country, but without the pricey airline ticket – I get the same joy of exploring someplace where things are just a little unexpected.  And while English is usually spoken by everyone working at an ethnic market, it isn’t the language you’ll hear as you walk around the store.  Pal-do World Market is one such place.  It is a Korean Market located at 9601 S Tacoma Way, Lakewood, WA  98499, in the heart of the Lakewood International District (or whatever that area is called).  While it is certainly a Korean Market (with an impressive selection of kimchee), it also has lots of the Japanese and Chinese staples you might be looking for.  With so many occupations and/or control of Korea by China and Japan over the centuries, Korean cuisine has adopted many of the elements of Chinese and Japanese cooking.  Those occupations were crappy if you were a Korean citizen 100 years ago, living under a brutal foreign rule (never google Mimizuka), but good if you are at Pal-do world and want to get supplies to make homemade sushi – because they’ll have everything you need.  Their produce section is huge, and has amazing deals (they had cantaloupes for 10 cents each when I was there once).  Their selection of dried fish is entrancing.  I always get a few experimental instant noodle dishes, and a few random sweets (chocolate covered watermelon cake should not be a thing) to take home and try.  It may not always be pleasing to my family’s palate, but good times are always had.  I also get a lot of fruits and vegetables.  They also have a great selection of Korean and Japanese pottery.  I love all the little square plates and cool bowls – great little gifts for yourself.  The building has a food court, which is worthy of its own post, and one of Tacoma’s great little bakeries – Boulangerie.  Boulangerie is the culinary product of imperialism in Asia, but this time it is the French leaving their stamp on the cuisine.  It is worth the stop in the bakery just for the cream puffs.  I also love their chocolate cream filled, chocolate covered cone thingies.  And they make good dinner rolls, too – perfect for mini ham sandwiches.  Anyway, pop in to Pal-do World with a sense of adventure, and come away with a shopping cart full of goodness for less than you think you should be paying.           


  • Richard Berghammer, Fellowship Bible Church
  • Melissa Moss, Catholic Community Services
  • Sarah Appling, Pierce County Human Services
  • Brandon Ault, Catholic Community Services
  • Lawrence Kinnaman, Tacoma Rescue Mission
  • Greg Walker, Valeo Vocation
  • Sherri Jensen, Valeo Vocation
  • John Smith, Tacoma Rescue Mission
  • Xavier Merdiola, Tacoma Rescue Mission
  • Luis Rivera Zayas, Tacoma Rescue Mission
  • Mike Boisture, Freezing Nights
  • Marybeth McCarthy, Tacoma Community College
  • Kelly Blucher, Goodwill
  • Kristen Thomas, YWCA Pierce County
  • Stacie Vierra, Korean Women’s Association
  • Maureen Howard, Housing Advocate
  • LaVada Kent-Napier, Puget Sound Citizens Housing Group
  • Mindy Kim, Catholic Community Services
  • William Stinson, Catholic Community Services
  • Brendan Baker, Veterans Administration
  • Larry Seaquist, League of Women Voters
  • Daniel Cross, Pierce County Human Services
  • Al Ratcliffe, Me
  • Lynn Jones, Catholic Community Services
  • Theresa Power-Drutis, New Connections
  • Jeria Smith, Department of Social and Health Services, Pierce North
  • Sheila Miraflor, HIRE253 Committee
  • Glen Kelley, Multicare
  • Kalena Towle, Multicare
  • Barbara Kaelberer, Advocate
  • Pamm Silver, Molina Healthcare
  • Carrie Ching, Molina Healthcare
  • Sarah Bellamy, Comprehensive Life Resources
  • Patricia Menzies, Tent City Tacoma
  • Emily Less, Tacoma Pierce County Health Department
  • Jake McKittrick, Catholic Community Services
  • Elaine Tuisila, Metropolitan Development Council
  • Tammy Riles, Comprehensive Life Resources
  • Audrey Oliver, Comprehensive Life Resources
  • Dawna Bryant, Comprehensive Life Resources
  • Jake Nau, Comprehensive Life Resources
  • Tiffany Orth, Comprehensive Life Resources
  • Bonnie Rico, Comprehensive Life Resources
  • LaPaige Butkey, Comprehensive Life Resources