On Saturday, April 28, the League of Women Voters of Tacoma-Pierce County partnered with several local agencies, including Associated Ministries, to host 300 members of our community at a unique forum addressing homelessness. Entitled “Facing Pierce County Homelessness: Creating HomeFULLness,” the event was designed to explore not only what is currently happening but also what else could potentially be done to address this community crisis.
A wide range of information and perspectives were provided by 47 participating speakers and moderators, including four members of the Associated Ministries staff; Raphael Hartman, Klarissa Monteros and Valorie Crout presented in the session on Racial Inequity in Homelessness, and Mike Yoder shared during a panel that addressed Coordination of Services.
Among the conclusions reached by participants at the forum:
- The public needs education about homelessness, who is experiencing homelessness and why.
- Increased coordination among the jurisdictions in Pierce County is needed to achieve consistent data and policies and priorities for programming and funding.
- The gap between what is available and what is needed in affordable housing and supportive housing must be filled to address this problem. The private sector will not respond without changes to their financial and regulatory environment because affordable housing is currently not a profitable undertaking.
- Since the cost of emergency responses to homelessness is three times the cost of providing housing, it is cost-effective to provide housing as quickly as possible.
Associated Ministries is honored to participate in these informative community gatherings, and also to do our part to continue convening those who desire to make a difference for those experiencing homelessness. Our next Community Quarterly Meeting will be held on Thursday, June 21, 5:00-7:00 pm at Shiloh Baptist Church in Tacoma; attendees at this gathering will hear important updates, learn about resources and work together to help end homelessness. Plan now to join us!