Shifting Priorities – Annual WA Low Income Housing Alliance Conference
The Washington Low Income Housing Alliance held its 26th annual state conference in Spokane at the Convention Center on May 10th and 11th. With approximately 700 hundred people in attendance from across the state as well as various speakers from across the country, Washington State is definitely an advocate state in responding to the rise of homeless population across the country, stagnant incomes, and lack of affordable housing. Through advocacy and innovating programs, different counties are shifting their priorities when it comes to housing. From the model of first come first serve to vulnerability assessment (Coordinated Entry), chronically homelessness population that has been the most neglected is being assisted. Through vulnerability assessment, communities report seeing immediate results in reduction of people experiencing chronic homelessness when they are connected.
In Pierce County, Associated Ministries’ very own Coordinated Entry team has been utilizing diversion, a creative problem-solving and dispute resolution skills to help keep families out of the homeless system and find safe housing solutions. Led by Program Manager for Diversion, Klarissa Monteros emphasized the use of strength-based perspective to assist clients resolve their housing crisis. The team presented very well and several participants in the audience reported the need to take what they learned from Coordinated Entry-Diversion conversation approach to their counties and implement it in their programs.
The conference workshops had different topics however the unifying themes were advocating for our clients and making connections to other communities from connecting with landlords, employers, and other supporters. I believe Associated Ministries does well with both of these at this time.