Author: Sandy Windley

Faith Communities Day at Tacoma Rainiers Game

As part of our mission of uniting people of faith, we want to invite you to our second annual “Faith Communities Day at the Tacoma Rainiers”!  This fun, family event on Sunday, July 16th is a perfect opportunity for your faith community to join other faith communities for a day at the ballpark. First pitch is at 1:35, with gates opening at noon at Cheney Stadium (2502 S. Tyler St, Tacoma 98405).  Pictures from last year’s event show how much fun faith communities had together!

Tickets are $13.00 each which includes a ballpark lunch.  Why should you join us instead of just going to the game?  By purchasing through Associated Ministries instead of groups obtaining them separately, we can ensure that the faith communities sit in the same section, which helps build a stronger community!
 
We are offering two options for you:
1)     You can purchase tickets and give them or sell them to your members
2)     You can purchase tickets and use them as a fundraiser to support your youth groups activities, mission trips, or other needs you have
 

Don’t delay! The Rainiers tell me seats are starting to sell faster for this game now that spring is here.  Please reserve your tickets by Monday, May 15th to ensure you will be sitting with other faith communities.   Ordering tickets is easy: just contact our Community Engagement Coordinator, Wendy Morris at 253-383-3056 ext. 117 or wendym@associatedministries.org with how many tickets you would like for your group. She will arrange to get your tickets to you in plenty of time for selling (or you can pre-sell to get an accurate count of how many you need).

Download General Flyer Here 

If you would like a customizable flyer (Word format), please contact Wendy.  The customizable option can help you if you are looking to use the tickets as a fundraiser. Remember, each ticket gets a reserved-seat game ticket, a ballpark meal, and game program.  There will also be pregame autographs on the concourse and post-game Kids Run the Bases.
 
And don’t forget Rhubarb will be there and he wants you all to come too!  He says, “come out to Cheney Stadium on Sunday, July 16th to enjoy an afternoon of family fun, see future Mariners, and most importantly see the world’s greatest Reindeer (with apologies to my cousin Rudolph)!”  We hope you will join us for this fun day!
 

    For more information contact:
Wendy Morris at

253-383-3056 x117 or 

wendym@associatedministries.org

We look forward to seeing you soon! 

Learn More about Homelessness Crisis Response System…and How You Can Help

Invitation to learn about the Coordinated Entry System (Pierce County’s crisis response system for those experiencing homelessness)

Members of the faith community, the staff of Associated Ministries (AM) would welcome a visit to your place of worship, business or neighborhood community meeting to present information on Pierce County’s Coordinated Entry System, the crisis system for all those experiencing homelessness in Pierce County. 

The first step in solving homelessness is to become educated about the homeless system, so you can inform those who are in need of service or others who may need to help a household navigate the system.    

If you would like AM staff to present during a social concerns committee, adult forum or whatever meeting makes the most sense, we’ll be there.

The more people of faith and goodwill we educate about homelessness the better!   It is going to take A LOT of people to move the needle to end homelessness.

Please feel free to contact me if you would like to schedule a time for Associated Ministries to come out to your place of worship or business to present information on the Coordinated Entry System.

In service,

Valorie Crout

Chief Program Officer

valoriec@associatedministries.org

253-426-1508

Pierce County Point-in-Time Count Results Released

According to those individuals experiencing homelessness who were surveyed in Pierce County, the three most frequently identified causes of their situation are the loss of a job, eviction or family break-up.  These responses are included in this year’s Point-in-Time Count results.

“This year, volunteers counted 1,321 people who were experiencing homelessness,” said Tess Colby, the County’s manager of Housing, Homelessness and Community Development.  Colby noted that while the overall number of people experiencing homelessness was down since the previous year’s count (1,762), many factors can contribute to fluctuations in count totals from year to year, including the number of volunteers participating, the weather on the day of the count and the time of day the volunteers are out in the community.

Mental illness is the most common disability reported by people surveyed. “Just over 30 percent of those who responded to the question about disabilities cited mental health-related issues,” Colby said.

While County residents may assume people experiencing homelessness are sleeping outdoors, only 22 percent of those surveyed spent the night in tents. The vast majority of people without permanent housing are residing in an emergency shelter, transitional housing, a car or an abandoned building.

Only 7 percent of people identifying a prior residence lived outside of the state of Washington, while nearly 80 percent were originally residents in Pierce County.

The Point-in-Time count occurs annually in January and relies on volunteers to count people experiencing homelessness throughout the County.  The results of the survey from Jan. 27, 2017, are not scientific but do provide a snapshot into the lives of those experiencing homelessness on that day.

The full set of data is available here.

 

Food Bank for Pets – How Your Faith Community Can Help

Individuals facing homelessness or financial insecurity should not also have to face losing their furry family members.  But during difficult times, it can be difficult to find the funds to buy food for your pets.  However, Pasado’s Safe Haven is here to help.  Pasado will provide FREE dog and cat food for anyone on public assistance, low income or experiencing homelessness.

Is your faith community looking for a unique way to assist those in your community?

Pasado currently has a mobile van serving Pierce County and is looking for locations to be able to set up to distribute food…for example, a church parking lot or existing food bank location.  If your faith community would like to support Pasado in this way, please contact Dan Nutt, Pierce County Pet Food Bank Coordinator for Pasado (DanN@pasadosafehaven.org or 360-913-1481).  They are especially in need of locations in East Pierce County.  There is no obligation to the faith community hosting Pasado; just a desire to provide some space for Pasado to do the good work they do to help our community, humans and furry friends alike!

Does your house need a paint job? We can help!

Every summer, Associated Ministries organizes volunteer crews to paint the exteriors of houses for low-income, elderly and disabled homeowners through the Paint Tacoma-Pierce Beautiful program. Since 1985, we have painted nearly 2,200 houses, and are looking for 27 more houses to paint this summer!

Qualifications:

  • Single family, owner-occupied houses located in the City of Tacoma
  • Not in foreclosure, and no open code violations
  • Household meets HUD low-income guidelines

Homeowners pay nothing, because we provide the paint and supplies, and volunteers provide the labor. Able-bodied homeowners, families and friends are encouraged to participate in painting.

If you or someone you know would be a good candidate for a Paint Tacoma project, visit www.PaintBeautiful.org for an application, or call (253) 426-1516. Deadline: May 8th, 2017.

Welcome Your Neighbors

Welcome Your Neighbors
by Rev. Nancy Gowler, First Christian Church of Puyallup

No matter where you are from, we’re glad you’re our neighbor.

It started as a simple, hand lettered sign in front of a Mennonite church in Harrisonburg, Virginia. That one message of welcome in English, Spanish and Arabic posted in a multicultural neighborhood in 2015 created a groundswell. Soon a digital design for a yard sign followed, and before long signs were being distributed as quickly as they were printed. To encourage others the congregation made the design available online for anyone to print. Now signs are appearing throughout the United States and Canada, proclaiming a message of welcome.

2017 is the 75th anniversary of the establishment of Camp Harmony, the assembly center at the Western Washington Fairgrounds where 7,390 Americans of Japanese descent from Washington and Alaska were held before being transferred to relocation camps. We in the Northwest live with the painful legacy of times when fearful distrust of neighbors held sway. One wonders whether things might have turned out differently in 1942 if people of faith had posted yard signs throughout our state proclaiming, “No matter where you are from, we’re glad you’re our neighbor” in English and in Japanese?

We can’t change the past, but we can create a better world now. Count our small congregation in—together, we can spread a word of welcome and compassion in our neighborhoods and throughout Pierce County.


Learn more about the movement at https://www.welcomeyourneighbors.org/.  You can print yard/window signs directly from the website or have them professionally printed.  Consider working together with your local faith community neighbors to order from your local print shop in one bulk order to reduce costs!

Associated Ministries’ Community Quarterly Meeting

Thank you to all those who were able to make it to Associated Ministries’ first Community Quarterly Meeting and to those of you who wanted to be there, but couldn’t make it.  We’ll see you next time.

Associated Ministries hosts an on-going quarterly meeting for people of faith and goodwill to continue learning about homelessness and to work together on strategies to end homelessness.

During the latest Community Quarterly Meeting, people of faith were charged with identifying projects to impact homelessness, and triumphantly, they stepped up to the plate! 

Three work groups formed and envisioned the following projects:

  • Connections Network: using social media to better connect people of faith with those experiencing homelessness.
  • Strengthen Catholic Community Services’ Family Housing Network, and
  • Explore ways people of faith can better partner with Associated Ministries.

Some GREAT ideas surfaced from some pretty amazing people!   There were a few exciting and tangible takeaways from our meeting:

  1. The Family Housing Network may have identified one more church to house five families experiencing homelessness;
  2. A church that is already participating with the Family Housing Network may be able to extend their service by one week. 

That is FOURTEEN additional nights to house FIVE families experiencing homelessness!  What a FEAT WE ACHIEVED in less than a 2 hour meeting!

Join us during our next Community Quarterly Meeting on Thursday, June 15th from 4-6pm at Bethlehem Baptist Church, 4818 East Portland Ave, Tacoma, WA 98404 as we continue this work. 

We need a lot more people in the room to create the wave needed to end homelessness, so reach out to people you know want to be involved and invite them in.

In solidarity,

Valorie Crout | Chief Program Officer

253.383.3056, ext. 108  valoriec@associatedministries.org

Pierce County’s Plan to End Homelessness

A Plan to End Homelessness
by Valorie Crout, Chief Program Officer

The Continuum of Care (CoC), Pierce County’s Oversight Committee for the Homeless System, is currently developing a 5-year strategic plan to end homelessness.  The overall goal will be to significantly reduce the number of households that are unsheltered or experiencing homelessness.  This effort comes with great leadership from all sectors of the community.  Leadership from local government, city and county officials, public housing authorities, homeless organizations serving all population, school districts and many more are represented at the table.  Associated Ministries’ seat represents the faith-based community.

As a faith-based agency, we are committed to see this work through and have taken on some of the responsibility outlined in the plan to end homelessness.  One of our first tasks will be to form focus groups for people of color, veterans, youth and young adults, LGBTQ, and those that are chronically homeless to assess for equity within the system.  We are committed to assuring that ALL people gain access to the same opportunities to secure and maintain housing, which is the foundation for wholeness. 

We are interdependent on one another-each person’s success will be our own.   With that said, every person of faith will have a role to end homelessness.   We are the spirit, the heart, and the voice for social justice.  As people of faith, we do NOT accept homelessness in our community! 

Together, we can do this!  I have faith!

To learn more about what homelessness like in Pierce County, please plan to attend any or all of our upcoming quarterly meetings: Thursday, March 16th 4-6pm at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 7410 South 12th Street, Tacoma, WA 98465; Thursday, June 15th 4-6pm at Bethlehem Baptist Church, 4818 East Portland Ave, Tacoma, WA 98404.

The final draft of the Plan to End Homelessness is scheduled to be completed by the end of March 2017.  We will present the plan at one of the upcoming quarterly meetings.

Connecting 4 Students Event

In 2016, over 65 members of the community came together to share resources to help students throughout the Tacoma School District.  Through a partnership of Associated Ministries, Graduate! Tacoma, Communities in Schools Tacoma, and the College Success Foundation, a speed networking event was produced to help like-minded people, over short bursts of time, connect to share resources and arrange further conversation on how to partner for the benefit of students and the community.

This year Associated Ministries is co-hosting the event on Tuesday, February 7, 2017 from 4:30 – 6:30 pm at The Swiss.  The event is free and we will be serving appetizers as community volunteers, nonprofits, businesses, public agencies and faith-based organizations come together with school district employees to share interests in a positive, comfortable and fun setting.  Pre-registration is appreciated at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/connecting4students-tickets-30180801590?aff=erelexpmlt.  For more information you can contact Wendy Morris at wendym@associatedministries.org or 253-383-3056 ext. 117.

Housing Community Pillar Award

Landlord Liaison Project Pillar Award
by Alexis Agee-Cooper, Lead Family Permanent Housing Specialist

We have the honor and privilege to present Landlord Liaison Project with our Community Pillar for the month of November.  They have been a partner in ending homelessness for years here in Pierce County.  Landlord Liaison Project “LLP” is a program that we use to assist in housing our clients.  LLP has a talent and special skill in contacting and fostering relationships with Landlords in Pierce County.

The LLP team that is the driving force behind this program are Crystal Campbell, Sunita Garrett, Kiesha Triplett and Raina Frazier.  Let me tell you from personal experience, these women are all business and are driven to provide our agencies with great landlord partnerships.   They work hard to develop those relationships for our clients.   Working with these strong, dedicated and compassionate women has been a great experience.  The compassion, care, and skill they put into this program is beyond words.  Thank you for all you do!

Q&A

Q-What has driven you to do this work and working with people who are homeless and working with them from the inside out?

Kiesha– “I wear my heart on my sleeve. I am one of those people who believe that if you can change one person, then you can make a difference in helping the masses.  Helping someone with such a basic need as shelter is super humbling experience. Once someone has a home, everything else seems to fall into place. I am honored to be able to work from the outside in and experience the emotional change from the inside out.”

Sunita– “For me it started with health care for the homeless and working directly with the homeless. I learned from being out at the camps that homelessness is a type of disease but there is a way to relieve it and being able to move forward.  From there, I went on to be a housing aid with housing first at one of the first housing 1st buildings that MDC opened up. Through that I became a housing specialist so I am basically back where I was in the beginning helping homeless people get housed, health care, and other services they need.”

Crystal –“I have a background mental health. I work at Greater Lakes as a second job. I would witness after the clients are let out back into the community and they would be on the street. So I wanted to see the other side to see what happens after they’re on the street because a lot of people who have mental health issues also experience homelessness. When I applied for a job I ended up in the rapid rehousing program and I just wanted to see things from the other side and see their successes instead of thinking about “oh they just left the facility and they’re out on the street nothing really changed in their life I didn’t really impact it” Now I can see some of the same people and I get to help them in a greater way.”

Raina-“I graduated with a Social Work degree. I did my internship helping veterans find housing so I started dealing with the homeless population. My thing is the same thing that brings me to work here every day, when I wake up. It’s  just the whole process we go through with every client is different but I know the longer the process it takes with some of the more difficult clients and getting them housed is a big celebration for us. The whole process and seeing their faces when they do move in that they have their own house and the basic needs like “I have a door to shut and I have an address”. That’s really inspiring to us to come and it allows me to come to work and be like hopefully we can get someone housed today. It’s a good feeling when we get to put our metrics together and see all the work we did and having families we got housed is really inspiring to us too.”

Q-I know we see you all as leaders in this community do you see yourselves as leaders and how so?

A-No not as a leader we see ourselves as someone who is able to help when we can and try to make sure we utilize that companionship with all of you.   

Q-So how do you see your role in the community how do you feel and what is your role in fighting homelessness?

A-We are advocates I wouldn’t say leaders if anything we help navigate and direct our client on what they need to do when looking for landlords. We can lead and direct them but it is up to them.  We are the middle piece between landlords and clients, we help them get housed but they have to want to help.

 

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