TACOMA, Wash. – The City of Tacoma’s Neighborhood and Community Services Department provided an update on its ongoing efforts to address homelessness during today’s (Sept. 19, 2023) joint Study Session with the Tacoma City Council and the Pierce County Council.
Over the last year, the City’s Homeless Engagement Alternatives Liaison (HEAL) Team has been working to secure more contracted shelter providers, while establishing better coordination and reporting of shelter utilization and availability.
With nearly 2,500 outreach contacts made this year, the HEAL Team has connected over 200 individuals who were experiencing homelessness to housing.
The City has allocated $35.7 million for homelessness services and programs this biennium, and the City’s Strategic Plan to Address Homelessness recognizes that ending homelessness in Tacoma will require short-term solutions to address immediate needs like shelter, and long-range efforts built on public-private partnerships to address housing affordability in our community. The City’s Strategic Plan to Address Homelessness aligns with its Affordable Housing Action Strategy, which looks to strengthen access to rental assistance, establish a Workforce Development and Financial Empowerment program, and increase resources available to people facing a housing crisis.
The City’s Strategic Plan to Address Homelessness also aligns with Pierce County’s Comprehensive Plan to End Homelessness, which aims to create a unified regional approach to achieve “functional zero” homelessness, where any person starting a new homeless episode has immediate access to shelter and a permanent housing intervention. It provides a path for consultation and coordination among those invested in ending homelessness, including those experiencing homelessness, Pierce County and local municipalities, nonprofits and service providers, the business community and philanthropic organizations, faith organizations, and more. It is a model in use in nearly 100 communities across the United States, including six of the largest 20 cities as well as a mix of suburban, urban, and rural communities. It has resulted in 14 communities ending homelessness for target populations, and 44 communities with measurable reductions.
More information about the City’s Strategic Plan to Address Homelessness is available at cityoftacoma.org/homelessness. A recording of today’s update will be posted within 24 hours at cityoftacoma.legistar.com.