By Wendy Morris, Associated Ministries, Community Engagement Coordinator
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.