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The City of Tacoma Announces Plan to Relocate Tacoma Emergency Micro Shelter (TEMS) Site

The City of Tacoma Announces Plan to Relocate Tacoma Emergency Micro Shelter (TEMS) Site


May 8, 2020



Tanisha Jumper, Media and Communications, tjumper@ci.tacoma.wa.us, (253) 591-5152
Megan Snow, Media and Communications, msnow@cityoftacoma.org, (253) 591-5051


The City of Tacoma Announces Plan to Relocate Tacoma Emergency Micro Shelter (TEMS) Site


The City of Tacoma is working with Tacoma Housing Authority (THA) and the Low-Income Housing Institute (LIHI) to relocate the Tacoma Emergency Micro Shelter Site, which has been operating since mid-December at 8th and MLK.


The new site is anticipated to be located on a THA owned property located at 60th and McKinley. The lease agreement is still being discussed, yet THA has offered to lease the property at no cost to the City for the duration of the lease, which is expected to be through 2021.


“THA’s commitment to addressing the housing needs of our community can be attested to daily, and this partnership to leverage a property that is awaiting future development to serve our unhoused neighbors today is another example of the important work they do to help stabilize individuals and families and create resiliency in our community,” said Mayor Victoria Woodards.


The City is continuing to work with LIHI, who has been operating the TEMS site since it opened late last year, to extend their contract to allow for operation of the new site. The City is currently evaluating how many micro-shelters the new location can accommodate.


“LIHI has been successful at operating the site on the Hilltop, which has helped 12 people find housing and has served 60 people,” said Council Member Catherine Ushka. “Being able to expand the number of people served will help us address the need to provide people experiencing homelessness a safer alternative than encampments to stay, especially while our community is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.”


Clients currently staying at the TEMS site will have the opportunity to transition with the site to the new location. Referrals to the new site will primarily come from encampments and existing shelters that need to employ social distancing measures recommended by the Center for Disease Control.


Dependent on the number of units the site will accommodate, the City is anticipating the initial setup and operating cost in 2020 for the site will be between $850,000 and $1 million.


“We know we need to continue to make investments in addressing housing instability in our community, and this is an important step in providing resources and shelter to the other impacted areas of the City,” Council Member Chris Beale stated. “While providing shelter alone is not enough, it is an important part of treating people with dignity and providing support as they work through the process of attaining permanent housing.”


The City will be conducting outreach efforts to people who live and work in and around the new location, which is expected to begin in mid-May.
More information about the City’s homelessness response is available at cityoftacoma.org/homelessness.