A New Year Brings New Opportunities
By Michael Yoder, Executive Director
In all honesty, the new year has not started out the way I had hoped. The Omicron COVID variant required us to pivot, yet again, in some of the ways that we serve those in need in our community. And yet we remain committed to continuing our vital work!
The biggest news in the new year is that AM has officially incorporated the amazing work of Shared Housing Services into our family of programs. For those who aren’t familiar with it, home sharing is a living arrangement in which two or more unrelated people share a house or apartment. Home sharing programs provide a service that helps to match a person who has an extra room or separate unit available with a seeker who is looking for a place to live (read more at this link).
According to Federal Government’s HUD agency, “Home sharing is an increasingly important component in the quest to use existing housing stock more efficiently. It expediently creates more affordable room rental options, while at the same time addressing increasing crises in our rapidly aging society.”
I believe that home sharing is an underutilized housing option in our community, and we are excited to be among just 60 or so agencies nationwide offering this vital service. Throughout this year we will be working diligently to incorporate and even expand our two home sharing programs: Adult Homesharing and Youth Host Homes. Click here to watch a video in which I share a bit more about our youth program.
Another source of excitement for us at AM are the three amazing new members of our Board of Directors who have joined us to provide leadership oversight. Our newly-elected Board members are:
- Amir Abdul-Matin
Imam at the Mas’ala Muslim Center of Tacoma, and Chaplain at the Washington Corrections Center for Women. He lives in Gig Harbor and formerly served on the AM Board and is returning to continue his service to our community with us!
- Carolyn Read
Spent a 36-year career as a civil engineer working for the federal government on large capital projects. At St. Leo Catholic parish she has been highly involved in supporting the unhoused through Homelessness 101 training for volunteers; the Revenue for Housing advocacy initiative, and more.
- Michel Rocchi
Recently retired from 35+ years teaching at the University of Puget Sound’s French Studies Program. He served 12 years on the Board of the Grand Cinema, and 15 years on the Board of Shared Housing Services. He is connected to the Roman Catholic parishes of St. Leo and St. Charles Borromeo.
At the same time, we extend our thanks and gratitude to three “retiring” Board members who each concluded several years of key contributions to AM through their service on our Board of Directors:
- Brendan Nelson
- Chris Ferguson (past president of the Board)
- Eric Jackson (past president of the Board)
The new year will certainly bring more challenges as well as more opportunities. Our growing family of supporters continues to step up and support us in ways that encourage us to continue our work. Thank you for being with us on the journey to build lasting solutions to homelessness!