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City Authorized Emergency Shelter Sites

City Authorized Emergency Shelters 

City Authorized Emergency Shelters are permitted under the Declaration of State of Public Health Emergency and provide a safer alternative to unauthorized encampments. We contract with experienced providers to operate the sites, which at a minimum include fencing, hand washing stations, garbage services, bathroom facilities, electricity and potable water. 

 

For 2021-2022, we have allocated $7.6 million to operate authorized encampments in Tacoma. Our funding sources include Federal HUD Funding (ESG CV-2 and CDBG/ESG), Washington State Department of Commerce, CARES Act, Mental Health Substance Use Disorder Sales Tax and General Fund. The cost to operate authorized encampments is typically higher than traditional sheltering models because the level of services vary from standard shelter models.   

  

Site offerings and guest requirements vary by location and operator, but the model of services at each site can broadly be categorized as either a micro-shelter site or a  mitigation site.

 

 Weekly Shelter Capacity and Outcomes 

 

Micro-Shelter Sites  

Micro-shelter sites offer non-congregate sheltering where individuals or family units have their own designated shelter unit assigned to them for the duration of their residency. The sites are also open 24-hours and community services and case management services are available on-site. On-site supportive services are included as part of the overall operating cost. We currently partner with the Low-Income Housing Institute and Catholic Community Services to operate micro-shelter sites. 

 

Tacoma Emergency Micro-Shelters - S. 69th and Proctor Street

In early fall 2021, the Tacoma Emergency Micro-Shelter Site at E. 60th on McKinley was re-located and expanded by 20 units at S. 69th and Proctor Street on property owned by City of Tacoma.

 

The site offers:

  • 66 shelter units
  • 24-hour site staffing and perimeter fencing
  • On-site case management and supportive services
  • Communal kitchen, laundry and community spaces
  • Restrooms, showers and garbage services 

Residents of this location are referred by street outreach teams that support people currently living in outdoor encampments in our community. Adults 18 years and older, including couples, are eligible to live at this site. All residents agree to follow a code of conduct and work toward obtaining permanent housing. 

 

Join the Community Advisory Committee (CAC)

The CAC will meet monthly beginning September 2021 to discuss and support the TEMS site operations, troubleshoot any issues on site or in the neighborhood and provide an opportunity for residents to partner with the site operator and City staff directly. All interested in participating are encouraged to apply. Apply now.

 

Virtual meeting details and meeting minutes will be posted here as they become available. For questions about the CAC, contact Josh Castle at Josh.Castle@lihi.org

 

Community Questions and Answers

View the project frequently asked questions or watch the video below to hear more about the project.

 

 

Tacoma Emergency Micro-Shelter (TEMS) Site-6th Ave and Orchard St

The City is working with First Christian Church to lease part of their property at 602 North Orchard Street to develop an emergency micro-shelter site in partnership with the Low-Income Housing Institute (LIHI). It is anticipated that the site will be ready by the end of 2020 and operational until July 2023.

 

The site will provide:

  • 40 shelter units, serving up to 60 individuals
  • Facilities for restrooms, shower and laundry
  • Communal kitchen and space for resident meetings
  • Case management services to residents
  • The property will be fenced and 24-hour on-site management and security will be provided by LIHI 

All site residents agree to and follow a code of conduct, which outlines site policies and expectations.

 

The cost to set-up the site is expected to cost $615,000 and will cost $1.9 million in operations from December 2020 through June 2023. This project was funded using Washington State Department of Commerce Emergency Shelter grant funds.

 

Community Advisory Committee (CAC)

Community members are invited to join the Community Advisory Committee, which meets monthly to review operations and progress of the site, address questions, concerns and ideas from the public, and provide advisory input. 

 

Upcoming Meetings:

The CAC meets the second Wednesday of every month at 6 PM. 

For more information or questions about the CAC, please contact Josh Castle at (206) 334-0508.

 

Past meeting minutes:

TEMS Virtual Community Meeting

We held a community meeting on October 7, 2020 to listen to concerns and provide answers to questions.

 

To view the frequently asked questions from the meeting, click here

 

A full list of attendee questions and comments can be viewed here.

 

Tacoma Emergency Micro-Shelters (TEMS) Site - 60th and McKinley

The City of Tacoma partnered with Tacoma Housing Authority (THA) and the Low-Income Housing Institute (LIHI) to relocate and expand the Tacoma Emergency Micro Shelter Site at 802 MLK Jr Way to a THA owned property located at 60th and McKinley through 2021.

 
The site provides:
  • 50 shelter units, serving up to 65 individuals
  • Basic human amenities including restrooms, garbage services, handwashing stations and drinking water. 
  • The property is fenced and has 24-hour security with on-site management provided by the Low-Income Housing Institute (LIHI)

The total cost of the site set-up and operations, including the expanded capacity from 35 to 65 individuals is approximately $1 million for 2020.  Anticipated operations costs for 2021 are approximately $700,000, which will be paid using Federal Emergency Solutions Grant funds.

 

TEMS Community Advisory Committee (CAC)

Community members are invited to join the Community Advisory Committee, which meets monthly to review operations and progress of the site, address questions, concerns and ideas from the public, and provide advisory input. 

 

Meetings are held virtually the second Monday of the month from 6 to 7:30 P.M.

 

Join the meeting here or by phone at (253) 215-8782. The meeting passcode is 825-8159-3484. 

 

Past meeting minutes:

For questions about the CAC, please contact Josh Castle.

 

TEMS T-Town Hall Meeting 

The City hosted a virtual town hall on June 4, 2020 to provide residents with more details about the project and hear questions and concerns. View the full town hall below in English or Spanish.

 


 

Due to the volume of questions, staff consolidated questions that were similar and provided answers.  To view questions and answers from the Town Hall, please click here.

 

To see the questions and comments as submitted by meeting attendees, please click here.

 

More information about LIHI micro-shelter operations can be found in our Frequently Asked Questions

 

RISE Center Emergency Stabilization Shelter- 23rd and MLK Jr Way

The City is working at 2139 MLK Jr. Way to develop an emergency micro-shelter site in partnership with Brotherhood RISE.

 

We held a community meeting virtually on May 25, 2022 from 6-7:30 PM to listen and discuss the community comments and concerns for this project. It is anticipated that the site will be ready by the Summer of 2022 and operational until the end of the year.

 

The site will provide:

  • Service for up to 35 individuals at a time
  • Facilities for restrooms, shower, and laundry
  • Case management services, financial counseling, employment services, and self-enrichment activities
  • The property will be fenced and 24-hour on-site management will be provided

View a recording of the May 25, 2022 meeting.

Comfort Inn - 8620 S. Hosmer Street

The City of Tacoma partnered with Pierce County and the City of Lakewood to assist the Low income Housing Institute to acquire property at 8620 S. Hosmer, formerly the Comfort Inn.

 

When operational, the site will host 85 units of enhanced shelter serving up to 120 individuals at a time.  The enhanced shelter will operate for up to two years (through 2024) prior to the location transitioning to permanent affordable housing.

 

The acquisition of the property and operations of the shelter are funded through the use of the City's allocation of American Rescue Plan Act funds.

 

Safe Streets and the Low Income Housing Institute hosted a community meeting to discuss the project on November 22, 2021.  A recording of that meeting may be accessed here.

 

Enhanced Shelter

Enhanced shelters are locations that provide 24/7 on site management and access to wrap-around services.  These locations may be free standing units or congregate or non-congregate shelter within existing buildings.  The requirements for entry and participation varies across shelter models.

Stability Site - 1421 Puyallup Avenue

The City partners with Catholic Community Services (CCS) to operate a low-barrier emergency shelter at 1421 Puyallup Avenue on City owned property. The Stability Site was established in June 2017 in response to the Public Health State of Emergency on Homelessness and growing unauthorized encampments in the surrounding area.

 

The site provides:

  • 58 shelter units, serving up to 100 individuals
  • Basic human amenities including restrooms, garbage services, handwashing stations and drinking water
  • Case management services
  • Access to food and other supportive services including temporary employment

In 2017, set-up of the Stability Site cost $900,000 and ongoing operations cost approximately $248,000 per month for the 2017-2018 biennium.

 

Initially, the site contained individual tents inside of a larger temperature controlled structure with individual pallet shelters located outside the structure. In spring 2020, the City improved the site by replacing all tents with pallet shelters and moving all shelters into the temperature controlled structure. Streamlining operations has also helped reduce expenses.

 

For 2021-2022, we expect to spend $3.6 million using General Fund and Mental Health Substance Use Disorder Sales Tax funds.

 

To volunteer or to donate to the Stability Site, contact Megan Edwin, Volunteer Coordinator

 

 

Emergency Mitigation Sites

Mitigation sites are City authorized encampments under the Public Health State of Emergency that provide basic hygiene services and safe sleeping accommodations for people currently living outdoors in Tacoma. Supportive services, on-site management and security are provided with a mitigation site model.

 

Mitigation Site-35th and Pacific Avenue

The City is working at 3561 Pacific Avenue to develop an emergency mitigation site in partnership with Tacoma Rescue Mission.

We held a community meeting, virtually, on Wednesday, July 20, 2022, from 6-7:30 PM, to listen and discuss the community comments and concerns for this project. (See link below for recording.) It is anticipated that the site will be ready by August 2022 and operational until the property is developed for mixed housing.

 

The site will provide:

  • Service for up to 50 individuals at a time
  • Access to food and hygiene services including shower facilities, handwashing stations, and restrooms to residents of the shelter. Laundry services will be available for residents on this site at The Rescue Mission’s main location at 425 South Tacoma Way.
  • Case Management and employment services will be offered to onsite residents as part of the program but residents are not required to engage to maintain residency. Residents will be required to participate in a weekly check in about available services
  • The property will be fenced and 24-hour on-site management will be provided

Forging Path Community - 35th and Pacific Ave.

Q & A Response for 35th and Pacific Community Meeting

20th July 2022

 

 

Safety

 

Question: “When and how do we homeowners who live at ground zero in the 35th Street area get to be heard? Because the [crime] is on the rise, and we're seeking some answers from someone that lives in our community.”

 

Answer: You can reach out to shelters@cityoftacoma.org for any questions or concerns about the shelter specifically at any time. If you have a community meeting that you would like staff to attend, please feel free to reach out and I will coordinate a time when we can join you in person. You can also reach out to Luis at luisr@trm.org to join the Community Advisory Committee for ongoing concerns about shelter operations. The first meeting will be scheduled after the first month of operations and we will have city representation at this meeting. If you have concerns about community safety, please refer to your Community Policing Division and reach out to a Community Liaison Officer (CLO) when you see or experience a crime:

Question: “So, there are two residences in my immediate area conducting drug and other criminal activity, this has been reported police and nothing is done, and I witness this daily by my family and neighbors, happening now. If the police won’t act next to my house, how will I know you’d keep the area safe bringing in more potential activity? I live with drug activity next to my home.”

 

Answer: The shelter is a response to the growing encampment concerns along Pacific Avenue and throughout the city and when we set up a shelter, we usually see a reduction in crime. An example is a previous site that we have at 6th and Orchard. The 911 calls for service surrounding our 6th and Orchard site have seen a decrease in calls when comparing activity in the five months before and after the shelter opened. We also recommend that you continue to report any violent crimes to Tacoma Police Department.

 

Tacoma Crime Plan

 

Question: “You're giving them clean needles at the camp? and then sending them into our neighborhoods to get high?”

 

Answer: The City of Tacoma contracts with a street outreach provider who conducts outreach to individuals at encampments, recruits and engages high-risk, hard-to-reach people who use drugs or engage in sex work throughout Tacoma and at targeted encampment locations. They provide sterile injecting equipment, safer sex supplies, MRSA prevention wound care kits, and Naloxone (opiate overdose reversal drug) to people who inject drugs. The program also provides health
education including topics such as drug use prevention, safer injecting techniques, vein and soft tissue care, proper nutrition, overdose prevention, wound care, and safer sex.

 

 

Question: “As the owner of a home with a fresh bullet hole in it, near the current unregulated campsite, it doesn't sound like there is a great plan for mitigating offsite illegal camping (e.g. South Tacoma Way near the current mission). Is there anything that the onsite [employees] can do to prevent nearby camping or an avenue for homeowners nearby to get effect removal
of campsites?”

 

Answer: Illegal camping continues to be a focus for the City Council, the City Manager, and the Neighborhood and Community Services Department. We have a removal process for encampments that pose a health and safety risk on public property. We also have a Private Property Encampment Abatement program to help private property owners remove unauthorized encampments and help prevent future encampments. Our contracted providers will continue to assist with mitigating encampments  around the city in partnership with the city’s HEAL Team along with on providing outreach to unsheltered individuals.

 

 

Encampment and Outreach

 

Question: “How close are the nearest  neighborhoods to your successful encampments?”

 

Answer: All our emergency shelters, except one, are in residential areas. These shelters are also spread across the city in all districts. If you would like to hear about
the positive impacts they have had in neighborhoods, you could join one of the Committee Advisory Committees to talk with their neighborhood directly.

 

Question: “For those who choose not to move into the sanctioned site, how do you plan to prevent new unsanctioned encampments from popping up in the neighborhood? What is the long-term solution for these individuals?”

 

Answer: The unsanctioned encampment will go through the removal process as we open the shelter site, and we will fence of the areas off to prevent any future encampments. The provider will assist with also continue to mitigate encampments around the property and will partner will the City’s HEAL Team along with their own outreach team on providing outreach to those individuals.

 

The provider will also hold a Community Advisory Committee meeting monthly to stay in consistent contact with the neighborhood about any concerns that may arise.

 

This site is a good example of both short and long-term solutions because this property is expected to transition into mixed housing, including affordable housing. While the City is working on that process, TCRA has agreed to let us use this property for emergency shelter. This shelter model is the first step for people to work towards healing and stability.

Question: “It will be interesting to see how many of the existing encampment will accept the new housing. Ten - 15% seems to be the norm. The others have to find another place to pitch their tent. Will we be offering them bus tickets to other cities as it seems other cities/states have done to us?”

 

Answer: We will continue to provide outreach for individuals who do not accept services and assess our sheltered needs to meet the demand of people who are
unsheltered in the City of Tacoma. The city also contracts with providers in Diversion Programs that are designed to provide transportation assistance to people who are homeless a path to stability by connecting them to family or friends support outside of Tacoma.

 

Generally, most people who are unsheltered are from the area and have ties to the area. We work with them to find solutions that will keep them in the city and community because that has shown to have the most success.

 

Other Questions

 

Question: “That is such refreshing & great news! I rarely see news like that! Please share MORE information about your accomplishments! I think doing that would change the tone and narrative around this for neighboring communities!!! What if information about your successes were featured on the Mayor's TV Tacoma show 'Inside Tacoma'? I really enjoyed the episode with the Police Chief.”

 

Answer: Thank you for your suggestion on communicating more about our accomplishments and outcomes. We have been featured on Tacoma TV as well recently on May 18th and June 17th and we discussed our Strategy and accomplishments.

 

Question: “Is there any provision to deal with people with mental health issues? I live a block from this site and have seen men with no pants wandering down my street, a man swearing at the top of his lungs walking down D street, and too many more instances to innumerate.”

 

Answer: The City has been collecting the 1/10 of 1 percent sales tax since July 2012. The purpose of the tax is to provide services to the community to address barriers to mental health and substance use disorder. All programs must have a component of mental health and/or substance use disorder to be eligible for this funding.

 

The original intent of this funding source was to reduce the high utilization of emergency services. The City funds programs that provide treatment, case management, bed nights and supports programs like the Tacoma Police Department Co-Responders, who have designated mental health professionals to assist Tacoma residents who are experiencing behavioral health crisis and help them access treatment and resources that have a positive impact on their life. The Co Responder program responds to locations at TPD’s request, once the scene is stable, the program also works closely with the Homeless Engagement Alternative Liaison team, you may know it by HEAL or (formerly the Homeless Outreach Team).

 

Question: “Can you clarify the future plans for the two sites? It sounds like Mercy Housing apartments to the north, cottages in the center, and then mixed use in the southern part?”

 

Answer: The Tacoma Community Redevelopment Authority (TCRA) selected Mercy Housing Northwest as the developer for the vacant parcels north of Division.
Mercy Housing’s proposal is for a five-story structure with 80 rental units available to households earning 60% area median income or less. An early learning center is proposed for the ground floor.

The TCRA will be releasing a request for proposals (RFP) in September seeking a developer to bring a mixed-use, affordable housing development to parcel south of Division. The community will be updated at that time on opportunities to participate in selection process. The timeline for the selection process will depend on the number of responses the TCRA receives to the RFP.

 

Question: “What efforts are being made to add healthy food choices, i.e., Farmer’s Markets, grocery in this food desert area? Currently there are two convenience stores in the vicinity.”

 

Answer: The TCRA accepted ownership of the property south of Division with the condition that the input we received from neighbors is prioritized in the RFP and
project selection. Staff have structured the RFP to invite respondents to describe their strategy for bringing mixed-use to the property. The RFP will include an evaluation of the property for siting a small- to mid-size food store.  Input received from the neighboring community will be factored into the scoring of any proposals received.

 

Community Comments

 

Comment 1: 

“You are muting the real individuals facing the REAL 

neighborhood members, this is ridiculous. This is heavily rehearsed and appalling that you would call this a community meeting. I wonder what the local news networks will think of this.” -Sean

 

Comment 2:

“Let the community members speak! You are silencing the community.” - Sean

Comment 3:

“Community members in China and Russia would have more of a say than this, legal counsel and news outlets needs to know about this.” -Sean

 

Comment 4:

“we are not confused about what site you are referring to” –Anonymous

 

Comment 5:

“WE HAVE NEVER BEEN CONFUSED. This is a lie and needs to be exposed.” -Sean

 

Comment 6:

“Again, we are here, LET US SPEAK” -Sean

 

Comment 7:

“When stray bullets come through my window, you will hear about it.” - Sean

 

Comment 8:

“If poverty, unhoused, food insecurity, and basic human needs were all met we wouldn’t need police that only solve 54% of murders and less than 14% of sexual crimes, that’s out of the 2% of SA crimes that are reported. If those crimes they receive less punishment than unhoused do for breathing in the wrong location.” -Ondriea

 

Comment 9:

“The cause of the unhoused is not drug use and choices by the people in the mix of it. Them being hard on your eyes is nothing compared to what they carry. Those of you passing judgement wouldn’t emotionally last a day in their shoes. After losing a home due to rent increases many turn to drugs because of the way they are treated by those of you wanting to just clear the area rather than provide solutions.” -Ondriea

 

Comment 10:

“Thank you, I ask because I wanted to know whether everyone living there would be able to be served in the new site if they wanted it.” - Deleena

 

Comment 11:

“Comprehensive is having a really hard time taking on new clients tho.” - Ondriea

 

Comment 12:

“As someone who has dealt often with the city officials and the folks working with the unhoused in this neighborhood - this specific issue - over the years I can attest that they are accessible and accommodating and
more than willing to meet and listen and discuss these complicated issues with community members. Don’t hesitate to reach out to them.” - kathyj

 

Draft photo of 3561 Pacific Ave

 

Mitigation Site - South 82nd and Pacific Avenue

Tacoma Public Utility Board has approved the use of their property located at South 82nd and Pacific Avenue for up to two years as a mitigation site. We are currently working with community service providers and those living outdoors to quickly prepare the site for opening as soon as possible. Once details are confirmed and a site operator is selected, community outreach will begin.

 

Session on the Mitigation Site at 82nd and Pacific 

We held a Zoom webinar on December 16, 2021 at 6 PM on the Mitigation Site at 82nd and Pacific.

 

Contact Us

Caleb Carbone

Homeless Strategies, Systems and Services

Email

(253) 591-5015

 

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