We are so grateful for your partnership with Associated Ministries this past year. During 2017 we experienced momentum on many fronts:
- Our Community Quarterly Meetings convened ever-larger crowds throughout the year; in total 187 people from 44 faith communities came together at four gatherings to be educated about homelessness and discuss potential projects and solutions.
- In November we hosted the largest group yet at our annual “Lead the Way Home” breakfast, and attendees responded with record generosity.
- During October we encouraged Pierce County faith communities to take part in the first “Standing United with Compassion” observance, which kicked off at a moving and memorable “interfaith Shabbat” service hosted by Temple Beth El.
- In September we staged an innovative new community event called “Amazing Quest to Understand Homelessness” in Tacoma’s Hilltop neighborhood.
- In March we were overwhelmed by the response to our first-ever Interfaith Women’s Conference as some 400 women gathered for a day of learning, inspiration and fellowship.
These are a few tangible examples of the growing commitment we sense throughout Pierce County to come together to address our communities’ most critical needs.
When it comes to one of those needs – homelessness – we all know we’re facing a crisis. But behind the scenes many of us are working hard to make fundamental shifts in our homeless response system. We must not grow weary in doing good, not when we are making progress towards our preferred future, one in which homelessness is a rare, brief, and one-time experience for those caught up in its terrible consequences.
Truth be told, there have been many challenges to navigate during 2017, including some discouraging – and even terrifying – situations playing out across our nation and world. And yet at AM we remain optimistic as we see people in our community coming together with new-found solidarity and resolve to make a difference. In trying times it is essential to know that we are here for each another.
No matter what happens in the year ahead, Associated Ministries will continue to press forward as we have for 48 years, bringing together people of faith and good will to create a more humane, compassionate and just community. To do that, WE NEED YOU; and more than ever our community needs you. Thank you for showing up and for reaching out!
Michael Yoder, Executive Director
We are so thankful for our wonderful volunteers and appreciate all the hard work they have been doing the last few months to help paint the homes of low-income homeowners!
However, in order to make sure all the homes scheduled for this summer get completed, we need help! There has been an unexpected issue with getting enough paint, and we are seeking donations to help purchase what we need to paint the last few homes for the low-income homeowners.
Any amount will help and you can donate at https://associatedministries.org/donate-2017/. Just select that your donation is for Paint Tacoma-Pierce Beautiful.
On behalf of the homeowners participating in the program, thank you in advance for your generosity!
What a great Community Quarterly Meeting we had last week! Thanks again to Rev. Eric Jackson for hosting us!
Special thanks also goes to Tiegan Tidball from the City of Tacoma, Mike Yoder, Executive Director for Associated Ministries and Mark Merrill, Executive Director for Shared Housing Services for presenting. Everyone did a great job!
Here are links to the materials we reviewed at the meeting:
To keep everyone encouraged and energized, I would like to share a few results from the breakout sessions. We had three breakout groups this quarter: Catholic Community Services’ Family Housing Network (FHN), Shared Housing Services, and the City of Tacoma, which explored ways the faith community could get involved to support the Emergency Declaration.
Catholic Community Services’ Family
Housing Network Workgroup
The Family Housing Network Workgroup agreed to make some homeless kits filled with useful items for families experiencing homelessness. There was also emphasis on getting the word out in the community about this awesome program, so the workgroup is planning to have Alan Brown, the Director of Family Housing Network, present during scheduled community meetings.
Shared Housing Services Workgroup
The Shared Housing Workgroup took a similar path. They too wanted to get the word out about this great opportunity for the faith community. This workgroup plans to do more outreach in neighborhoods, congregations, neighborhood councils as well as some community gatherings.
City of Tacoma Workgroup
The City of Tacoma Workgroup came up with some pretty creative ideas about how the faith community can get directly involved to support the Emergency Declaration on Homelessness, including safe parking, permanent housing solutions such as rehabbing derelict houses or purchasing tiny houses, and exploring policy changes such as screening practices for rental applications.
The goal of the Community Quarterly meeting is to create an energizing space in Pierce County for people of faith and goodwill to share knowledge and act on strategies to end homelessness.
Please plan to join us for future gatherings. Upcoming Community Quarterly Meetings:
- Thursday, Sept. 21st from 4-6 at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 7410 South 12th Street, Tacoma, WA 98465.
- Tuesday, Dec. 5th from 4-6pm at Bethlehem Baptist Church, 4818 East Portland Ave, Tacoma, WA 98404.
Community Resource Connection Center in Action by Debra Cole
I would like to share with you about one of our Community Resource Connections Center clients, Susan* (*her name is changed). She was looking for resources to assist her in finding a recliner before she had to have surgery on her neck and cervical spine. Due to this type of procedure she was given a strict set of rules to follow, one being to limit her mobility; restricting her to a specific area in her home.
She was in dire need of a reclining chair, one that was easy to function and the correct size for her height, and had been searching for weeks leading up her procedure. I told her about the Northwest Furniture Bank, however they did not have exactly what she was looking for. Susan then turned to Hope Furnishings, the retail part of the Northwest Furniture Bank, where they were better able to assist her and even gave her a discounted price.
Susan, due to a limited income, did not have the funds to purchase the recliner, so again we spoke. I told her about Associated Ministries’ (AM) Family Emergency Funds (FEF) and how it may be able to help with part of the cost, which it was, but not the full amount. The AM staff recommended I contact St. Leo’s Catholic Church, who was gracious enough to assist us with the remaining amount. To make things easier, I went over to St. Leo’s and met with Jessica to pick up the check to have ready when she came for the one from us.
She recently called to thank me and our team, as she is all set up with her new chair in the home. Susan was overjoyed that we were able to assist her and cannot thank us enough. This touched my heart, because what we do here at AM is life changing. We are capable of doing what seems impossible and I feel so fortunate to be a part of an amazing team!
Paint Tacoma volunteer team from Immanuel Presbyterian Church with homeowner (2015)
Volunteers. Associated Ministries is grateful for the thousands of hours that our volunteer each year to help with programs such as Paint Tacoma-Pierce Beautiful, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Pierce County Hunger Walk to name just a few. Through their dedication to strengthening our community and giving of their time and talents, we have been able to paint nearly 2,200 homes of low-income homeowners, help thousands of people file their taxes, and for 35 years help organize and run an event to raise money for hunger relief.
“PLU on the Road”, volunteer paint crew (2015)
Volunteers. They are an invaluable part of what we do and we appreciate each and every one who has been able to give of their time, whether for an hour or 600 hours during a year. Their passion and willingness to join us to unite people of faith and goodwill in the effort to make life better and perhaps easier for those in need, is a cherished gift.
Volunteers. We could not do what we do without them and we say thank you!