Meeting Information

Meeting Type
Friday Coalition Meeting
Friday, 6/21/2019
9:00 AM
11:00 AM
Overview of the new ACT initiative, an update on The Coffee Oasis' progress on the new youth shelter, and some other exciting programs serving homeless youth and young adults.
The Salvation Army Church (1110 S Puget Sound Ave, Tacoma, WA 98405)


Anchor Communities Initiative

  • Valeri Knight, Pierce County Human Services -
  • 2018 – applied with A Way Home Washington ( ) – are one of 4 communities to receive
  • Goal is to end Youth Homelessness by 2022.
  • Creating a by-name list – of all youth at risk or experiencing homelessness
  • Create two teams – the Core Team and the Community Team
  • There are 17 school districts – each with their own Mckinney-Vento eligible students – and all will be added to the by-name list. (although that list may not be too long for some of the school districts – there are only 175 student total in the Carbonado School District, for instance. –ed.)
  • We’ve figuring out who all should be on the list.
  • Want a list of names from the foster care system – but that probably won’t happen. (we are so eager to protect privacy, that we often prevent needed services from getting to people in need.  There is an appropriate balance between privacy and collaboration, but some agencies work hard not to share data when it could save a life.  I could spend all day on this soap box… –ed).    
  • Need really good data. We had 595 on the list – that is a shocking number – still have around 600 people – and that is just the literally homeless in Pierce County – we still have to add McKinney-Vento homeless.  (If you’re not steeped in the lingo, Literally Homeless is a HUD definition for people in an emergency shelter, in their car, in a tent, or in a motel paid for by a charity.  McKinney-Vento homeless is HUD’s Literally Homeless, as well as folks doubled-up in someone else’s home, in a motel, campground, or some such temporary location –ed.). 
  • Looking for who needs to be at the table on the Core Team.
  • Needs
    • Shelter
      • Funding a Young Adult shelter to be named
    • Outreach for youth (under 18) and young adults (18-24) – different skillset
      • Funding outreach
    • Applied for youth homeless demonstration grant – tried 3 years in a row, and hoping this round we’ll have more services – like Rapid Rehousing, Permanent Supportive Housing, Transitional Housing/Rapid Rehousing Joint project – need all this for this population. There is no straight transitional housing for this population.
    • The Young Adult (18-24) shelter is at capacity nearly each night.
    • We want Young Adults in shelters with their peers, not the folks at the Tacoma Rescue Mission and Nativity House Shelter (I suspect Valeri said this in a more nuanced way – but this is what is in my notes…-ed.)
  • Al – will the outreach team hire 16 and 17 year olds? The funding is for an outreach team, no age requirements on who the organization hires.  Need to cover the entire county – not just Tacoma.  They need to be in Buckley and on the Key and in every school district. 
  • We now have an Anchor Communities Initiative staff member – Ben – who is helping coordinate with the school districts and foster system and working to cut through red tape and find where the barriers are.
  • Working on improving the Point in Time count for youth and young adults.
  • The goal is to prevent and end youth homelessness – to put a system in place to do that, that will be self-sustaining, - able to prevent youth homelessness.
  • We need to provide services to 3rd graders and their families before they become 17 year-olds experiencing homelessness.
  • Carolyn – how does the legal stuff work with the foster care system? Valeri – it is complicated – we are pushing why the boundaries exist and how we can work to address them.  We try to bring everyone into the room and have us all of us be accountable to fix the problems
  • Senate Bill 6560 from 2017-18 ( ) became law – no youth can be exited from any system to homelessness.
  • We are working to find the best solution for each youth. Need to listen to the youth so we can really solve the problem.
  • Maureen – are the apprenticeship programs and Community Colleges at the table with you? Or the business community, retail folks, service industry – we know those folks are there.  Valeri – we are putting them on the Community Team, not the Core Team.  The first Community meeting will have First lady Inslee, County executive, Mayors, etc.   
  • Tribes have a foster care program, but not an extended foster care system. Most youth exit to homelessness at the age of 18.  (info about this program at -ed.)
  • Martha – 600 children in homelessness – when you’re homeless for several different time as a youth, you get used to homelessness – it becomes normal for children.  That is dangerous for the future.  Valeri – need peers to help folks know that their norm doesn’t need to be that way.  Valeri – we will always have youth and young adults who have experienced homelessness regardless of everything we do.  We did get some feedback on the Coordinated Entry system – we can certainly do a better job of asking questions.
  • James – we ask if someone has been in an institution – no common agreement on what that means – is it foster care, transitional housing, prison, what? We can do better with questions like that.
  • Maureen – are you identifying state laws that need changing? Will you have anything for the coming 2020 session?  If we can identify things, let’s get on them early.  Valeri – we will work with A Way Home Washington, that is leading that part of the effort.  James – their person is putting a state legislative agenda through the 4 core teams in the different counties. 
  • In July or August, you’ll get an invitation for this Community Team meeting – we need your voices and who we aren’t serving well. We need your feedback on what we can do well.
  • Evangeline – what happens to youth with disabilities and no parents? There is nothing there for them.  Valeri – they are in every conversation – we don’t call out every population, but they are in the conversations. 
  • E-mail ( )and call me ( 253-798-6931 ) – I’m accessible. Also, contact Ben – he’s new and he’s here to help (I couldn’t find any contact info for Ben, but I suspect James or Valeri can connect you – ed.)
  • James – there are some confidentiality issues we need to work on. We’re trying to figure out how to connect within our current rules, as well as change the rules to better serve youth experiencing homelessness. 
  • James – we’ll come give updates every few months


Eviction Team Report Out

  • James - Most years I go to Brazil to see my wife’s family – they all speak Portuguese, so I take books to read. I took Evicted ( ), and was hidden under blankets and umbrellas reading the book, and got pumped about addressing evictions.  When I returned, I connected with Greta, and she was fully knowledge and versed in evictions..
  • We were asked by the City of Tacoma to use an existing grant to rehouse Tiki apartment tenants. This opened up a whole new program to engage evictions.  (Tiki is the first man – like Adam from Genesis – in the Maori Tradition. It is one of those words that always has a bit of an uncomfortable aspect to it – some element of arrogant cultural appropriation that we should probably pull out of circulation. But I have some Tiki torches on my deck, and I rather like them. Hypocrisy is one of my core skill sets. –ed)
  • When the Tiki apartments happened, we refocused on supporting the Tiki apartments.
    • There was lots of community engagement happening around the Tiki apartments
    • The apartments had lots of black mold and history of sex trafficking in the families.
    • After the evictions were announced, we had a lot of things happening at the site – lots of fires were lit on the property – lots of resentment and anger
    • A lot of folks weren’t out by the deadline – folks were living in poverty. Despite our assistance, many were still at the Tiki apartments.
    • Some bad things were happening - the contractors started doing asbestos abatement while there were still residents living there (asbestos is one of those things that makes me question a benevolent creator. Sort of like how the best farm land is always in a flood plain.  Whoever set that reality up is a little guilty of entrapment.  Asbestos is similar.  It is a soft and fluffy material that is fire resistant, insulates incredibly well – both heat and electricity - and resists corrosion.  And it is a naturally occurring mineral. Humans have been using it for 4,500 years.  What is there not to like?  It is a miracle material.  But, breath in the fibers, and it is with you forever.  And gives you cancer.  Mesothelioma is a cancer caused only by asbestos.  There are lots of other bad health outcomes associated with asbestos. Of course, we’ve known about the bad health effects for some 2,000 years, and yet it remains legal to use and can be found in dozens of modern products, so, at this point, the blame is really on us.  –ed.)                 
    • Most folks were at or around $770 per month income
    • We had success in asking property owners to match some financial commitment. We did get some financial support from the owner who purchased the property.  He initially wanted to remodel and raise the rents – eventually he built them as subsidized.  $600 or $900 was made available per unit – although you had to wait to have it until you gave the keys back, so it was a bit tough to use. 
    • There was a lot of media attention – newspaper and on TV – and the conditions these folks lived in. A GoFundMe account was created – Associated Ministries agreed to oversee the funds.  It was used to help benefit the tenants.  We used it for folks who needed things like medical equipment. 
    • The Tiki apartments did start a conversation about evictions, which was one positive thing that came from it.
    • The Tacoma Housing Authority opened a waitlist, giving priority to the past Tiki apartment residents. Eventually 5 were returned post-remodel to the Tiki apartments. 
    • A lot happened because of the change the property owner decided to do. Education is part of what we do. 
    • For one residents, they were evicted but work was done so the eviction did not go on record - Tacoma pro bono helped a good deal to make that happen
    • The Tiki apartment mass eviction was a catalyst to change the tenant rental code
    • There was a 95% success rate – 21 housed of the 22 we interacted with. It was a mix of case management and supportive services. 
    • There is no formal support for people facing eviction or homelessness. Doing this work is tough, because there is not a system in place.
    • Troubling dispersal rate of people of color out of the city.
  • Merkel Hotel on Pacific
    • We didn’t realize how “good we had it a Tiki”. We had an engaged on-site manager at the Tiki. 
    • No manager at the Merkle.
    • The conditions people were living in was terrible. Much higher percentage of people of color, and less media engagement, community ownership, or support
    • Worse success rate - 9 out of 12 were able to be housed – and we are still working with some of these folks
    • In the not too distant past, some 50% of people in cities were living in residential motels – they can be very affordable - $395 per month. These are not things we no longer have. (I think I might have gotten my facts wrong on this one, but that is what I wrote down – ed.)
    • Dean – a percussionist, remembers a different time at the Merkel, a community of folks struggling that came together and formed a community. It was sad to see this shatter and these people leave
    • When we were wrapping up, we ran into a situation where the management company misunderstood our engagement as a waiving of tenant rights – that the owner didn’t need to give due notice. There is a lot of education that needs to go into this.  At the Tiki, we had an engaged property manager that wanted good things.  We learned that we need to get involved with the property management.
  • Morgan motel – Residential motel
    • There is the tremendous advocacy that came from the Tiki – we had some policy changes we wanted.
    • With the Morgan motel, they had established tenancy, and the business owner then lost their business license.
    • Because of our Tiki experience, we were tapped to do this work.
    • We weren’t able to go in and establish who all was and wasn’t a tenant.
    • One person was paying $2,400 per month to live there. No program was there to support him.  He is paying a whole lot of money to live in a place where they are approximating assisted living. Some funding pays for some clean up.  This person has been struggling for some 20 years. 
    • We find folks that exist in shadow places where they cannot get services.
    • There is no system in place to protect someone like this. We did take one person to a psychiatric facility, where they still are. Often, there is no thing we can do to better serve them. 
  • Resident Action Project – a good group
    • Helps put a story into a one pager and sends the client to advocate.
  • This last year –
    • responded to 3 different situations.
    • A slumlord rents places as a tenant, and then sublets out to large number of people. We are trying to figure out how to help the folks who are living at one site.  The owner is terminating the relationship with the slumlord.  Trying to figure out if we can get support to serve these folks, who are paying rent, but may not be on the lease.  We are meeting with these folks, count sites and number of people, and work to relocate them.  Landlord is working well with us – on the right side of things.
    • 6 houses, with 8 people per house.
    • We have good trust from the residents.
    • We are asking for any feedback on how to engage this new problem with these homes with way too many people. One home allows sex offenders and those with critical felonies.  These folks have significant barriers to finding new places to live.
    • James – when Tiki hit a year ago – lots of energy – the Mayor, unions, lots of folks supporting it. Lots of media coverage.  Recent projects are the polar opposite – no funding and no energy. 
    • James – sense the ordinance “solved” the eviction problem. Only a few folks have benefited from this.  We still have so many folks who need assistance
    • We need deeper engagement on this issue – come and see us.
    • Two policy pushes –
      • Just cause eviction support
      • Communicating with the City about eviction support and times that would be useful
    • Joy – do you have folks that are vets? Greta – yes, in the Morgan.  Nathan –but he makes a lot.  Joy – we can work with that.  We were working with Brendan at the VA as well. 
    • Marybeth – mitigation fund – can you talk about that. Matthew – for the tenant relocation assistance program – for building being demolished, substantially rehabilitated, or a change in use, in the City of Tacoma, and the tenant earns under 50% Area Median Income, the landlord would give the packet and the 120 day notice, and they would apply to the city for the funds - $1k form landlord and $1k from the city.  If you qualify for food stamps or Medicaid, you are in the program.   Maureen – the state has a fund as well.
    • Maureen – things are changing so fast, how do we keep everyone informed about the changes. New changes go into  effect on July 20th.  From the tenant side, there are big changes.  There is no equivalent of a ChiQuata Elder to call for information in the County - outside of Tacoma.  There is no vehicle to capture the Morgan or these 6 homes that are coming up to get them off the market to secure them into the future.  Greta – we need to do a major education campaign – so tenant, landlords, management – all need to know new rules. 
    • Finding gaps – how those in Pierce County don’t have any assistance
    • James – The Coalition is not doing much – it is pretty much just these two case managers. If you want to support this work and want to get involved, as we look when subcommittees meet, join in.  We also want some money.   
    • Evangeline – what about those who have skills that no one is working with – there is a lot of people able to work.
    • James – people facing eviction have a minimal support structure.


The Coffee Oasis

  • Patrick Steele, Director of youth programs in Kitsap County, The Coffee Oasis -
  • I oversee two expansions, from Kitsap to Mason County and in Pierce County
  • I’ve been with the organization for 22 years – volunteered for 8 years, then launched the job training program, did case management for 12 years, and as director for last 3.
  • Have worked with homeless populations since age 19 after some lived experiences.
  • Let me tell you a little bit about ourselves
  • Martha – when are you opening? – Pat – no news to share
  • The Coffee Oasis has a 22 year history of serving homeless and at risk youth in Kitsap County. Services include:
    • Street outreach
    • Drop-in centers
    • Case management
    • Underage crisis intervention team
    • Something else I didn’t write down fast enough
    • Several housing program
      • Underage youth shelter
      • Supportive houses
    • Host homes program
  • Met with a group of moms that were concerned citizens that were seeking a model to come down into Pierce County, and they adopted us.
  • Bringing a 6-bed Department of Social and Human Services licensed shelter to pierce county – working with Tacoma to get a special use permit to expand that to 12 beds.
  • This Tuesday, I have the final Audit from the Department of Social and Human Services for our location. We have run the gamut around policies and procedures and structure – we’ve done client files, employee files, training expectations.  We are ready for the final audit.  Within 2 weeks we’ll have our license in hand. 
  • James and Gerrit will know immediately – we’ll let this group know right away.
  • We are also looking to bring a coffee house to our location – about 50% of our revenue comes from our coffee operations. (they make a good cup of coffee. –ed)
  • Another expectation – as an organization – we are already in a relationship with A Way Home America, Anchor Communities Initiative, and have received some funding from the Office of Homeless Youth out of Kitsap county. We’ve been in the State boardrooms for the conversation about state funding. 
  • Our Pierce County focus has been connecting with the community – meeting with The Rainbow Center, the Oasis Center, and many of you may have met Sid, the Youth Director for Pierce County – we are learning how to swim these waters.
  • We aren’t a solution, but another resource.
  • Currently as an organization in Pierce County, we have all staff hired and trained and ready to go. We’ve hired up a drop-in center team and case management teams.  We have a flurry of interview and conversations today about street outreach teams. 
  • Martha – can we assume the young people in your shelter will come from your street outreach teams? Pat - we work with a bunch of coordinated parties out of Kitsap county – a mix of youth and adult.  If we find individuals at certain locations, we are referred there to make connections
  • We run a mentoring program out of 9 schools, and are talking about what schools aren’t being served presently in Pierce County.
  • Meeting these last couple weeks with Remann Hall.
  • Unaccompanied youth can’t sign an Release of Information.
  • Beds are for youth aged 13-17.
  • Tiegan – you need permission for minors in the shelter – how does that work? Patrick – 13 year olds, can they do Coordinated Entry?  Gerrit – unaccompanied under 13 can be in HMIS, but deidentified – we can track information about serving them, but with no information that would identify them.    
  • Martha – when does the drop-in center open? Pat - 2 weeks after day center opens, we will open the drop-in center. 
  • Pat – should be opened by July 15th.
  • Al – You location is kind of remote from the center of action downtown. Martha – the price is good and on a bus line.  Al – transportation is an issues, but buses aren’t real regular.  When I went there, I noticed it was way out the tulies (interesting word, tulies. Or toolies. Or thules.  Seems there is little consensus on the word or the origins – but I like the story that is comes from the Latin for an area at the edge of the known world. In the case of the Romans, they meant the Shetland Islands.  But toolies/tulies/thules came to be used a little more generically as somewhere on the edge of nowhere. -ed).  There aren’t a lot of services in the south end, though.  What do you think your market for services will be in that area?  Pat – we’ll reach out to the two high schools in that area – to draw the youth in that area.  Also looking at transportation from other areas – how to go about that as an organization.  We’ve been raising funding for an in-house transportation voucher system.  We don’t want to limit access by not providing transportation. 
  • Bryan – Uber and Lyft have transportation grants opening soon.
  • Location – 64th and Alaska – behind Winco on 72nd.
  • Question – being faith based, what does that look like. Pat - If you want to question our specific flavor of faith-based – I’m happy to post our policies and procedures. 
  • Carolyn – impressive what you are going. You mentioned Remann hall – that the facility is under-utilized- how would that partnership work.  Pat – at the State and County level – there are unsecured Crisis Resiential Centers (CRCs) and secured Crisis Residential Centers – how to move individuals who have juvenile justices in the best settings, how to connect with them.  Not sure other groups doing things like that.  With the Becca bill going into effect, we lost our Crisis Residential Center about a decade ago, and I see the impact.  We are lobbing for an unsecure Crisis Residential Center off-site in Kitsap county.  It is folks with low barriers that could be housed off site instead of the in the juvenile justice system. 
  • James- excited about these programs. Looking, as we open our day center, to connect youth to the day center. 


City of Destiny Awards

  • Award made by a Jason Lee Middle School student
  • The coalition won for volunteer homeless organizations
  • It was a great event to encapsulate all the work we’ve done over the past couple years
  • Brandon Chun, thank you for your nomination.
  • Check it out on line -
  • Winning was a joint effort.

Good of the Order

  • Helping Hands for Veterans – - remodeling a large house in Puyallup for veterans – female, veterans.  Have 3 rooms ready, waiting on funding for 5 more.  We have openings for female vets, or immediate family members – spouse or older child of veteran.
  • Goodwill – GED classes – July 1st – no registration necessary. We have 2 classes so we can accommodate up to 40 people – 100% free.  Looking for GED or HS diploma, partnering with Cover Park and Workforce
  • Hire253 Comprehensive Summary is done – all the past 3 events.
  • Tacoma Community College – changes in housing program coming.
  • Jeremy – nice job Joy and Larry, for organizing the Gig Harbor folks – the Lake Bay Coalition started up
  • Jeremy – Gina with shared housing services – there is the red barn for youth (children’s home society), the Red Barn wasn’t going to be able to operate their services, and then shared housing services took over that program
  • For high utilizers in South King, the Muckleshoot tribe opened a new Medically Assisted Treatment program in Auburn –for use by the whole community
  • Red Cross would like to come and talk about what they can do – especially with resources in a snowmagedon like event – what other resources they can help with
    • Al – on facebook a post - in November the United Way will host a presentation on financing affordable housing – the CEO or LISC – Local Initiative Support Coordination – sign up for this at

Coming Attractions

  • July 12th – A conversation with the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance about our legislative priorities for the next year, and the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department will present on air quality and preparing for the wildfire and heat season.  The League of Women Voters will solicit input on the fall candidate forum plan
  • July 19th – A presentation by LASA on their Homeless Prevention work, as well as update from the Washington Tenants' Union and Tacoma Tenants Organizing Committee around tenant protections.  And, National Speaker Tristia Bauman will come and talk about her work at the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty.
  • July 26th – Some Employment topics - Skookum Contract Services - learn how to connect with an organization that provides people with disabilities employment in logistics and facilities management. Workforce Central and partners will provide information on their projects and initiatives. Valeo will also provide an update on their employment programs.
  • August 2nd – Is it significant that Avocado is twice as popular a boy’s name as it is a girl’s name? Question our panel of experts, absorb their decades of horticultural and onomastic knowledge, and form your own conclusion. 

Restaurant Review

If you ever watched the Northern Exposure TV show, you’re familiar with the Roslyn Café – the iconic mural on the side of the building is in the opening credits.  In the show, Roslyn Washington stands in for the fictional town of Cicely Alaska.  And if you’re in the town of Roslyn, the Roslyn Cafe (201 W Pennsylvania Ave, Roslyn, WA 98941 - ) is worth a stop. They do breakfast, lunch and dinner, but I’ve never had anything but breakfast there.  The biscuits and gravy alone are worth the two hour drive.  They use a locally produced sausage, and the biscuits are spot on.  Pretty much everything is made from scratch with fresh ingredients, and it shows.  I’m also a fan of their logger omelet – and their home fries are totally worth eating.  Their fusion huevos rancheros/chilaquiles is a little unorthodox, but if you are a fan of either dish, worth ordering.  They have quite a few vegetarian options, but the menu caters to the tastes of a coal mining town.  Well, ex-coal mining town – thankfully our nations appetite for coal has been diminishing, and the mines in Roslyn closed down in the 60’s.  After Northern Exposure came out, tourism injected some life into the decaying town.  But, after that frenzy, the town slowed down again.  However, things seem to be humming now, probably a byproduct of the appetites of visitors to the continually growing Suncadia resort a few miles out of town.  The café is pretty small – maybe a dozen tables – so if you are there at a busy time, you might end up waiting a bit.  If you’re dying to know more about Roslyn, the museum next door will give you a walk through the history.  The vast majority of my Roslyn Cafe meals have been post-backpacking.  Just follow the Salmon La Sac road out of Roslyn to some of the best hiking in Washington.  If you’re feeling ambitious, Spectacle Lake lives up to its name – although the 10 mile hike to the lake is a doozy, with most of the elevation in the last few miles.  But, you get an amazing alpine lake that isn’t typically inundated with hikers (although it is gaining popularity I hear).  Thorp Lake is a genuinely underappreciated gem – just over 5 miles round trip – and if you meet more than a few other hikers I’d be surprised. Both lakes offer great swimming – with Spectacle being a more bracing experience (last time I swam there my arms went numb), and Thorp being nearly perfect.  Not into hardcore hiking? - then pop up for the Roslyn Farmers Market – every Sunday from 10am-2pm during the summer.  In the winter, there are quite a few sno-parks in the area – so you can fuel up at the Roslyn café before heading out to watch the woods fill up with snow.