Celebrating Community at August Community Quarterly Meeting
After meeting online for more than two years, we were finally able to meet in person again for our most recent Community Quarter Meeting (CQM), held on Aug. 18. It was great to see many friends that we haven’t seen for a while; it was a genuine celebration of community! It’s easy to forget how much you miss being with people until you go two years seeing them only on a computer screen!
The presenters hit the ground running with several engaging presentations on ways that we can equip ourselves to fulfill the purpose of the CQM.
We first heard from Gerrit Nyland, Social Services Supervisor for Pierce County Human Services Department and Rob Huff with the Tacoma Pierce County Coalition to End Homelessness. Gerrit and Rob teamed up and did an amazing job presenting information about the County’s new Comprehensive Plan to End Homelessness (read about it at this link). They went over current data, strategies to address homelessness, and then covered specific areas where members of the community can be a part of this work. Also discussed was how churches and faith communities can utilize the land they own to create more housing options. For further information or to discuss these or other ideas, please contact Gerrit Nyland at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Rob Huff at email@example.com
Paula Anderson, Executive Director of New Hope Resource Center in Puyallup, shared about a key strategy to address homelessness: New Hope’s Safe Parking Program. Here are a few highlights from her presentation:
- There are currently 32 parking spots available at five locations through this program, assisting 40 people currently sleeping in their cars.
- Members from one participating church were in attendance, and they shared that they’ve hosted 32 families through their Safe Parking program and have had a 98% success rate moving families into permanent housing!
- The critical need is to provide a safe place for a family to get a good night’s sleep, to have access to appropriate facilities, and to receive support to bridge the gap between homelessness and housing.
If your church or faith community has a space that could possibly be used for Safe Parking, we encourage you to contact Paula Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. This program provides financial assistance and other resources to ensure faith communities are supported and equipped to provide this service.
Mike Yoder, Executive Director of Associated Ministries concluded the meeting by surveying the room to assess where our focus should be in future CQMs. The theme that started to surface from the conversation was the need to network. The attendees are eager to hear from each other, learn from each other, and assess how we can better connect with each other. The information gathered will assist us as we prepare for future CQMs, and as we continue to seek potential projects and solutions to positively impact homelessness.
Click this link for a copy of the full presentation shown during the August meeting. Our final meeting of 2022 is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 17, 5:00-6:30 pm in person at Tacoma Community House. Mark your calendar now!
Associated Ministries convenes these meetings in partnership with other homeless and housing service providers working in Pierce County, with the goal of creating an energizing space to gather regularly to learn about, discuss and take action on the crisis of homelessness in our community.