Meeting Information

Meeting Type
Friday Coalition Meeting
Friday, 5/10/2019
9:00 AM
11:00 AM
Sea Mar will present on the breadth of their programs, including healthcare for the homeless.
The Salvation Army Church (1110 S Puget Sound Ave, Tacoma, WA 98405)


  • Kelly Blucher, Goodwill
  • Happy Friday


Sea Mar Healthcare of the Homeless

  • Shennetta Smith,
  • Alina Flores,
  • Presentation is at
  • Sea Mar was originally created as a safe place for migrant workers
  • Sea Mar’s first location was in Seattle, second was in Marysville – thus it was named Sea Mar (I really thought there was some serious multilingual nautical theme going on with their name – especially knowing their origins were wanting to better serve the latinx community.  I told the Sea Mar name origins to everyone I met all day.  Me: “Sea Mar is named after Seattle and Marysville.”  Wife: ”No.”  Me: “Yes.”  Wife: “No.”  Me: “Oh Yes.”  I think she may have just been humoring me, but that is what makes marriages work. –ed.)
  • Sea Mar provides services across Western Washington
  • Sea Mar operates the Healthcare for the Homeless program
    • Homeless Case Management
    • Located at in the 11th Street Clinic (1307 S 11th St. Tacoma, WA 98405)
    • 500 showers a month – 2 showers available
    • 50 loads of laundry per month – 4 loads per day, but working on getting more capacity
    • Open Monday through Friday from 8am to 3:45pm
    • Homeless Care Manager – can help clients get scheduled in with doctors on site, or with other necessary medical personnel 
    • 11th street site has
      • Medical Professionals
      • Substance Abuse Counselor
      • Homeless Case Management
      • Dental
    • Help individuals who are needing access to medical and mental health.  We schedule clients with doctors for same day visits.  We can do scheduling on site or for providers across the whole network.
    • Help clients meet Short team goals – what we can do right then - clothes, food, shower
      • Clothing bank is up and operating – while they are selecting clothing, this is often is a good time to talk and interact with folks – a good chance to get them into services (kind of reminds me of Walk and Talk therapy or Movement Therapy.  There is some cool research – such as -- that shows many people are more at ease when not the focus of attention, and that therapy can be more productive for many when walking with a therapist.  My kids are always chattier when walking or driving somewhere. –ed.)
      • still working on the food bank
    • Long term goal
      • get them into housing
      • provide regimented care management (interesting choice of words – “regimented” – I usually hear much  more about laissez faire case management – ed.)
    • Case Manager role is to meet folks where they are.
    • Theresa – you guys are great – we bring you towels.  You might mention other folks with laundry – Tacoma  Rescue Mission provides laundry for anyone, and the Catholic Community Services Family Day Center provides laundry for families. 
    • Marybeth -  is it walk in – if someone wanted to talk about help, how would they access case management – can they call?  Yes, drop in or call the case managers at either  253-682-2185 or 253-682-2186.
    • question – how do you work on housing?  Shennetta – we do look for shelters, we call Nativity House or Tacoma Rescue Mission to connect them.   
    • Marybeth – behavioral health on 19th that just opened – is that Sea mar?  who to access?  Shen – Yes, that is Sea Mar.  You just walk in.  The have Mental Health and Chemical Dependency Services there.   They have orientation Monday through Friday.  Arriving before 12pm is the best time to  come in.
    • Do Substance Use  Counselors do assessment right way?  Shennetta – yes, they talk to them right then.  We have everything in one stop – Dental, Mental Health, Medical.  We understand transportation is a challenge for many folks, so try to consolidate it in one location as much  as possible. 
    • I – we do have bus passes –
    • Maureen – are you targeting single adults?  Shennetta – we work with everyone.  Our main population is single adults.  Most families go to Cushman for services – it is just the area we are in.
    • Kelly – do you have shoes?  Shennetta – we need shoe donations (Shennetta and Alina were wearing shoes, so I think this was about their clients… -ed)


Olympia Response – what another city is doing 

  • Larry Seaquist, League of Women Voters -
  • Larry’s presentation:  
  • Olympia is very conscious of the downtown chronic homeless.  There is a great deal of anger with the downtown store owners and people that use the downtown area.  As this anger is growing, the mayor responded with several things – raised taxes, a number of things too respond to the crisis.
  • The Mayor put together a homeless steering group, including folks experiencing homelessness – trying to think of things they can do.  They are running three community workshops – I went to the second of three.  It was a mix of angry people, citizens, providers, and people experiencing homelessness
  • Slides from the presentation: and
  • Started with a timeline of a long-term response to homelessness – and we learned more about what they are doing.  They are collecting information now, and by Fall, they are ready to roll out some actions.
  • They provided some data, but most of it is from the point in time count, which has its flaws (unless you like dramatic undercounts of people experiencing homelessness, then they are great –ed.)
  • They are trying to move to a 24x7 shelter system – they are trying to do some things downtown to respond to the homeless issue.  They have a crisis response group working with the police, some ambassadors, some cleanup work, peer navigators trying to make connections, working on secure stowage of belongings, putting out a walking patrol
  • Built out a mitigation site – standard tents and things.  Mayor indicated they are making progress. 
  • They are trying to do more tiny homes and emergency housing
  • What does Pierce County look like compared to Olympia? 
  • Priestess – the majority of the folks who are homeless do a lot of construction – want them to start building their own homes – many have trust issues.  The people are in their own world – we have to open up our world to the way they see them. 
  • Maureen – 25 years ago I was part of making recommendations about how the City of Olympia should respond to their first tent city.  We need to stop treating homelessness as an emergency, but rather as a piece of the fabric of society.  We work hard to look for a remedy, when it is an endemic issue. 


Exercise in considering other avenues to address homelessness

  • Data that Clayton Aldern with the County provided some time ago showed us that the speed and volume of housing through programs in the homeless system is increasing, but he showed us that homelessness is increasing more rapidly. 
  • We always want more money, but we are looking for some other ideas. (I don’t know, I’m kind of fond of more money for programs – ed.)
  • This will be a first brainstorming session. 
  • What else could we do – what services – if we could offer the homeless more direct services. 
    • Pay for housing for 6 months while they work on getting a job
    • Shennetta – a change of mind – we are trying to give them things they need – but they know what they need.  They need a safe place to disclose what they need.  Instead of going out one-on-one, if there was a place for them to have a voice of their own.  We are trying to aid them in what they feel like they.  “Conversational Outreach”
    • Community advisory councils – different communities have different needs
    • Carolyn Read – I think everyone has a right to have a safe place – focus on the choke points – enough shelters.  Pets often stop people from coming into shelter
    • Carolyn Read – it  appears to be very confusing – it all seems hard to navigate.  Not sure where to go for what.  Is there a way we can make storefronts for entry that aren’t confusing about where to go. 
    • Larry – is there a way we can evaluate ourselves on how we are doing.  Look at response self-evaluation
    • Kelly – 211 is a great resources
    • Brandon – I’m a big advocate for peers.  I did 10 ½ years of incarceration and meth use, and 9+ years in AA.  Was part of positive interactions, MCERT, responses to the negative impacts of homelessness.  Feel like we’re enabling folks.  I’d like to see a phased system – if people want change, move them into their different phases – with peers and case management.  People impacted by Substance Use and Mental Health, the more we enable them the more they are going to take.  If we had a location where people ran their own place.  I get nervous – so I never say what they want to say – they need a location that is a safe spot. 
    • Carrie Ching – I understand where you are coming from, at the stability site, but we should be able to find some best practices.  Are you thinking that when someone is ready on the street, that they would work.  I think we could form some best practices
    • Theresa – we need to be certain that people’s needs are met.  When people make poor choices, that isn’t the same as enabling.  We need some clear paths for people who are doing well to get an extra leg up. 
    • Theresa – I’d love to have a day where we go through the list on who is doing what – and feed it into the resource guide. 
    • Maureen – the worst thing you could do is give me a blank piece of paper.  What strikes me is that the hardest jobs are the front line outreach jobs.  We need to figure out how to better invest in our front line staff.  Part of it is information to clients, so they aren’t making 45 phone calls.  Some is about how we can challenge our assumptions.  How many knew about medially assisted treatment 6 years ago.  New services come on line and it is hard to always know about them.  A question is how can we invest in our staff. 
      • Larry – I’m always interested in how we can better do that.
    • CC - we lose people who don’t have all their paperwork.  At Randall Townsend, everyone who is in process working on their paperwork can show up at set times and know someone is there – and can always go there to turn in paperwork, to have a cup of coffee, and that has helped us a lot.  That is a simple thing that helps us a lot.
    • CC – I’m in MH recovery, and if someone stopped providing services because the thought they were enabling me, I’d be dead.  I needed shelter and clothing, and once I was stable enough to think straight, then it was 100% my responsibility.  People need to be honored for where they are, and we’ll help the people who are ready, and help the folks working on getting ready to get ready.
    • Pamm – on the Daily Meaningful Activitiy committee, we work on how to help folks that need housing to  get housed.  We are working on developing trust.  We are working to build trust so we can help
    • Pamm – bad homeless problem in Vancouver BC – city bought a couple apartments for the folks experiencing homeless, where folks can stay who are homeless. 
    • Patty – best training I’ve gone through – we want to see people succeed.  The Trauma informed care was life changing.  Basically everhone who is homeless has experienced trauma.  Larry – trauma informed care would be valuable for
    • Kelly – require financial education – make mandatory.  How could we get smaller organization equipped to do this work.  We can push this out into the community
    • Don – Everything I’ve heard is good.  We do jobs, I’m at the mission 4 or 5 days a week – we have wraparound programs – everything is about partnerships.  When we partner up we are strong, very strong.  If we aren’t there to meet us on the grounds, they aren’t there to meet us where we are.  I’m always on site, whether it is with the gangs or what. 
    • Larry – what about prevention –
      • Molina - I work with children – I can look at the kiddos that come across our caseload, ,I can see kids where things are not going to go good.  I see kids where they have no one in the world.  These kids are going to be on drugs and homeless.  We need to look at it differently – each of these are complicated issues.  We need ways to help kids in crisis and support families.
      • Katie – just returned to the Veterans Administration, was managing a Behavioral Health crisis program for teens – these kids often have no options.  We need a lot more money.  We have the services, just not enough  of them.  Many people are not capable of getting to a place where they are able to help themselves.  We need money and financial investments.  We are not investing in these systems. 
      • Seniors – have some special needs, it seems there is always another senior getting kicked out of their house. 
    • What could we do radically different so we had no one unhoused. 
    • Gerrit – do your research – that data is all out there about why we do what we do, and best practices for many of the situations you are describing.  (It was killing me not to jump in with research to bolster or challenge so many of the point brought up… -ed.)


Tacoma Rescue Mission shelter bed expansion

  • Luis Rivera Zayas – Tacoma Rescue Mission -
  • We are increasing capacity at the Downtown campus
    • Only adults – not families.  Working on a facility primarily serving women. 
    • Laundry service – with our expansion. We will increase our laundry facilities by a factor of 4 – available for anyone experiencing homelessness.
    • Groundbreaking on the expansion in June
    • Theresa - What about all the ground being unsound in that area? (a newspaper article about this from 4 years ago - The other building did have some settling – but no settling over last few years. 
    • If you are remodeling your warehouse for this shelter, where will you store things?  Luis- we are looking for a location for our donation center.   


Legislative Update

  • Go look at the 3 minute elevator speech about the TRM shelter expansion (I’m not sure, but I think this might be what Maureen was talking about - )
  • Property Tax exemption – project went from 12 year exemption to an 8 year exemption. 
  • Nothing in the affordable housing action strategy with a policy for city owned land.  The City Manager said numerous teams are working on the affordable action strategy. 
    • Don – they are looking at property down south – away from services. 
  • Linda Stewart – Director of Human Services, welcomes all partners who want to bring project ideas
  • The $1.6M – I didn’t know how you all felt about 50 more emergency shelter beds, but I spoke in support
  • 2 huge things came out of the state legislature –
    • 5600 – tenant rights bill – Washington Low Income Housing Alliance will have a webinar on it.
    • 1406 – City and county can withhold a state sales tax as long as they’ve passed  tax for affordable housing or the .1% sales tax for mental health.  The money every local jurisdiction will have available to it.  We could see the possibility of local jurisdictions better addressing their homeless problems in their own communities. 
      • Every jurisdiction needs a homeless plan and action strategy.  We could identify a key person in each jurisdiction that could help make a plan.  They have till December to take advantage of the funding – it just needs a vote of the local housing authority.  Will have webinar on how to organize.
    • If you want the breakdown of where the homeless dollars are going, I  can send that to you.
    • Local housing consortium is having a learning lunch on on May 21st, 2019 at 11:30 at Habitat for Humanity (info at ).    
    • Maureen- there is plenty of research – many national groups put out fact sheets – I’ll get you all the link.  National Low Income Housing Coalition ( ) – they have a campaign with 4 sectors – education and housing, health and housing, race and housing, economic mobility and housing. 
    • Thank you all
    • Maureen - 12 years to 8 years, do write to let your representatives know your preferences.

Good of the Order

Larry – putting together an event on 28th May on homelessness on Key and in Gig Harbor

Coming Attractions

  • May 24th, Washington Low Income Housing Alliance – legislative round up and a look to next session
  • May 31st, Are English muffin slicers just too lazy to slice all the way through the muffin, or is there some higher purpose a partially sliced muffin serves?  Of panel of bakers, knife makers, and representatives from the American Eggs Benedict Society discuss the history, present and future of this breakfast staple.     
  • June 7th, Oh boy, I need to get some presenters lined up… 
  • June 14th, City of Destiny Awards – bask in the glory of the Coalition’s recognition

Restaurant Review

Mother’s Day had me thinking about destination restaurants, and I have a bit of a soft spot for Falls Terrace down in Olympia (well, in Tumwater, technically - 106 Deschutes Way SW

Tumwater, WA 98501 - ).  Like all view restaurants, you pay a bit of a premium for the location.  But what a location, perched above Tumwater Falls Park, with a great view of them falls.  As a kid, we occasionally met my Grandparents here for a Sunday dinner.  Being the squirmy child I was, I’d make nice and chat with my grandparents until the orders were taken, then my brother and I would scamper away and wander the park until my mom texted me that the food arrived (OK, that part didn’t happen – my digital watch was the pinnacle of personal tech back then.  So you’d have to time it right – too long in the park, and you’d arrive to cranky parents and cold food. But too soon, and you’d be sitting there bored in your seat when you could have been exploring the Deschutes River…).  Food is standard northwest-nice-restaurant-with-a -view fare, with the prices you’d expect.  The sort of place you take Grandma to and hope she foots the bill.  If you’re doing dinner, stick with the classics – like the New York Steak or the Halibut Olympia (topped with crab and shrimp), and you’ll be happy.  The salads are worth it, too.  They have just a couple vegetarian options (not too exciting), and pretty much the whole menu is gluten free.  And you can do worse than just drop in for cocktails after an afternoon walk in the park - maybe go for the Crab and Artichoke dip, recommended, perhaps chased down with fall signature salad and a cup of chowder.  Good livin’ that.  They have sandwiches on the lunch menu, but I’ve never tried them – appetizers is how I roll.  The bar has deck seating, which is lovely when the weather gods are smiling upon you.  Service is pretty solid – I’ve had good service all the way up to excellent.  As the years have gone by, I’ve run out of grandmothers to bring here.  But I’ve brought my kids, and sent them all off to wander while I chatted with their grandparents – nothin’ wrong with a bit of tradition.


  • Larry Seaquist, League of Women Voters
  • Roxanne Simons, Safe Streets Campaign
  • Carrie Ching, Molina Healthcare
  • Noelle Hoori, Molina Healthcare
  • Pamm Silver, Molina Healthcare
  • Olivia Sullivan, Federal Way Mirror Newspaper
  • Haley Donwerth, Federal Way Mirror Newspaper
  • Charleen Fitzgerald, Coordinated Care
  • CC Mendoza, Metropolitan Development Council
  • Bryan Green, Olive Crest and Safe Families for Children
  • Sid Sandstrom, The Coffee Oasis
  • Theresa Power-Drutis, New Connections
  • Katie Evans, Veterans Administration
  • Carolyn Read, St. Leo’s Parish
  • Maureen Howard, Housing Advocate
  • Jayme Hill, Catholic Community Services
  • Daryl D. Dangs, Agnus Dei Lutheran, Gig Harbor
  • Matthew Jorgensen, City of Tacoma
  • Marybeth McCarthy, Tacoma Community College
  • Kevin Glasel, Tacoma Community College
  • Don Sheppard, Tacoma Salvation Army
  • Shirley Carstens, Pierce County Medical Reserve Corp
  • Janet Runbeck, Pierce County Medical Reserve Corp
  • Patty Schneider, Catholic Community Services
  • Shennetta Smith, Sea Mar
  • Alina Flores, Sea Mar
  • Evangeline, Priestess and Pastor, want to figure out what I can do for Tacoma
  • Haili Crow, Tacoma Rescue Mission
  • Andrea Sanz, Tacoma Rescue Mission
  • Luis Tacoma Rescue Mission
  • Don Sheppard, Salvation  Army
  • Carolyn Read, St. Leo’s volunteer
  • Donald Pitchford, House of Prayer Foundation