Tacoma Pierce County Coalition to End Homelessness Provider Meeting Minutes – December 7th, 2018



·         James Pogue, Comprehensive Life Resources

·         Love seeing new folks here – or maybe you aren’t new and I’m losing my mind  

·         Having our year in review next Friday with a celebration

·         Don’t forget the new website (http://www.pchomeless.org/ ) with a listserv (sign up at http://www.pchomeless.org/Home/Listserv/ )


Shelter253 Goals

·         Martha Sheppard, Tacoma Salvation Army - martha.sheppard@usw.salvationarmy.org

·         Last Friday, as a result of this coalition.  We started Shelter253 – it is a training program for volunteers to learn how to help in a shelter (or start a shelter), and now even more -

o   2 challenging tasks

§  Provide safe shelter for everyone in need

§  Connect people with the resources they need

o   5 no-compromise values

§  Compassion – meet basic needs of people without judgement (it is helping the judgmental people that is a bit of a challenge –ed.)

§  Empathy – share the healing message of “you are not alone”

§  Respect – treat all people with dignity, respect, and with ethical standards

§  Competence  - using best practices in what we do

§  Collaboration – involve the community, our faith, and the guests themselves

·         We purposely have folks from all the shelters there – and the non-shelters that are out there, and new day shelters coming up

·         Everyone should go to Coordinated Entry

o   3 bodacious goals (I thought for sure “bodacious” was a modern word, but a quick check of the OED shows it is from at least as far back as 1845. It did have a relatively recent resurgence, often attributed to the under-appreciated cinematic masterpiece, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCehmc_YrEI   –ed)

§  Add 200 more volunteers - Create hands on volunteer opportunities for the community

·         Local shelters

·         Cold weather shelters

·         Street outreach

§  Deepen our community and congregational relationships

·         Get 50 churches involved

§  3 new shelters

·         Explore other partnerships to better serve our community and those without housing

·         Enough capacity year around in Tacoma for families and/or single women and everyone

·         Cold weather shelter in Gig Harbor

·         Family shelter in East Pierce County

·         Youth Shelter

·         Day Shelter

·         The Single adult shelters are opening their doors each night –but some folks can’t make it there – those with walkers have trouble getting to the shelter.  We can better serve them

o   Special Teams

§  Cold Weather shelters

§  Day Centers

§  Welcome Home Mentoring Program

o   Had 20 folks trained here this week, hoping for more in Puyallup tomorrow

·         Coley – how about minors.  Martha – excited about Coffee Oasis – but only 6 beds. 

·         Mitch – Bonney Lake is desperate for an Adams street type Family Shelter (or one that serves both single adults and families). 

·         Pastor Steve Sharp – We run the Family Growth Center – North 26th in Tacoma – off Pearl. 

·         ? - Adams family doesn’t have capacity.  Martha – Pierce County is a priority

·         Charleen – new hope resource center – was there last week – they were packed. 

·         Theresa – love the idea of an elder shelter – with a minimum age, not just disability.  Like the idea of a women’s shelter – so many folks get assaulted.  Martha – is very frustrated by folks getting assaulted.  ? – if folks are exchanging sex for something – they qualify for our services.

·         James – couples without kids, and medically fragile – transition from hospital – can’t discharge from shelter because they need more assistance. 

·         Al – Talked to crime victim compensation? 

·         Brendan – seniors who are vulnerable but don’t need skilled nursing – but dementia is kicking in, but they aren’t qualifying for the funding.  They often forget shelter rules, which can make it hard to get into and stay in shelters.  Martha – our challenge is that folks look ok to the doctor, but the doctor doesn’t get a good understanding of their dementia. 

·         Martha – will the Family Housing Network day shelter serve just families. Delmar – yes, just families

·         Pastor – lots of folks need shelter for folks with pets.  Martha – We try to make things work, if at all possible, so people can come in from the cold.

·         Martha - Send me questions - martha.sheppard@usw.salvationarmy.org


McKinney Vento Forum

(for the record, these folks were really fast talkers.  I apologize or any errors.  It is also possible I mixed up speakers once or twice – sorry folks. –ed)

·         Samie Iverson, Tacoma School District, McKinney-Vento - siverso@Tacoma.K12.Wa.US - 253-571-6781

·         Christiane Paget, Tacoma School District - Foster Care Liaison - cpaget@tacoma.k12.wa.us - 253-571-6774

·         Claudia Miller, Franklin Pierce School District, Family Engagement coordinator - clmiller@fpschools.org  - 253-298-3036

·         Linda Seferian, McKinney Vento Liaison, Tacoma Public Schools - lseferi@tacoma.k12.wa.us - 253-571-6791

·         Merilee Hill Anderson, Director of Community Engagement, Sumner-Bonney Lake School District

·         Review defining pieces of McKinney-Vento Act

·         Sammy – 2nd year at School district , but came from the housing world.

·         Homeless Assistance Act – federal law, ensures immediate enrollment and educational stability for homeless youth (read the whole thing at https://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/esea02/pg116.html -ed)

·         Who qualifies?

o   Children who lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence.

o   Could be the literally homeless definition

o   Includes doubled up – staying at grandmas and then at sisters and then in car.  This is 2/3 to 75% of families

o   Unaccompanied youth – numbers are growing – it is defined as any student not in physical custody of parent or guardian

·         We identify them through the building staff and enrollment process.  Every enrollment packet has a housing questionnaire – if you  mark a certain box it qualifies you for services.  That is the main way students are identified

·         The roles of McKinney-Vento are all encompassing

o   Promotes school stability

o   Coordinate transportation

o   Crisis response

o   Simplifies enrollment

o   Immediate access to free breakfast and lunch (sign me up –ed.)

o   Referrals to community resources for students and families

o   Offer dispute resolution

o   Training and consultation for schools staff

o   Community advocacy

o   Goal –we are here to support

o   City of Tacoma – homeless student stability grant – which pays for my position

o   I do direct service and a lot of community outreach.

·         Christiane – foster care liaison role

o   Serves kids that are out of home 24 hours a day in the custody off the state or in homes or in federal jurisdiction.

o   Foster care used to fit under McKinney-Vento – but that changed in 2016.  They are now covered the entire time they are in care of the state. 

o   Works with Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) to explain the school system

o   Explain to school folks what the Department of Children, Youth and Families needs (I’m thinking a cooler acronym than DCYF, for starters –ed) 

o   Work to help both the foster care and the school come together for the best interest of the kids

o   Kids must remain in their school of origin unless it isn’t really in the best interest of the children – we have that discussion with the social workers

o   Make sure they are signed up for free lunch and for transportation requests

·         McKinney-Vento and Foster Care Data

o   Franklin Pierce School District

§  2017-2018 full school year

·         McKinney-Vento Students: 377

§  2018-2019 Year to date

·         McKinney-Vento Students: 231

·         Foster Care: 65

o   Sumner-Bonney Lake School District

§  2017-2018 full school year

·         McKinney-Vento Students: 269

·         Foster Care: 78

§  2018-2019 Year to date

·         McKinney-Vento Students: 127

·         Foster Care: 53

o   Tacoma School District

§  2017-2018 full school year

·         McKinney-Vento Students: 1933

·         Foster Care: 572

§  2018-2019 Year to date

·         McKinney-Vento Students: 1206

·         Foster Care: 298

·         You now get McKinneny-Vento supports all year if you start the year with it.

·         Panel Question 1 – how does you district support McKinney-Vento and foster care kids

o   Christiane – Tacoma School District

§  We do free lunch,

§  Set up transportation

§  Get involved with significant truancy or behavior issues

§  Make referrals to community programs. 

§  Uniforms and the clothes are covered by the foster parents or the state – but make sure that those needs gets done

o   Claudia –Franklin Pierce School District

§  Lots of process is modelled after Tacoma. 

§  Prior to me, no one directly responsible for McKinney-Vento.

§  Identify kids through office managers at enrollment and throughout the year. 

§  Connect to housing resources

§  Have some clothing fun – funding from title 1 – to get kids school supplies and clothing.  We get creative about what kids might need.  Want to give all Mckinney-Vento kids same experiences as their housed peers.  Want them to have clothing they feel proud of.

§  I am a resource hustler – we don’t have a lot of support services in our area – and limited transportation routes.  Work with faith-based partners.   Youth need to  be served with dignity and respect. 

o   Linda – Tacoma School District

§  Tacoma last 5 years – grown with grants and foster care – Linda Martin and I share the district.

§  Train office staff to make sure students get in as soon as possible.  New students should start school the day after they walk in the office to enroll (This is great that next day enrollment is available for McKinney-Vento students, but hopefully our School Districts can make this a goal for all students.  Changing schools is disruptive for all students.  Just sayin’ –ed).

§  We struggle with transportation – takes 5-10 day to get transportation going.

§  Offer academic support

§  We work one-on-one with unaccompanied youth – work with finding community supports to mentor them   

§  Do a fund raiser – $5-$6k for gas cards and emergency food cards, if you can’t eat you won’t get to school.  If you aren’t comfortable in your clothes, you can’t get to school.    

o   Merilee - Sumner and Bonney lake School District

§  Every school district has to take care of the legal mandates – we are monitored every year.  If we have grants – they expect evidence that we are out in the community.  You should see McKinney-Vento signs at food banks, laundromats, etc. 

§  We talk about removing barriers to attending school

§  Providing extra academic support

§  Kids don’t come with the same story.  We need to find out the story of every child and tailor our response to the need of the kids and their families – family outreach is a bit part of what we do.

§  Housing pressure is making it harder to be poor in the outlying areas

§  Our McKinney-Vento liaison has a team where she can pass off supports to other staff

§  Community connections – James Pogue just spoke with a group – he saw the community coalition that is there to support students.  We are tightly connected in the Sumner and Bonney Lake area

§  We continue to struggle with shelter

·         Panel Question 2  – share a story of how McKinney-Vento or Foster Case supports helped a student

o   Christiane – Tacoma School District - There is a situation with a student that was struggling – they come with a history of trauma.  The student who was also special education – which limits what the school can do around behavior by requiring schools to make sure the discipline takes a disability into account.  The school didn’t understand the Department of Children, Youth and Families side of things and the social worker didn’t understand the school’s side of things.  Did a referral to Tree House – who noticed things on the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) that weren’t accurate and some things that were missing and a diagnosis that was missing.  The behavior plan was not appropriate for the child.  There was a lot of confusion about how to make decisions.  A lot of adults have a say in the plans for the youth -the state as the legal guardian, the parents, if not terminated rights, have a say,  the foster parents have a role.  Work with all these parties to make sure the discipline was appropriate and the student got back to school  This was me brining all the right people (legally) to the table.  Kids in foster care have a much higher chance of being homeless.  At age 17 1/2, kids in foster care need a meeting about their future.  Kids can now go back and forth into foster care after they reach 18.  There are programs that will pay some of the rent for kids to live on their own after 18. 

o   Claudia –Franklin Pierce School District - Often our students are impacted by multiple system – can be in foster care one day, homeless the next, return to parents, bouncing around.  We had a young man at an alternative schools with lots of homeless youth.  It seems like the holidays are the happiest, but for families in transition, it puts to the forefront what they don’t have.  It helps me re-center myself about the things we get to have every day.  We had a young man that had winter wishes - $25 or less – all he wanted was a mini-fridge to keep his own food – so he could plug it in somewhere to keep his food.  We got him the mini fridge through Home Economics funds.  He was in tears when he go that fridge, and so was I – he was so happy to get something that belonged to him. 

o   Linda – Tacoma School District - I’m thinking of a family at the beginning of this year – who are chronically homeless, in a shelter for a bit – parent has some mental health needs – has a 10 year old son.  Had trouble getting to mental health treatment because of housing instability.  Always got kid to school, though – parent was always looking for transportation resources.  In our land, we do the immediate – try to get them in school and get their bus – that family needed the wrap around approach.  Connecting with the community is so important.  We were working with a church that had a member who had a rental house that was available and wanted to work with one of our families.  We had every system involved – needed to be rapid rehousing – so they went into the Coordinated Entry System.  The house was a cute one bedroom – mom and son were ecstatic.  With housing stability handled – got Comprehensive Life Resources mental health resources.  Now, mother is stable, and son is doing community soccer.  That was a feel good family where everyone in the community made it happen.  It is such a community piece – that is the only way we can help the family.  We have little control over housing and shelter  - but do what we can.  This family had everyone’s hands in it.  I’m glad they are stable. 

o   Merilee - Sumner and Bonney lake School District – a mom and a son were running across their parking lot yelling “Merilee, Merilee”.  I said how are you.  She said thanks for your help – we are in an apartment in Sumner.  We help make it work where the system is not working for our families.  66-85% do not qualify for housing resources – because they are doubled up.  That family was doubled up.  Here are the system barriers – she is fleeing DV – but she’s fleeing from someone abusing her son.  First visit was 2 hours, the second visit was 2 more hours.  She was in that housing situation with her own parents – and the whole family was threatened with eviction.  Then they were in a motel paid for by a charity making them eligible for coordinated entry.   Got a free, 3-month voucher at Gordon YMCA in Sumner – these kids had no place to runaround – they could take classes, a shower, have safe structured activities.  Got basic supplies, extra food, holiday support, worked with the school counselor.  Mom was finally able to sprout wings.   When mom moved around to these different residences, we had to make sure the school bus follows them around so they can keep getting to school. 

o   Claudia – we collaborate together within the MV system – across districts.  It is great to work together as our kids move around.

·         Whether you are doubled up or literally homeless, the effect is the same at school because the instability is there.  If we can get a kid to school and can partner with a housing provider to get them housing, we have done something amazing.

·         Maureen – I was someone who lobbied for McKinney-Vento at the federal level.  This is how we imagined it would help our students.  Thank you.

·         Larry – there is lots of pressure on superintendents and school boards to graduate students – your kids must be 1/3 or ½ of the kids who don’t graduate.  Do you feel the administrators are organized to get your kids to graduation.  Franklin Pierce – 100% of identified McKinney-Vento students graduated.  We made sure they got credit where credit was earned.  We worked harder to give credit where the deserved it and the law is helping us out that way.  Sumner – our kids seem to get more and more help.  A 5th grader got burned out of their house – but the Coordinated Entry System is too difficult to access for housing resources.  Theresa – as one of those former foster kids and drop outs myself – even though the system wasn’t great then – it helped people.  Thanks for what you do.  Being an unaccompanied youth and being in the foster system, how is assistance with dispute resolution?  How do you follow kids in the juvenile justice system.  Claudia - I already have a soft spot for kids in the juvenile justice system.  We work with counselors and administrations to put a safety plan together and to work with parole officers and get them resources.  Dispute resolution – when families are saying they are homeless and there is evidence to the contrary – we error on the side of giving services until it is resolved.  Need help between youth and their foster parents.  We refer a lot of folks to the Department of Youth, Children and Families.  When foster homes have conflict with the youth, we work to facilitate family reconciliation services, or McKinney-Vento takes on the role of doing dispute resolution.    We often get our hands dirty – will meet with parents and kids and then help them to get on-going services.  We do it, but it isn’t formalized. 

·         James – from those numbers – are there folks identified but not enrolled.  Does the head of household identify and enroll?  Linda – kids can identify and enroll.  We don’t need to make contact with the family to enroll.  James - A 10 year old or 7 year old could do self-identify and get enrolled?  Linda -yes. 

·         Michelle – my daughter is a 2017 graduate – received services from McKinney-Vento.  She was pregnant, but with McKinney-Vento Support, was able to graduate

·         Gerrit – CE changes are coming through that will  make the system more responsive.  We understand the struggles connecting our clients to the homeless system and have a plan to dramatically improve things. 

·         Dru – it is hard to add up the credits for kids that move around – thanks for all you do to get these kids graduated.


Maureen’s Musings

·         Maureen Howard, Homeless Advocate - maureenhowardconsulting@gmail.com

·         Advocacy work – the rental housing code has passed in the City – it does into effect Feb. 1st.  The first part was changed for a 60 day notice prior to a rent increase – only the city of Tacoma.  One of the conversations I’ve had with ChiQuata Elder (City of Tacoma Landlord Tenant Coordinator) over the months – the City of Tacoma is looking at website or FAQs to spread information about tenant rights.  The City has 50 pages of Q&As on Liquefied Natural Gas – so they are willing to publish lots of information.  What info about rental housing law in the City of Tacoma do you need for the work that you do, for the clients that you serve, and how do you want that information.  Do you want webinars, Youtube videos, tweets, Q&As, etc?  Think about how you need the information for the work you do.  How do your clients need the information.   You can e-mail ChiQuata (celder@ci.tacoma.wa.us ) or check in with the Advocacy group. 

·         I don’t think the rental app fee (and that is all I have for this sentence – sorry Maureen)

·         The legal right to council in the case of eviction is the single best thing to stop evictions

·         I run something called Maureen’s Musing – I have a zillion years of advocacy and working on homelessness – Nativity House came from Last Chance Shelter from the Last Chance Bar which employed only homeless.  Let me know if you’d like to be on my newsletter – which comes out when .  When we all say the same thing, the better we can get what we want (amen –ed).  I have time, which is nice – so I have all these legislative agendas for boards and am working my way through how to be useful to you all.  That is it – thanks for listening, and thanks for letting me join you. (oh no, thank you. –ed)

·         I have kept the record of hundreds of the public talks I’ve done and put my story together.  I was thinking of the elderly people.  I saw a talk I did from 1984 about single elderly homeless women.  Had a gal in her 70’s, No social security, no mental health centers, came to the last chance shelter – a men’s shelter, because that is where she was comfortable. (there was more to this story, but my notes end here – so you’ll just have to ask Maureen for the Rest of the Story. –ed)  


Good of the Order

·         James – our goal is to take our resources and leverage them to the max – we all can make those changes happen.

·         James – we share resource on the listserv in real time. 

·         Al Ratcliffe

o   Excited about low income housing article in the paper today

o   Excited aobut TRM employment program

o   The requirement to get a fresh screening each time you apply to an apartment.  Got a message fromt eh volunteer legal services that allows for a portable screening.  Legal services is working on proposing a requirement.  We need to stand by if we need to apply public pressure.  We need to make sure leaders from your organziations are behind that.

·         Larry - Emily Randall, a candidate who attended one of our candidate forums, was elected to office – it is great that someone who spent time to learn about  homelessness from us is in office

·         John – during inclement weather, The Tacoma Rescue Mission Downtown shelter is open 24 hours a day – no one is turned away at night (same story for the Nativity House Shelter –ed.)

·         Greg – something about the Army and Navy and football (I didn’t quite catch this; when he said football I was too busy thinking about the upcoming UW Huskies appearance in this year’s Rose Bowl – the granddaddy of them all - to properly take notes.  You understand how it is sometimes –ed.)


Coming Attractions

·         December 21st – No Meeting

·         December 28th – No Meeting

·         January 4th – Land Use Code changes in Pierce County along transit routes

·         January 11th – Coordinated Care and possible talk with Senator Darnielle

·         January 18th – possible presentation about new Puyallup Community Resource Fair coordinated by the Puyallup Community Court 

·         January 25th – Point in Time Count

·         February 1st – Panel discussion: are expensive dinners with your sweetie on February 14th a fitting remembers of the Martyrdom of Saint Valentine, a ham-fisted attempt to supersede the pagan holiday Lupercalia, or just another way to make me feel bad for lacking the romantic flourish so desired in Rom-Coms.  Join our panel of experts, including a literature professor specializing in Chaucer, a pagan caterer, and hopefully the Pope himself (the invitation is in the mail as you this is being written) to hear the arguments and make your own decision.


Restaurant Review

I’m a sucker for street food – love it.  In Tacoma, there isn’t much to be found.  While the new restaurant Indo Asian Street Eatery (http://indostreeteatery.com/ ) isn’t anything like a food truck or street vendor, they put together a best-hits menu of street food from across East Asia.  Located in the Stadium District (110 N Tacoma Ave), I’m easily the least hip person in the restaurant, but I stopped caring about that years ago.  There is an energy that the young provide that is present in spades here.  I also adore the décor – you walk in to seating around an open fire, and then tables and booths provide the perfect blend of intimacy and openness.  And the food is great.  I love dumplings, fritters, egg rolls, spring rolls, Shumai, Satay, lettuce wraps, green papaya salad (an underappreciated dish - what is it about dried shrimp, chilis and shredded green papaya that is so amazing) – really everything on their menu.  Typically I avoid the entrees, but my son ordered the miso salmon, and it was stellar.  But I can speak better to their take on street food (served in the comfort of your table).  Service has been spot on – ready to roll with however you want the meal to go.  Prices aren’t cheap, but not crazy either.  The dishes come from Thailand, Korea, Japan, and Vietnam – all cuisines I’m in love with.  If you’re looking for some tasty bites in an stellar atmosphere, I highly recommend at stop at the Asian Street Eatery. 



·         John Smith, Tacoma Rescue Mission. 

·         Coley Wiley, Comprehensive Life Resources

·         Patty Schneider, Catholic Community Services

·         Greg Walker, Valeo Vocation

·         Mitch Austin, Valeo Vocation

·         Brandon Ault, Catholic Community Services

·         Dru Gonia, Tacoma Salvation Army

·         Alexis Eykel, Landlord Liaison Program

·         Charleen Fitzgerald, Coordinated Care

·         Kristinia Argent, Volunteer

·         Sheila Miraflor, Molina Healthcare

·         Kathleen Essary, Employment Pipeline

·         Patricia Menzies, Tent City Tacoma

·         Larry Seaquist, League of Women Voters

·         Cynthia Stewart, League of women Voters

·         Jessica Arteaga, Comprehensive Life Resources

·         Audrey Goulart, Sexual Assault Center of Pierce County

·         Nataly Renteria, Amerigroup

·         RoxAnne Simon, Safe Streets

·         Theresa Power-Drutis – stocking donations are going well – Kristinia is my new best friend (she was my friend first –ed.)

·         Matt Jorgensen, City of Tacoma

·         Steve Sharp, Abundant Grace Church, Faith House Ministries, Family Growth Center

·         Michelle Sharp, Abundant Grace Church, Faith House Ministries, Family Growth Center

·         Clarissa Cross, Comprehensive Life Resources

·         Brandon Chun, Metropolitan Development Council

·         Elaine Tuisila, Metropolitan Development Council

·         Gilbert Olivera, Tacoma Rescue Mission

·         Justin Tillis, Tacoma Rescue Mission

·         Joseph Denton, Sound Outreach

·         Meridee Heimlich, Step by Step

·         Maureen Howard, Housing Advocate

·         Emily Ness, Tacoma Pierce County Health Department

·         Collins Guzhah, Metropolitan Development Council (that is what the letters in the last name looked like, but I’m not guaranteeing I got it right – sorry about that –ed.)

·         Becket Harvey, Catholic Community Services

·         Brendan Baker, Veterans Administration

·         Delmar Algee, Catholic Community Services

·         Christine Paget, Tacoma Public Schools

·         Linda Seferian, Tacoma Public Schools

·         Claudia Miller, Franklin Pierce Schools

·         Marilee Hill-Anderson, Sumner-Bonney Lake School District

·         Samie Iverson, Tacoma Public Schools

·         Al Ratcliffe, Me

·         Laurel Dunn-Scott, Industrial Workers of the World

·         Alexandra Mather, Pierce Transit

·         Rey Bruce Walmer, Crossing Bridges      




Gerrit F. Nyland

Director of Client Information Systems, SW

Catholic Community Services of Western Washington


Mobile: 253-304-5105