COMMUNITY IMPACT Colin DeForrest,
City of Tacoma, Neighborhood and Community Services
As the City’s Homeless Services Manager, Colin has worked in encampments for years to identify locations, frequently re-occupied sites, density, and inhabitants. He is considered the resident expert on encampments, homeless issues, and Housing First programs. Colin has been steadfast in explaining to city and county officials about the culture and hierarchy of encampments, and advising them on clean-up efforts, including how to successfully engage occupants and address chronic homelessness. Colin has also become the face of the City of Tacoma to people experiencing homelessness.
Colin was pivotal to the successful launch of the city’s Emergency Aid and Shelter Project after the Homeless Emergency Declaration. He helped strategize, and his connections and credibility with encampment leaders helped secure the cooperation of those occupying the sites. He was at the Compound Encampment daily, the most densely populated site with extreme safety and health issues. With his involvement, over 80 people were given access to basic amenities such as toilets, hand washing, and potable water. Most of these folks transitioned to the Stabilization Site, in large part due to Colin’s constant interaction and reassurance. Colin has been a tireless advocate for those most vulnerable in our community, and a committed public servant in the arena of homelessness.
SUSTAINABILITY Bay Terrace Phase I and II,
GGLO Design, Inc. and Absher Construction Co.
Tacoma Housing Authority explored options to revitalize housing at what is now called Bay Terrace, the GGLO and Absher redevelopment consisting of 144 new homes and townhouses. The entire block was redesigned to include two mid-rise buildings, seven townhome-style buildings and a 7,000 sf community education center. There are 1-3 bedroom units, community gardens and common open spaces throughout. The architect and builder fostered collaboration from the early stages, including owner involvement and cost-effective strategies for energy, water, materials, maintenance, and operational efficiencies. The whole project team was aware of the sustainability goals throughout the design, bidding, and construction phases. Results include drought tolerant vegetation and high-efficiency irrigation; low-flow faucets and showers, and high-efficiency toilets; energy efficient lighting and controls projected to create an energy cost savings of approximately 24% relative to conventionally designed mid-rise buildings; low-emitting paints, sealants, carpeting, linoleum and cabinetry; and 95% of construction waste diverted away from landfills.
INNOVATION Janne Hutchins,
Living Access Support Alliance L.A.S.A.
LASA had acquired an acre of land and potential state funding to build a place to serve those living on the edge of poverty, additional housing, and needed office space. They needed the remainder of the funding, along with the expertise to pull it together.
Although unusual to have two housing authorities working together on one project, LASA pulled in the Tacoma Housing Authority to provide development experience, and Pierce County Housing Authority to provide housing vouchers to make the housing affordable. Prairie Oaks and LASA’s Client Services Center (CSC) are now co-located in central Lakewood. As permanent supportive housing, the units are fully leased by families with a head of household who is disabled. The CSC has an Essential Needs Closet and provides winter jackets and other necessities to people on the street. Future plans call for a shower and laundry facility.
While the old building sat vacant, LASA also encouraged the police department to use the space for drills, turning it into an invaluable resource, and another way to give back to the community.
ADVOCACY Pierce County 100-Day Challenge:
A Way Home WA | PC Homeless Services
Pierce County sought to sustainably reduce the number of homeless youth and young adults (YYA) experiencing homelessness. The 100-Day Challenge Team set a goal of housing 168 YYA experiencing homelessness- including up to 40% who identify as LGBTQ, up to 40% who identify as people of color, and up to 30% ages 16-17. They also set out to develop 100 new housing options.
Team sub-groups invited all community partners who help YYA to join weekly meetings. They listed all youth and young adults needing housing, and provided phones and Orca passes for those going through housing navigation. They also identified over 100 new placements through outreach to landlords, host homes, and potential foster care applicants, educating them and encouraging a low-barrier approach to housing to serve the most vulnerable of homeless youth and young adults. The team not only exceeded their housing goals by July 2017, but also increased flexible funding by $50,000 for landlord incentives, transportation, furniture, and administrative costs. They deputized additional agencies to guide those in need into Coordinated Entry for homeless people in Pierce County, directed many youth and young adults to Coordinated Entry and other housing options, and created vital partnerships with community agencies.
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