Submitted by Shannon O’Connell.
Lakewood, WA: On January 6, 2023, LASA, a local housing non-profit organization committed to ending homelessness and recurrent homelessness, announced the retirement of Executive Director Janne Hutchins.
LASA started over thirty years ago when the Rev. Luther Kriefall, pastor of Prince of Peace Lutheran, called parishioners from local houses of worship together. He challenged them to develop a program to coordinate the outreach that many churches performed to help those in need of basic necessities. This led to the creation of an outreach program and later housing programs under the umbrella of the Lakes Area Shelter Association. Several local churches including St. Frances Cabrini, St. John Bosco, United Methodist, and Christ Lutheran were heavily involved with launching and supporting LASA. In 1997, Janne Hutchins became the first full-time Director. It was a humble start with one office in the basement of St. Frances Cabrini and the other her car, running from location to location.
Today LASA operates out of their Client Services Center on Gravelly Lake Drive. From that humble start LASA has grown into an organization that offers affordable housing, Permanent Supportive Housing, emergency housing, and Rapid Re-Housing. Specializing in supporting people struggling with homelessness, LASA has helped dozens of families make their way towards stable, affordable housing. Adjacent services are offered as well such as Peer Support, a food pantry and diaper closet, clothing, hygiene supplies, and Holiday and Back-To-School drives and giveaways. All of this has been accomplished due to the dedication, drive, and hard work of Ms. Hutchins. According to Hutchins, “We have been blessed with dedicated staff, volunteers, and terrific donors. I think our best years are ahead and we are looking for someone to help pave the way.”
As Ms. Hutchins prepares to leave her position, LASA is actively searching for a new Executive Director to take the reins. The incoming director will join LASA at an important and exciting moment of transition in the organization’s development. Someone as committed to helping the unhoused members of our community as Ms. Hutchins is needed to take LASA into its next phase of operations. For information about the position go to LASA’s web site at LASApierce.org.