Living Out the Mission of the Community Quarterly Meeting
June 24, 2021
|You could feel a genuine sense of purpose among the attendees at the Community Quarterly Meeting (CQM) on June 17. (If you missed the meeting, you can view the recording here.) Participants demonstrated a willingness to live out the stated mission of the CQM: “To love and serve the needs of neighbors experiencing homelessness.” People of faith and social goodwill who attend these meetings are those who are willing to take action and apply their gifts and talents to impact homelessness. Homelessness will not be solved by acting in isolation. Rather, we must come together in community, and that was the grounding principle that defined the June CQM. |
Our first presenter was Michael Mirra, Executive Director of the Tacoma Housing Authority. He reminded us about the stark reality of youth and young adult homelessness in our community, and he introduced us to the amazing new Arlington Drive Campus for Youth and Young Adults experiencing homelessness, now operating in Tacoma’s Eastside. This beautiful facility includes a 12-bed Crisis Residential Center for homeless youth, ages 12 to 17 years; plus 58 rental apartments for homeless young adults, ages 18 to 24 years. Also on the campus are facilities for supportive services. Support from the community is needed, and this is a meaningful opportunity for local congregations to have a powerful connection with young people experiencing homelessness. If your congregation is interested in collecting much-needed items (e.g. welcome baskets, baby items, furniture, etc.), please contact Robert Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Attendees also heard from Kevin Glackin-Coley, Special Projects Coordinator for the Coalition to End Homelessness. He shared initial details about the “Adopt One Family Church Emergency Shelter Model.” With the demand for services for those experiencing homelessness significantly outstripping our community’s ability to respond, many voices have called for churches to step into this breach and provide shelter for those living on the streets. Organizers envision dozens of churches throughout Pierce County adopting one homeless family each, providing a safe place for them to sleep until that family regains permanent housing. Each congregation would identify a space they could dedicate at night to sheltering one family; they then receive a screened referral from a homeless service provider that is working on a permanent housing plan with that family. The church welcomes in the family, allowing them to sleep in their dedicated space until they are permanently housed. The church and the family would receive ongoing case management support from the homeless services agency, and the family would also have access to the Catholic Community Services-Family Housing Network Day Center for showers, laundry, and other amenities. This model has been successfully piloted over the past year at CCS-FHN with one church in Pierce County. If you are interested in finding out more, please contact Alan Brown at CCS, email@example.com (253) 471-5340. To read more about how this model is proposed to work, download this document.
Equity expert Klarissa Montero then invited attendees to be part of a three-part summer training series which will take a deeper dive into aspects of the intersection of equity and homelessness. Each session will be held online between 5:00-6:30 pm and is free of charge (registration required). To seek appropriate interventions to effectively address homelessness, we must talk about the intersection of race and homelessness. You do not want to miss these sessions! Click on this link to register. June 24th: Part 1 of the series will focus on Education. We will gain a deeper awareness of our country’s deep and pervasive history of racism. July 22nd: Elevation is the theme for Part 2 of the series. We will begin to elevate our understanding of how racism shows up in our minds, hearts, and bodies. August 26th: Part 3 will be about Liberation. You will be motivated to take action and learn the ins and outs of how to hold transformational conversations.
Finally, AM Executive Director Mike Yoder reminded attendees about the importance for people of faith to use their “moral voice” to advocate for policies and system changes that can improve the lives of the vulnerable. A wonderful opportunity to do so is being spearheaded by the Homelessness Workgroup at Tacoma’s St. Leo Catholic Church. They’ve launched a campaign called “Revenue for Housing,” and people from several local faith communities are meeting online each Monday morning to strategize how to get the Pierce County Council to pass a local sales tax to support affordable housing development. Please email Carolyn Read at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more or to join in their meetings. Download this flyer for additional information. Please consider taking action on one or more of these initiatives. Thank you for helping to create a more compassionate Pierce County! 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.
SAVE-THE-DATE for the next CQM Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021, 5:00-6:00 pm
Questions? Contact Sandy Windley at email@example.com.