Feeling Hopeful after Annual Housing Conference

Feeling Hopeful after Annual Housing Conference
by Ivette Perez-Morales, Associated Ministries, Family Permanent Housing

This year Tacoma had the privilege of hosting the 23rd Annual Affordable Housing Conference. Recognizing the need for affordable housing in our community, the Associated Ministries Rapid Re-rehousing team jumped at the opportunity to learn more about the efforts going on in Washington to help resolve an issue that is such a big factor in homelessness in our growing county.

We had the opportunity to hear from government officials talk about their dedication and the work they are doing to help us get the work done. Keynote speakers presented a national picture regarding the housing situation and how affordable housing would help change that picture. Developers were encouraged to consider building communities of opportunity by creating networks of support, both for each other and for families. Keynote speakers were successful in creating and providing a cultural understanding of homelessness and the factors that lead families down that long hard road. They were also successful in utilizing language that humanized, painted a clear picture and helped attendees see just how difficult it is to overcome barriers that keep families unhoused, while living in poverty, away from opportunities and resources. They were also very successful in sharing things that are working in the nation, inspiring attendees to create change and instill hopefulness in the idea that working together we can end homelessness and help relieve families in our country from the heavy burden of having to invest between 50 and 70% of their monthly incomes in rent, if they are lucky enough to find someone that will house them under that financial condition.

The presentations were geared towards creating not only social change but organizational change. Changes that would help companies create community, support networks, creative thinking and a cultural understanding of barriers being faced so that as they create their plans they include opportunities that can help take down barriers and build the strength of population and communities served.

The Rapid Re-housing team left, after two wonderful days, feeling HOPEFUL. Our community cares. People who can make a difference care. There is a desire to help support the cause. Those who have the desire to help, now have better tools to implement change and work with their own companies in being a part of the change our nation is wanting, a part of creating healthy communities where equity and opportunity reign, a part of the solution.

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