A very busy week is close to ending. I am in Austin, waiting for a flight to return home from an in-depth tour of Community First! Village (CFV) and several appointments with elected leaders and service organizations. The purpose of the trip was to learn more about local programs designed to address chronic homelessness.
In 2020, the Council passed a resolution to develop a five-year plan to address homelessness. Here is some background on Pierce County’s comprehensive plan to end homelessness. In 2021, the Council passed a resolution to establish an Ad Hoc Committee to facilitate further planning to end homelessness. A result of the planning was the discovery of the highly-touted Community First Village master planned community program in Austin, TX. The first two phases (and possibly the third) were privately funded. Texas has some very generous, heart-filled, philanthropic donors.
I traveled with State Representatives Leavitt and Caldier; Human Services Director H. Moss, Pierce County Legislative Affairs Advisor A. McDaniel; City of Tacoma Homeless Strategy Manager C. Carbone; a representative of low income housing non-profits, N. Federici; and PC Councilman Paul Herrera, 2nd Council District. (A great deal of thanks goes to Rep. Leavitt and her assistant for organizing the trip.)
Together, we toured the village, met with locally elected officials and non-profit housing and service agencies. We asked a lot of questions to glean more from their experiences and gain insight about their programs. We did stop by a housing development abutting CFV. I observed only one for sale sign and spoke to a couple of residents. Both reported that there have been no impacts to their quality of life living next to the Village. I would have spoken to more residents, but time was short and we didn’t see anyone else outside.
I am asking you to view the CFV website and share your thoughts and observations. The County has committed $22 million of its American Rescue Plan Act dollars toward its mission to provide access to all who need shelter. Several millions more will be needed to create and maintain a similar village in Pierce County. The County issued a Community First Village Notice of Funding Availability, which closed last April 15.
Based on my observations and reading that unincorporated Pierce County is being looked at and Puyallup is not, I’m thinking/guessing/anticipating that the Parkland/Spanaway area is under consideration to locate the project. This is where growth, density and transit services are heavily directed. About 20 acres is needed.
You can view a presentation of Pierce County’s Housing Action Strategy during the September 7 Council District 4 in-district meeting here (about the 15 minute mark). A copy of the power point starts on electronic page 3. Policy and funding recommendations begin on electronic page 16. The final proposal for ending homelessness is to be scheduled for a presentation in October.
Next Tuesday during the 9:30 am Human Services Committee, presentations pertaining to housing will be given by the Pierce County and City of Tacoma Housing Authorities and South Sound Housing Affordability Partners. For information to attend the meeting by zoom, click here. You can always check the monthly county calendar to find other council meetings.
On another note, please mark your calendars for September 27, 6 pm for my annual in-district council meeting. It will be held in the Eatonville Community Center. October 1st is the annual All Bethel Community Day (ABC Day) at the Bethel High School. There will be more details to come on both events.
Grateful for you!