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Metropolitan Development Council Pierce County.

A leading anti-poverty organization is the Metropolitan Development Council Pierce County, or MDC. The non-profit agency is involved in administering dozens of assistance programs to the poor, less fortunate, seniors, and homeless. While a focus is on addressing housing and rent issues, other services can include employment, education, and job training.

The community action agency provides coverage in both the city of Tacoma and Pierce County Washington. Call a center near you for more information on services available as well as the application process.

Housing programs and resources in Pierce County

Metropolitan Development Council provides clients and low income families with housing placement and services that meet their needs. They are involved in managing apartments, duplexes, shared housing and single family dwellings. Staff can refer residents to section 8 HUD voucher application sites too.

Housing First is permanent supportive housing program that places chronically homeless adults into stable, safe housing. Transitional Housing is short-term for homeless families. It offers both a place to live as well as case management services for up to 24 months. The last option, the Affordable Housing Program, offers low cost, well maintained rental housing to those earning less than 60% of the Area median income.




The community action agency also works as a housing advocate. They arrange for placement in housing appropriate to client needs. Throughout the individuals stay, case managers from Metropolitan Development Council connect clients with other assistance programs or community services that will help them become self-sufficient.

Hundreds of families from Tacoma, Lakewood, Spanaway, Parkland, and Puyallup Washington take advantage of the low income housing units and apartments. Most clients will generally be low-income residents with households earning between zero and 60% of median income.





Many of the clients are homeless or at risk of homelessness, in unstable/unsafe living conditions, or living in shelters. Some individuals have developmental disabilities, mental illness, AIDS/HIV or chemical dependency.

The Metropolitan Development Council (MDC) manages several low income and transitional housing units and apartments in Pierce County. They are for low income families and include single family homes, shared housing, duplexes, and multi-family units. Short-term housing is for homeless families and it comes with case management services. Other resources include affordable rental housing to those earning less than 60% of Area Median Income and units for the disabled. More details on the options are below, or dial (253) 597-6728.

Some of the affordable units include SRO 615 South G Street as well as SRO 621 South Yakima Avenue. Low income levels need to be met and some units are for the formerly homeless or are transitional housing. The rent may be subsidized by Tacoma Housing Authority, so clients still need to contribute towards costs.

The Campbell Court (at 1210 South Yakima Avenue) is for the homeless, and all utilities are included in the rent for this permanent housing program. Avenue Apartments, located at 721 Fawcett Avenue South, 3rd Floor, is a low cost, housing program.

The Supportive Housing Program is a partner of Metropolitan Development Council. It is for residents that are moving from a shelter or other homeless outreach program. Clients pay their electric bill and a portion of rent, however all other utilities are included. Case management is provided by MDC and is a requirement of the program. Similar housing programs for the formerly homeless include Hope & Recovery as well as Housing First. Many of these facilities are so called market-rate units that MDC rents and then sublets to the tenant at a reduced, subsidized rate.

Housing First 3 is for people that are referred to the community action agency by the PATH (Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness) team of Pierce County. The sites are market rate units and a portion of the individual income needs to go towards paying housing costs.

Homeless prevention services from MDC offer other housing services and assistance to help families, particularly seniors, stay in their homes.

The HEN - Housing and Essential Needs program will pay for rent, security deposits, and provide other basic needs. The Pierce County program helps those facing imminent eviction or that are currently homeless. it is a form of emergency rent assistance in that HEN can distribute funds in Pierce County on a rapid basis.




To those that qualify, HEN, in partnership with Metropolitan Development Council, provides shelter, housing as well as hygiene items, transportation, clothing and cleaning supplies which are distributed through select FISH food banks. The program houses individuals with willing renters offering a room or an affordable apartment.

The agency will pay for an eligible client’s security deposit, screening fees, and some rental costs. Clients can also get referrals to other available services in Tacoma Washington for obtaining furniture, clothing, food and other necessities. if long term help with housing is needed, then then Metropolitan Development Council of Pierce County will refer clients to section 8, which is a combination of income based housing and low income apartments..

Housing location assistance from Landlord Liaison is offered as part of Affordable Rental of Pierce County (ARPC). The organization was created between social service agencies, charities, property management companies, renters, and landlords and it will match and place tenants with landlords who offer permanent affordable housing. MDC is involved in offering housing assistance and light case management to qualified candidates. Access Point 4 Housing can be reached at (253) 682-3401.

Metropolitan Development Council Emergency Minor Home Repair assists disabled and elderly homeowners with repairs of a minor, yet high priority nature. Examples of repairs can be items such as plumbing problems, leaking faucets, minor roof repairs, adding a handrail to a tub enclosure, and more. When funding is available, up to $500 can be provided. Call (253) 591-7020.

Housing Supportive Services for Veteran Families in Pierce County is funded by government grants and the Department of Veterans Affairs. The program is known as the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) Program. It will address the struggles and homelessness among the Veteran population. The community action agency will offer case-management services, financial aid, assistance in obtaining government benefits and emergency financial support for bills, rent, or deposits. The program can prevent Veterans and their families from becoming homeless or it seeks rapid rehousing for those who have lost their homes.

What may be available includes outreach, opportunities for housing, free legal services, support through case management to increase skills and income of participant, financial support that directly leads to housing, and help with obtaining and changing both VA and disability benefits. Call 253-593-2920.

Child care is arranged for the homeless in Pierce County Washington. Vouchers and government subsidies are provided to homeless families for licensed daycare while parents seek employment, housing doctors and counseling appointments, or treatment. This is also for families that live in transitional housing units or shelters. Your child will be cared for at state of Washington licensed or certified Childcare Centers and Family Homes.

MDC energy assistance

The state and federally funded Weatherization Assistance Program is administered locally by community action agencies, such as Metropolitan Development Council, housing authorities, and local government entities. It is for low-income residents within Pierce County and also the city limits of Tacoma. This program provides free access to services that will improve energy conservation, including furnace repairs and insulation. Other improvements can be attic insulation & venting, weather-stripping & caulking, and Water heater & water pipe insulation. Call (253) 593-2336.

The Energy Assistance Program provides a one-time per program-year grant to assist eligible low-income households with paying heating costs. To apply you must live within the city of Tacoma and meet the income guidelines. Payment is made directly to the heating vendor and the amount paid will be based on your last 12 months’ heating costs.





Employment services and education

Employment from MDC services will help people overcome barriers to employment, arrange training and coaching for the self-employed or small business owner, provide opportunities for career development, and coordinate specialized training for those seeking employment with large corporations or employers in Washington.

TRiO Education programs will assist low-income, first-generation students and help them graduate high school and enroll in college. It will teach students as they learn about financial aid, college, and other career opportunities through after school information sessions. Students can also learn about financial aid assistance, career exploration, and arrange for college visits.

Educational Opportunity Center from MDC provides free educational support to adults in the following areas of assistance with financial aid forms, educational planning, career advising and exploration, and college applications. Case managers and credit counselors also learn about student loan default advocacy. Dial (253) 572-5960, or call the centers at Tacoma Goodwill, 714 South 27th Street, Tacoma, WA 98409 or the center at WorkSource Pierce County, 1305 Tacoma Ave S, Tacoma, Washington 98402.

High Demand Industry Training will help individuals and job seekers in overcoming employment barriers in preparation for entering careers in Environmental Science, Construction and Government Health Care Industries. Services include barrier reduction, case management, job readiness training, pre-apprentice training, job placement and retention and linkages to trade unions. This is also offered in partnership with the Tacoma LEAP-Brownfield’s and Workforce Investment Act. (253) 284-9017.

The regional Entrepreneurial Assistance Program is for individuals who are considering either starting or expanding a small business in the State of Washington. Clients will be offered information, expertise and assistance through this employment program, enabling them to be more effective in securing finances to expand their new business. Workshops arranged by MDC cover an array of business management topics, including insurance, small business taxes, financing, and other topics.

Medical, dental, and health care from Metropolitan Development Council

Healthcare services benefit needs of uninsured, homeless, children and low-income families and individuals. Both centers and mobile units operate in the area.

Metropolitan Development Council (MDC) will also arrange Healthcare for the Homeless in the region. This is free care that is only for people who are experiencing homelessness and that were evicted or lost their home to foreclosure. Medical services are located at four clinics in the county and Tacoma and assistance is for primary medical care, chemical dependency screening and referrals, dental care, mental health treatment, hygiene care, and medical case management for patients.

The clinics are located at 2342 Tacoma Ave. South Tacoma, Washington 98402, call (253) 627-5445. Dental services can be reached at (253) 691-7596 or for women treatment, dial (253) 370-7019. If one of these centers can’t help, then find another free community clinic near you.

Mobile Dental Sites will travel across Tacoma and the county to patients. The sites will offer preventative, restorative and oral surgery care a few times per month. Cleanings can be arranged too.

The Confidential Women’s Center offers patient care for low income women and families who are experiencing homelessness.

A Behavioral Health and Recovery Center is for clients suffering from addiction. It coordinates emergency shelter to detoxification, out-patient counseling, and mental health treatment and family support counseling. There are also Detoxification Centers run by MDC.

The counties Housing Office is located at 721 South Fawcett, Room 204, call 253-597-6728. For energy bill assistance, call 253-572-5557 or weatherization in Tacoma can be contacted at 253-593-2336. The primary Metropolitan Development Council Pierce County is located at 721 South Fawcett. Call (253) 383-3921.



By Jon McNamara

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