Tag: homelessness

Housing is the Foundation for Wholeness

LEARN ABOUT ASSOCIATED MINISTRIES PROGRAMS AND HOW THE FAITH COMMUNITY CAN COME TOGETHER TO END HOMELESSNESS.

Learn about services offered through AM.  How can the faith community come together to support the work of AM?

Join us on Thursday, June 15th from 4-6pm at Bethlehem Baptist Church, 4818 East Portland Ave, Tacoma, WA 98404.  RSVP for this free event to communications@associatedministries.org.

Associated Ministries’ Advocacy and Advisory Council welcomes you to attend any or all of these quarterly community meetings. For more information contact Valorie Crout, Chief Program Officer at Associated Ministries at 253-426-1508 or ValorieC@associatedministries.org.

Housing is the Foundation for Wholeness

Join us every quarter to learn more about the work of Associated Ministries.

Learn about Associated Ministries’ programs and services and what homelessness looks like in Pierce County. 

What services does AM offer?  What assistance is available for those experiencing homelessness?  How can the faith community support AM?  Join us on Thursday, March 16, 2017 from 4-6pm at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 7410 South 12th Street, Tacoma, WA 98465.

The event is free; RSVP to communications@associatedministries.org.

How Can People of Faith in Pierce County Assist the Homeless?

What can members of our community do to address the growing challenge of homelessness? People of faith and goodwill are invited to attend an interactive learning session regarding homelessness in Pierce County. Participants will come away with a better understanding of this crisis and will be briefed on the assistance programs that are available, as well as the work that remains to be done.

The crisis is real: during the past 11 months, Associated Ministries interacted with 7,212 households that were experiencing some level of housing instability in Pierce County. These are struggling families and vulnerable individuals who spent the previous night on the street, in a shelter, in a place not meant for human habitation, as well as those fleeing from domestic violence.

Rev. Dr. Eric Jackson of Bethlehem Baptist Church, a member of Associated Ministries’ Board of Directors, will host the gatherings; he invites all people of faith and goodwill to attend to learn more about how to assist those experiencing homelessness in Pierce County.

For more information or to RSVP, please contact AM Communications at communications@associatedministries.org.

How Can People of Faith in Pierce County Assist the Homeless?

What can members of our community do to address the growing challenge of homelessness? People of faith and goodwill are invited to attend an interactive learning session regarding homelessness in Pierce County. Participants will come away with a better understanding of this crisis and will be briefed on the assistance programs that are available, as well as the work that remains to be done.

The crisis is real: during the past 11 months, Associated Ministries interacted with 7,212 households that were experiencing some level of housing instability in Pierce County. These are struggling families and vulnerable individuals who spent the previous night on the street, in a shelter, in a place not meant for human habitation, as well as those fleeing from domestic violence.

Rev. Martin Yabroff of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, a member of Associated Ministries’ Board of Directors, will host the gatherings; he invites all people of faith and goodwill to attend to learn more about how to assist those experiencing homelessness in Pierce County.

For more information or to RSVP, please contact AM Communications at communications@associatedministries.org.

How People of Faith & Goodwill Can Address Homelessness

The crisis is real: during the past 11 months, Associated Ministries interacted with 7,212 households that were experiencing some level of housing instability in Pierce County. These are struggling families and vulnerable individuals who spent the previous night on the street, in a shelter, in a place not meant for human habitation, as well as those fleeing from domestic violence.

So what does this number mean? It represents those who have reached out to the Coordinated Entry System (CES), Pierce County’s Homeless Crisis Response System for help, and were determined to be genuinely homeless. The CES is a partnership of Associated Ministries, Catholic Community Services, Greater Lakes Mental Healthcare and Comprehensive Life Resources and is funded by Pierce County Community Connections.

What can people of faith and goodwill in our community do to address the growing challenge of homelessness? To begin, attend one of two interactive learning sessions regarding homelessness in Pierce County on Jan. 19 or 24. Participants will come away with a better understanding of this crisis and will be briefed on the assistance programs that are available, as well as the work that remains to be done.

We are grateful to Rev. Martin Yabroff of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church and Rev. Dr. Eric Jackson of Bethlehem Baptist Church, both members of Associated Ministries’ Board of Directors, who will host the gatherings. “I hope that as many congregations as possible will be represented to learn about the Homeless Crisis Response System,” said Rev. Yabroff.

Rev. Jackson added, “Often those who need assistance the most don’t know how to tap into the necessary resources. This is the same case with congregations and various faith institutions who seek to support those without a place to call ‘home.’ I personally invite you to attend these meetings and learn about the Homeless Crisis Response System, who should be referred and how to navigate the system. Most importantly, we’ll be better equipped to respond to our community’s homelessness crisis.” 

Two opportunities have been scheduled share an overview of homelessness in Pierce County and how the Coordinated Entry System is being designed to address it:

  • St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, hosted by Rev. Martin Yabroff at 7410 South 12th Street, Tacoma, WA 98465 on Thurs., Jan. 19th at 1-3pm.
  • Bethlehem Baptist Church, hosted by Rev. Dr. Eric Jackson at 4818 East Portland Ave, Tacoma, WA 98404 on Tues., Jan. 24th at 6-8pm.

For more information or to RSVP, please contact us at communications@associatedministries.org.

Youth homelessness program closing December 1

Associated Ministries (AM) is sad to announce that by the end of December, after 3 years in operation, the Youth Advancement & Housing (YAH) program will be closing operations of the two residences in the Graham area.

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The YAH young men’s residence.

Every year the YAH program successfully received competitive funding through Pierce County Community Connections to operate this vital program in the Bethel School District. But in addition to being competitive, funding for transitional housing programs has continued to decrease over the last 2 years in Pierce County and throughout the nation. Tough decisions were made to best manage the very limited resources that are available within the homeless system and this year YAH and several other programs did not receive the level of funding they requested.

bethel-girls-home

The YAH young women’s residence.

This news has been met with deep sadness and concern from our young adult clients still living in the YAH homes. Associated Ministries is committed to preventing all of our residents from entering homelessness following the closure of the YAH program and AM staff are working with them to find immediate housing.

We would like to extend our immense gratitude to our esteemed partner and guide, the Bethel School District, for working alongside Associated Ministries over the last 3 years, devoted to the well-being of students experiencing homelessness in their district. Thank you for helping us and the entire community understand the persistent work and heart necessary to ensure that unincorporated Pierce County has advocates and resources for the most marginalized members of their community.

We are also grateful to the Spanapark Lions, Eagle Scouts, Kiwanis Rotary Club, Key Bank, and so many more individual community members who hoped to support and connect with YAH residents. Thank you all.

Our hopes for solutions does not end with the YAH program. Associated Ministries will continue to build relationships and partner with others in the cause of ending child, youth and young adult homelessness throughout Pierce County.

Local grass-roots collective “Helping the Homeless of Tacoma”

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Members of HHT pass out food and supplies to local homeless, including Janelle Winstead and her children. (Photo credit/Carolyn Schneider)

With the mission of uniting people of faith to build stronger communities, Associated Ministries works very closely with a number of local nonprofits and organizations serving those who need our help. We continue to be inspired by each and every one, including a band of local do-gooders who call themselves “Helping the Homeless of Tacoma.”

This grass-roots collective provides food, clothing, toiletries and love to people experiencing homelessness. They also hold impromptu and informal events they call Pizza Love, Guac Love, etc. where they gather hot meals and distribute them to anyone in need.

“We’ve distributed food, tents, sleeping bags, tarps, clothing items of all sorts, lots of batteries, radios, flashlights, hand and foot warmers, diapers for infants and adults, vitamins, pet items and countless other items,” said Ana Maria Sierra, a founding member. “Pizza Love is simply a mobile pizza party for our homeless friends with a dash of love thrown in. It was started by a community of love and naturally, we had to spread this great idea around.”

They began their efforts simply by recognizing an opportunity in their community to do something good for their neighbors.

“Initially, neighbors, friends, and acquaintances responded to my Facebook posts about reaching out to our homeless community person-to-person, without intermediaries,” said Sierra. “Then, friends and neighbors offered to drop off blankets, food and other things on my front porch. Next, they asked if they could join me on the street. As the conversation grew, Carolyn Schneider said we should start a group and she started ‘Helping the Homeless of Tacoma’ group on Facebook.”

HHT also provides outreach in the form of local services which they recommend, including putting people in touch with AM.

“We listen to our homeless friends,” said Sierra. “If they express a need or desire for specific kinds of help such as housing, we refer them to AM and Nativity House. For education or work support we have provided them with Courage360 pamphlets.”

These individuals graciously recognize the city’s companies and nonprofits who are already contributing to the HHT mission.

“Someone had the idea to contact Harbor Greens and we know they have really yummy pizza,” said Sierra. “We just shared with them what we’re doing and asked if they could offer us a discount. And they did. They were very generous and those pizzas were very much appreciated.

“The Little Caesar’s on Pearl St. helped us out a lot. They provided a discount and we used coupons. They’re very nice people and made it as economical as possible. AM is our ‘hub’ for getting people help. They know everyone and everything about helping our [homeless] community. We’ve also taken donations directly to Nativity House, Saint Leo’s, the Rescue Mission and Courage360.”

The doors to HHT are open to any and all who wish to participate. Sierra asks that anyone seeking to help the HHT network to feel free to donate time or items to their ongoing pool by joining their Facebook group “Helping the Homeless of Tacoma” and creating a post or comment reaching out to members who can coordinate a drop-off location.

The most important assistance anyone can give someone experiencing homelessness, Sierra says, is to acknowledge them with a warm greeting.

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A local person experiencing homelessness thanks a HHT member for passing out fresh pizzas during one of their Pizza Love events. (Photo credit/Carolyn Schneider)

“Look at our homeless friends without judgement, see a human being – not a problem – and just say ‘hello.’”

This group does exactly what it intends to do: spreading love and compassion throughout the community. After reading their stories and viewing their photos of these random acts of kindness, you may find yourself giving away extra snacks or toiletries you have on hand. You might eventually find yourself carrying a surplus around just in case you make a homeless friend of your own.

These inspiring locals are truly causing a ripple effect in Tacoma that continues to touch lives!

Featured Photo: Ana Maria Sierra, HHT founding member, and Beth Siltman, HHT member, gathering discounted pizzas from local restaurant Harbor Greens to pass out to local homeless as part of a Pizza Love event. 

Community Meeting on Homelessness in Pierce County

As evidenced here http://thesubtimes.com/2016/04/30/unsheltered-homelessness-up-37-in-pierce-county/ and in other articles, Pierce County, like many communities along the West Coast, is experiencing higher numbers of people who are unsheltered.  In response, Pierce County Community Connections and the Corporation for Supportive Housing (www.csh.org) are hosting a weeklong Charrette to hear from experts and hold a community wide discussion on solutions to the issue of people who are homeless and sleeping outside. 

I’d like you to be part of this process by attending one of the day long sessions. One is in Tacoma – on June 21; the other is in Parkland – on June 22. The topics at each will be the same (see attachments for details). You can participate all day or you may choose to attend the session that most suits your interests. Additionally, CSH will be facilitating a feedback session at Bates Technical College 1101 S Yakima Ave, Tacoma from 10:00 to 11:30 on Friday June 24th to provide draft recommendations from the two days of discussion.  

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016
9am-5pm
Bates Technical College
1101 S Yakima Ave, Tacoma, WA 98405
9-9:30 Introduction – Homelessness in Pierce County
9:30-11:30 Permanent & temporary housing options
12:30-2:30 Services including outreach and engagement
3-5 Maximizing Community Resources

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016
9am-5pm
Pierce County Library Admin Building
2005 112th St E, Tacoma, WA 98466
9-9:30 Introduction – Homelessness in Pierce County
9:30-11:30 Permanent & temporary housing options
12:30-2:30 Services including outreach and engagement
3-5 Maximizing Community Resources

The Charrette is a process that allows for a wide variety of people from different backgrounds and experiences to understand the scope of the problem and come together for solutions. CSH uses a modified fishbowl process to ensure maximum participation among diverse stakeholders. Key experts will have a conversation that will set the stage for a larger group discussion. More information on Charrettes is available here: http://www.csh.org/csh-solutions/community-work/local-planning/charrette-workshops/ .

Space will be limited at each site, so please RSVP as soon as possible to nui.bezaire@csh.org. Light snacks will be offered in the morning and the afternoon, however lunch is on your own. 

 Your participation will make the conversation richer – I hope you can join us.

Pierce County Charrette Flyer June 21-22_Page_1

Pierce County Charrette Flyer June 21-22_Page_2

Community Meeting on Homelessness in Pierce County

As evidenced here http://thesubtimes.com/2016/04/30/unsheltered-homelessness-up-37-in-pierce-county/ and in other articles, Pierce County, like many communities along the West Coast, is experiencing higher numbers of people who are unsheltered.  In response, Pierce County Community Connections and the Corporation for Supportive Housing (www.csh.org) are hosting a weeklong Charrette to hear from experts and hold a community wide discussion on solutions to the issue of people who are homeless and sleeping outside. 

I’d like you to be part of this process by attending one of the day long sessions. One is in Tacoma – on June 21; the other is in Parkland – on June 22. The topics at each will be the same (see attachments for details). You can participate all day or you may choose to attend the session that most suits your interests. Additionally, CSH will be facilitating a feedback session at Bates Technical College 1101 S Yakima Ave, Tacoma from 10:00 to 11:30 on Friday June 24th to provide draft recommendations from the two days of discussion.  

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016
9am-5pm
Bates Technical College
1101 S Yakima Ave, Tacoma, WA 98405
9-9:30 Introduction – Homelessness in Pierce County
9:30-11:30 Permanent & temporary housing options
12:30-2:30 Services including outreach and engagement
3-5 Maximizing Community Resources

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016
9am-5pm
Pierce County Library Admin Building
2005 112th St E, Tacoma, WA 98466
9-9:30 Introduction – Homelessness in Pierce County
9:30-11:30 Permanent & temporary housing options
12:30-2:30 Services including outreach and engagement
3-5 Maximizing Community Resources

The Charrette is a process that allows for a wide variety of people from different backgrounds and experiences to understand the scope of the problem and come together for solutions. CSH uses a modified fishbowl process to ensure maximum participation among diverse stakeholders. Key experts will have a conversation that will set the stage for a larger group discussion. More information on Charrettes is available here: http://www.csh.org/csh-solutions/community-work/local-planning/charrette-workshops/ .

Space will be limited at each site, so please RSVP as soon as possible to nui.bezaire@csh.org. Light snacks will be offered in the morning and the afternoon, however lunch is on your own. 

 Your participation will make the conversation richer – I hope you can join us.

Pierce County Charrette Flyer June 21-22_Page_1

Pierce County Charrette Flyer June 21-22_Page_2

Working Together, We Will End Homelessness in Pierce County

By Valorie Crout, Chief Program Officer for Associated Ministries

 

What a hopeful time to be working within the service community in Pierce County!

Together, we are steadily working towards “right sizing” the homeless system. What does that mean? Ultimately it means individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness will be housed and get resources and services they need to thrive.  The end goal for the providers in Pierce County is to make homelessness rare, one-time and short-term.

By working together collectively, we are not only recognizing barriers that prevent households from effectively using the homeless prevention system, we are working together to eliminate those barriers.  The partnerships we’ve formed with synergy around ending homelessness have been a ray of hope.  As the Chief Program Officer for Associated Ministries, I am truly thankful to be a part of this process, even in just a small way.

Associated Ministries offers to be a stronger partner organization while still providing services that are centered on the people we serve.  Coming up with new and innovative solutions is exciting, filled both with joyful moments as well as challenging ones. We expect to give our best in creativity and adaptive leadership. No matter the challenge, we are committed to take them on with what I like to call the “old school” approach–by working together!  We are recommitting ourselves to strengthening strong relationships with our peers to help remind us of what is possible.

As we begin this new year, Associated Ministries will work to better educate the community about homelessness in Pierce County. There is a lot we have learned since 2011 when we first created AP4H, Pierce County’s Centralized Intake Center for individuals and families experiencing homelessness. We are committed to sharing the voice of those who are unable to be heard.

We will continue to share important data that shows the face of homelessness in Pierce County. We will clearly show how homelessness impacts not just the individual or family sleeping in the car or on the streets but all of us in the community.

The effects of homelessness upon a mother or father sleeping on the streets with a child are obviously quite different than for a single person who has never experienced homelessness.  We cannot even imagine the heartache that a parent goes through to find a safe place for his or her child to sleep at night.  To enable long-term and systemic change, we need to understand the responsibility (and power) we hold as community members to end homelessness.

By working together, we can end homelessness in Pierce County!

You can follow along or, better yet, be part of our journey to end homelessness. For current information about homelessness in Pierce County, please visit our website at www.associatedministries.org.

Should you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me via email at valoriec@associatedministries.org or by phone at 253-383-3056 ext. 108. You can also contact Tammy Boros, AP4H Director, via email at tammyb@associatedministries.org or by phone at 253-383-3056 ext. 145.