Meeting Information

Meeting Type
Friday Coalition Meeting
Friday, 6/14/2019
9:00 AM
11:00 AM
Safe Families for children - an overview of their temporary hosting for children in households in crisis.
The Salvation Army Church (1110 S Puget Sound Ave, Tacoma, WA 98405)


  • James Pogue, Comprehensive Life Resources
  • - info on the groups that attend – agendas, past presentation, access to our listserv. 
  • - resource database – please share that and use it.  The goal is to make it as big of a network as possible. 
  • If there is a topic or training you’d like – let Gerrit ( ) know and he’ll get is scheduled.


Safe Families for Children -

  • Bryan Green – Olive Crest -
  • We serve most of western Washington. 
  • Safe Families for children
  • Video – (I looked for the video on-line, but couldn’t find it.  I do have some really inadequate minutes from the video, though… -ed)
    • Gal in crisis – looked like she would lose her children
    • Host – welcomed the child into the home
    • Gal felt guilty that people wanted to help.  Gal: “they didn’t just help my children – they listened and didn’t judge me.  I felt comfortable, not anxious or scared.”.
    • Host ”We are commanded to love our neighbors - that means all people everywhere” (even if you aren’t commanded, it still seems like a really good idea. –ed.)
    • Gal:  “for people to open their home out of love and generosity…was amazing“
    • Host:  “I’d encourage anyone to be a host family – to come along side these families.”.    
  • Many of our clients’ stories are very complex. 
  • We have three values – it shows who we are and what we do
    1. Radical Hospitality -  love for a stranger
    2. Compassion Fueled by Mercy – we’ll burnout without compassion. 
    3. Disruptive Generosity – try to disrupt the systems that are in place through generosity (kind of a nice change from the business world’s “disruptive innovation”, where venture capital funded startups running at a loss force brick and mortar business closures. –ed)  
  • We build strategic collaboration between Olive Crest and other service providers
  • Work to reduce the number of children in foster care
  • Offer temporary housing for children under 18 for families in crisis.   (I originally had a typo in here that said they “offer temporary hosing for children under 18” – but of course, that wasn’t it at all –although  hosing might be a step up from some of the immigrant detention centers in Texas, where kids often don’t have regular access to bathing facilities – sigh… -ed).
  • Families doing the hosting and the families getting children in our care do so voluntarily
  • Crises that bring families to the program (I had to lookup that crises was plural for crisis – who makes these things up?  And crisis is an interesting word – probably from the Greek Krinein, meaning to decide.  It later took on a meaning associated with turning points – a time when an important change takes place, indicating either recovery or death.  I think of a crisis as a problem, but the Greek is more about the point when you choose what to do.  –ed) 
    • Hospitalization – 2nd most common use.  If a single mom with one child and a second on the way needs to go the hospital for 72 hours, if she is socially isolated, we can offer this kind of help
    • Incarceration
    • Homelessness – the most common reason
      • Recent situation – mom living with kid in car – worried about safety of child
    • Substance use
    • Domestic Violence
    • Mental health – need respite for a time
  • Objectives:
    • Keep children safe.  Host families want to help the family in lots of ways,
    • Surround family with community of care
    • Reunite families to reduce children entering the foster care system
  • A little bit about the Foster Care System:
    • Annual calls to the Washington State Child Protective Services: 118,615
    • 75k calls are screened out
    • 23k calls are investigated
    • 16k end up receiving services
  • Are supplementary care – not substitutive care
  • It is all voluntary, parents keep custody of the kids
  • No financial compensation for host parents
  • Call origins
    • Relative, friends, self, internet
    • Domestic Violence shelters and homeless shelters
    • Schools, churches
  • We are building an Infrastructure of compassion
  • Family in crisis
    • Try to surround with as many resources as possible. 
    • Work a lot with churches – and host families have connections to lots of resources
  • Infrastructure of Safety
    • We train host families
    • Do home studies
    • Have hot line to support families
    • Do background checks
  • Average length of stay
    • For children Under 9 years old, around 1 week
    • For children over 10 years odd – 9 weeks
    • (for comparison – the average stay for a youth in th foster care system is around 18 months. –ed)
    • Some longer stays for families
    • 70% are 6 and under, 8% are 13 and over (I had this wrong in the original minutes - these are the correct percentages.  –ed)
    • 95% are reunified
  • Safe Families for Children – launched in Chicago in 2003 (is it possible Safe Families for Children is a reincarnation of Mr. Rogers – or is it just a coincidence he passed away in the same year Safe Families for Children began. –ed)
  • Currently Safe Families for Children is in 41 states
  • In Pierce and King county – 80+ host families
    • 12 partner churches
  • Intake process
    • Client calls us 1-877-341-7332 (or use the web form at -ed)
    • The client does an in-person intake with us and we see if it is a good fit and if there is a host family available
    • We then do some paperwork
    • We usually place within a week
  • Focus is on connecting two families
  • Host family approval process can take less than 3 weeks (we did foster care at one point, and it took just a wee bit longer than 3 weeks to get licensed…. –ed)
  • Question - Do you keep siblings together? Bryan – we do our best.  Once had a family of 5, and a host family did if. 
  • Joy – what is going on with the pregnant Gig Harbor girls? (I think we’ve all been asking that question…-ed) Bryan – we have Safe Families Plus – for kids over 18.  Of the two girls in the program, one is getting support through the summer – then will get housing at Tacoma Community College.  She has worked with the host family and they are invested in each other.  (my notes about this make this seem really odd, but I remember it being a totally normal discussion of one of their programs and a couple clients that utilized that program.  I missed something in the translation of the discussion into the minutes. Sorry. –ed)
  • Joy – How many partner churches are in Gig Harbor? Bryan – 3
  • Question – what do you say to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) households?  Bryan – any host family is fine.  Part of a church is the infrastructure of care around you.  We have all different types of host families – single moms, single adults, all sorts of families.
  • Jeremy – your program is a relatively short stay.  Do you track move rates?  Bryan – we don’t track that so well.  I do know two stories where the host family didn’t work in Spanaway.  The parent didn’t like some aspects of the program – asked for the kids back.  The rate of children coming back to our program is very small.  Jeremy – moving between host families I meant.  Bryan – that doesn’t happen very often.
  • Martha – do you have to be associated with a church to host? Bryan – no, they don’t.  But it is helpful to have a community.  Martha – Jewish people?   Bryan – of course.  We are a historically Christian organization, but are open to all faiths (or complete lack of faiths, I’m guessing. –ed)
  • Martha – What is the number of Pierce County families.  Bryan - 20 in Pierce County
  • Martha – What if a teen isn’t into church, do they have to go?  Bryan – no.  We make sure a teenager is into the host family.
  • Maureen – do you inspect the physical home of the host family?  Bryan – we do home studies – to see family life and do a home inspection – just once. 
  • Maureen – how are you licensed.  Bryan – we have few license requirements. 
  • Maureen – background check – nationally or local.  Bryan – nationally
  • Samie – Beautiful program, and I haven’t worked with it before.  Are you certified/mandated reporters?  How do you handle conflict and safety.  Bryan – yes, we are all mandated reporters – staff and host families.  We do trauma-informed care.  Families get a bit of training in that.  They utilize Olive Crest as a resource for how to deal with things.  Our staff will work through all conflict.
  • Theresa – your story is really familiar to me.  Going to jail is often unexpected.  I talk with women in jail that have kids in precarious places.  Can you work with people already in jail?  Bryan – if they can call us, we can get to them to help them out.  I’ve worked with folks going to jail, but not in jail.  Paperwork just takes 30 minutes to sign. 
  • (this evening -

                 Me: we need to become a host family. 

                 Wife: that means you’d have to stop writing meeting minutes and spend time with your family. 



                 Me: <types meeting minutes>. 

                 Wife: thought so.



Stability Site

  • James’ 2 second overview of the Stability Site:
    • Somewhere between shelter and transitional housing
    • Have to be a City of Tacoma resident - get there through Tacoma Rescue Mission Search and Rescue Street Outreach
    • Has a shelter component, but also lots of services like a transitional housing  program.
    • People sleep in their own tent or shelter
    • We started this group as a way
  • Faatima Lawrence, Catholic Community Services -
  • Have 24 pallet shelters and 61 tents – 85 total units.
  • Facility has
    • Showers
    • Laundry
    • Transportation around town provided by the Salvation Army
  • Volunteers come
    • With meals
    • Bible study
    • Daily Meaningful Activity programs
      • Tacoma strength – a personal trainer meets with a group of our residents and helps them work out, eating habits, trainer to their needs.  It is a good turnout.  Case managers work with them and go work out with them.  Want the guests to know the staff and see them as part of their community
      • Gardening – just got some vegetables – have some raised beds so they can do some gardening.  We’ll move them inside with some growlights to do vegetables all year.
  • Supportive Services
    • Had some turnover in the case management staff recently –
    • Have MHP that comes to the site, do peer support and case management
    • We refer out to MH agency if they want  to go somewhere else
    • Work to help them find housing
    • Connect them to substance use programs
    • Help them get ID and SSN
    • Whatever their goals are to get housed, we support
    • Dawn Bohl, Catholic Community Services
    • After care –
      • We stay connected with clients that exit to housing
      • Often they end up in areas without friends nearby – they may not know anyone or they isolate themselves.  It is a tough transition. 
      • We currently have 2 people in aftercare.  It isn’t a requirements, but something we offer.  We help with whatever they need. 
      • Faatima - Case management will talk with the landlords – we’ve helped folks not get evicted.  A client kept threatening to leave, and the case manager helped introduce them to their landlord, and then they connected with the neighbors and build community and was able to stay housed since 2017. 
      • Another client that exited but has stayed connected wanted to check in
      • Two women were exited from the stability site, and were exited a couple times because of not following the rules.  Both women contacted Melissa on Facebook, one getting married, the other finished their GED.   Both housed, and both were thankful for the Stability Site, as it was part of the path to getting and staying clean and sober.  Dawn – one lady married a gentleman from the stability site – they both exited at the same time and are now doing well together.
    • Valeo Vocation – has helped get jobs, some are working at the Salvation Army.  We appreciate everyone providing services at the site
    • There is a 90-day stay policy – lots of folks were happy just to be at the site.  The 90-day policy has been a boost to help folks start working on their housing.  At first they didn’t like the 90-day policy – but if they are working with their case manager, they can still stay.  Working can be small things.  For instance, a gentleman at the site – still working with case managers – was looking for his birth certificate.  He was taken from his tribe and adopted out to families – eventually kicked out of house and on streets since he was 15.  Can’t work because of no Social Security Number, and is looking for his birth certificate in Canada and US and all over.
    • Got someone a birth certificate and a green card
    • Needs –
      • Sundays, most Tuesday and Wednesdays, need more meal volunteers.  Salvation army does awesome – bringing breakfast many days.
      • Donations of water bottles – people take water to go – could use refillable and bottled water.
  • Theresa – Curious about the employment opportunities you have.  Sometimes we have interns that are amazing – I don’t know what your requirements are.  Faatima – criminal history is looked at on a case by case basis.  Our human resources persons reviews the crime and ask the person about it.  A good explanation is often adequate.  For case management, employees need an Associates Degree or equivalent experience.  Pay is $17.82 for case management.  $16.64 for a generalist – a position that is security and making sure things are OK.  They staff the gate and get to know the residents so they know who belongs. 
  • Al – I’ve never been to the stability site – and had a tour yesterday.  Over the period of time you’ve been involved with this program – what are some of the important things that have made the program work.  Faatima – we’ve found that people really just need space.  If folks are having an argument, we don’t always intervene.  With couples, we usually give folks their own tent.  Originally, many folks said they were couples just to get in the site.  or they came in and there were some Domestic Violence issues.  Having a separate tent for each person has been useful.  We do have couples in our pallet shelters.
  • The pallet shelters are an incentive program. 
  • Questions – who to talk to about delivering food?  Faatima – Emerald Gibson -
  • Question – difference between tent and pallet shelter?  Faatima – tents are a 4 person tent in a somewhat climate controlled big tent.  The pallet shelters are very primitive tiny houses.  Have fans and heaters, also have electricity for charging things.
  • Gerrit Nyland, Catholic Community Services of Western Washington –
  • You have in front of you the Stability Site Weekly report – the City is very interested in data about the site, and gets it on a weekly basis.
  • The weekly Stability Site dashboard tells you a bit about where clients come from and where they go to. 
  • The Client Exit summary is a bit of an odd chart – it is a count of the clients we exited to permanent housing, as well as clients that entered permanent housing at any point after exit from the site.  Kind of an abnormal statistic – but it shows the impact of the site.
  • Al – what do you conclude about the effectiveness about the program?  Gerrit – what do I conclude about the effectiveness of the program with both me and the funder in the room?  That is the question? Well, this is a really vulnerable population –the most vulnerable population in the County – when I look at vulnerability of clients at the Rescue Mission, at the nativity House, around the County, these folks are really vulnerable.  I look at the data through this lens.  And the stability site isn’t a permanent housing program.  This is mostly a shelter, and slightly a transitional housing program.  But not like a transitional housing program, in that there isn’t funding to move them out into their own place.  Without the Stability Site, our community has little to offer someone unwilling to stay in the large shared living bays in traditional homeless shelters, and who have been unable to exit homelessness on their own? Where should these folks be to get some stability to work on housing – the site is very successful.  But, this is still a really expensive way to house people.  I often wonder if Permanent Supportive Housing would be a better use of funds.  But we don’t have funds to move them into Permanent Supportive Housing or Rapid Rehousing.  There is often an undercurrent in the City of “why are so few going into permanent housing”.  My answer is that we are paid to pay to keep folks safe in a shelter, and we don’t have funds for permanent housing.
  • Al – do you have data that shows offsets of costs – what is saved by the community by these folks having safe shelter?  Gerrit – we don’t have great data on this right now – our community doesn’t share this data well.  I do have a project trying to look at medical costs of residents before and during their stay – a project with the Healthcare Authority.  But I don’t have that yet.  However, $40k is a good number of the costs to the community annually of someone who is the most vulnerable of the chronically homeless.  These are costs outside the cost of shelter.  I think shelter bed costs are around $20k per bed per year, but I’m sort of making that number up.  
  • Maureen – the Continuum of Care is working on the strategic Plan for the next 5 years – it would be helpful to have some bullet points on how many permanent housing units per year we need to accommodate the need.  It seems to me the moment to put that stuff in.  James – that is exactly what we are working on now – Gerrit is feeding us those numbers.  Gerrit – yeah, we need about another 1,000 permanent supportive housing units to have enough becoming vacant to meet the inflow.  Talking County-wide.  I always talk county-wide, because the homeless system operates County-wide, although the City of Tacoma has to focus just on Tacoma.  And people move to Tacoma from other areas.  When you become homeless in Gig Harbor, you typically move to Tacoma.  That is a real thing.  And people move to Puyallup too – to become homeless there.
  • Theresa – as someone who lives in a permanent encampment – this one 911 call in a month is an amazing number.  We get so many on our block.  Just the 3 EMS calls – these are really valuable that these folks are places where they can get services.  Many folks also struggle to be in a bay with lots of beds – they get their own space here.  I just really love you guys.  (it is mutual, Theresa –ed).  When folks moved into the site from the encampments, there was a narrative that they had never touched the homeless system before.  I didn’t find that to be true – what happened was many had a single connection with a shelter or some-such years back, but just one touch years back.  They engaged, but stayed homeless and didn’t really engage again.  Oh, Nativity House gets about 400 911 EMS calls per year – at a cost of some $400k.  It is a bit higher for the rescue mission.  A comparison of 40 calls at the nativity house in a month to just 3 calls at the stability site.  We are saving some money there.  It isn’t a pure apples to apples comparison, but there is something there.
  • Maureen – if the economy stays stable, we need 1,000 units to address the folks at the stability site over a decade.  Gerrit – if I’m changing the homeless system across all of Pierce County, I’d have to change a $15M homeless system and turn it into a $35M homeless system – annual operating costs.  I’d also need 1,000 permanent supportive housing units.  Say 50% were tenant-based – where units are leased market rate from a landlord – and 50% project based, where a nonprofit owns the building – at some $200k per unit – some $100M in new housing construction. 
  • Maureen – if we don’t talk about it, it won’t happen.  We need to start bringing these units out there.  Plymouth Housing and Bellweather have big project in Seattle.  We need to do that here.  Gerrit – I think a lot of us tell this story to anyone that will listen all the time.  I don’t sleep at night much, because I spend my day time talking to City Council member and funders, so my work has to be done at night.  Are we talking to the right people?  I don’t know.  How do we get this message out.  If you want to set a meeting up, I’ll come.  I have a whole song and dance. 
  • Carolyn – I appreciate your data so much.  How does your stability site data line up racial with the larger homeless population? Gerrit – the stability site is whiter than the average homeless population.  Some of that probably has to do with the higher vulnerabilities of the people at the site.  We have a disproportionate number of lower vulnerability people of color experiencing homelessness because it takes fewer bad things for them to become homeless.  People of color have the same social network as white people, but when white people have a crisis, the social network has enough wealth to see them through.  A white person’s car needs new tires, and they can borrow the money from a brother.  The person of color has less wealth, so the same situation ends with no new tires, an unusable vehicle, loss of a job maybe, and homelessness.  I can slice the data anyway you’d like to look at it – comparing the stability site population broken down by race with the general homeless population and the general pierce county population.  I’ve not notice much in the way the homeless system responses differently to people of color vs. white people.  There are some differences – more people of color choose certain interventions, there are some minor blips in declines in the referral system, but by-and-large, there  aren’t significant differences in program outcomes, when you look at race.  However, returns to homelessness are a different story.  We see the same discrimination that causes disproportionality by race in the homeless system in returns to homelessness.  The same discrimination that drives homelessness is still present. 
  • Nate – Lots of our homelessness has to do with the missing flop houses.  Gerrit – when you look at the exit rates at the Stability Site – some 40% - they map pretty good to a high service shelter.  At the Nativity House, we are lucky if we see 2% of exits to permanent housing.   Although some we never see some 40% again.  The rescue mission is better, but still only 5%.  To have nearly 40% is a pretty good story about what shoving resources into a place can do.  When you start stacking all the barriers to housing – an eviction where they owe a few thousand dollars, and bad credit and they are a sex offender, not to mention some of the demons they might be struggling with. 


National Low Income Housing Coalition

  • Maureen Howard -
  • Passed out postcards last week, but have more this week - please get one and sign it. 
  • The goal of the postcards is to increase funding for homelessness and housing. 
  • No matter how crazy the world gets, there will be an appropriations bill. (when I was a toddler, in moments of despair, my mother used to tell me this to calm me. –ed.) We need to get as much money coming in to these programs as possible.  The coalition can’t sign, any maybe your agency can’t, but as an individual, you can.
  • Would a weekly postcard issue be of interest?
  • Who has been to Patty Murray’s office in Tacoma?  Not enough of us.

Good of the Order

  • Chat team with Multicare – substance use disorder and infectious diseases. 
  • Homeless Humans of Tacoma – Patty Ramos – go fund me – can nominate heroes and it goes to SF and national, have until midnight tonight – your name, your e-mail, her name, and why she should be nominated   
  • Shared housing – have rooms available in east pierce county.
  • Hire253 now has its own budget
    • Let’s do some fundraising
    • Some ideas on how to make it more successful would be great
    • Next one is in September
    • Review of past three is coming out today
  • Clients who only have Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or Food Stamps or whatever you want to call it –ed.) and want to go to school or get employment, send them to Adonai Counseling and Employment -  
  • City of Destiny Awards tonight – we won so come celebrate.  Check out the Video at (the good stuff starts at minute 19:00, and keep watching for the Pierce County Medical Reserve Corp – Coalition members in good standing. )
  • Hospitality hiring event is happening soon.

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.
  • August 2nd – How do you know if you are at a minimart with a gas station, or a gas station with a minimart?  Our panel of planners, taquito aficionados, and long-haul truckers will discuss the characteristics that distinguish an uninspired convenience store from a full-service truck stop.  With road trip season in full swing, you won’t want to miss this informative presentation. 

Restaurant Review

With road trip season upon us, I can’t help but send a shout-out to my favorite minimart.  Really, it is more of a maxi-mart.  After a weekend of backpacking, my boys’ Boy Scout troop stops for fast food on our way home.  Except when we hike the coast, or into the Olympics from the North.  Then we stop at The Longhouse Market & Deli (271020 US-101, Sequim, WA 98382 - ).  Located in Bryn (half way between Sequim and Port Angeles), this huge minimart has it all.  Pepperoni sticks?  Yes.  Gatorade?  Again, yes.  Really nice, clean restrooms?  Surprisingly, yes. It is basically a small supermarket and deli. And clothing store.  And more.  But, this is a restaurant review, so… The deli has everything you’d expect in a minimart deli (deep fried this, gooey that).  But it also has a huge selection of fresh salads, some amazing paninis, soups, and lots of fresh fruits and veggies. This is by far the favorite post-hike stop of the troop for both youth and adults.  Highly recommended.  So, need an excuse to go here?  Try hiking up the Upper Dungeness River – a relatively flat and beautiful walk through towering trees.  Not into trees?  How about the Dungeness Spit – a walk on the beach to the end of a 5.5 mile spit – with a museum, a lighthouse tour, and the least rain west of the Cascades (around 10 inches per year) as your reward. Or, perhaps best of all, the 3.6 mile hike to the Tubal Cain mine.  If the ruins of an old copper mine, including a mine shaft you can explore, aren’t enough to lure you up, how about the crashed B-17 bomber wreckage in neighboring Tull canyon (a .5 mile detour). It is as cool as you think it should be.   If that doesn’t pique your interest, I don’t know what will.  Oh, maybe 3rd Beach – relive your favorite Twilight moments along with the delights of the Ocean. Not into hiking, try the cabins at the Quileute Oceanside Resort - the off season rates starting on October 1st are what to aim for.  The cabins are on 1st beach, which is good living.  Anyway, if you’re on the north end of the Olympic Mountains, you can do worse than to fill up on gas and snacks and even a meal at the Longhouse market & Deli.   


(one of the sign in sheets didn’t make it back to me, so I’m sure I missed one or two folks. –ed)

  • Dawn Roberts, Pierce County Probation
  • CC Mendoza, Metropolitan Development Council
  • Faatima Lawrence, Catholic Community Services
  • Dawn Bohl, Catholic Community Services
  • Theresa Power-Drutis, New Connections
  • Maralise Hood-Quan, Center for Dialog and Resolution
  • Carolyn Weisz, University of Puget Sound
  • Martha Sheppard, Tacoma Salvation Army
  • Maureen Howard, Housing Advocate
  • Jeremy Walker, Housing Advocate
  • Matthew Jorgensen, City of Tacoma
  • Al Ratcliffe, me
  • Someone from the Pierce County AIDs Project
  • Valentinya Germer, Comprehensive Life Resources
  • Lisa Kurek, Eagles Wings Coordinated Care
  • Michelle Fleetwood, Eagles Wings non-profit housing
  • Kelly Blucher, Goodwill
  • Sheila Miraflor, Molina Healthcare
  • Pamm Silver, Molina Healthcare
  • Sid Sandstrom, The Coffee Oasis
  • Bryan Green, Olive Crest
  • Joy Stanford, Shared Housing
  • Cynthia Steward, League of Women Voters
  • Nathan Blackmer, Comprehensive Life Resources
  • Helen Hernandez, Comprehensive Life Resources
  • Carlos Castañon, Comprehensive Life Resources
  • Stephanie Glover, Comprehensive Life
  • Stephanie Prudhomme, Adonai Counseling & Employment
  • Evangeline Tweedy, Community Member
  • Rosie Hawkins, Sea Mar
  • Richard Berghammer, Fellowship Bible Church
  • Cameron, Northwest Integrated Health
  • Northwest Integrated Health
  • Rosie Hawkins, Sea Mar
  • Samie Iverson, Tacoma Public Schools
  • Gail Misner, Molina Healthcare