Pierce County and Tacoma church assistance programs.

Non-profit organizations and social service networks partner with local Pierce County churches in an effort to help low income families, including the homeless and individuals facing eviction. Most of the support they administer is intended to address housing needs in the community, however referrals to financial aid and government benefits can also be obtained at the resource center. For more information or referrals, dial 211 for the latest programs in Pierce County.

Rapid rehousing is for currently homeless families in Pierce County. The goal is to help clients both find permanent, low income housing and access case management. The resource was created by various non-profits and charities as a solution. As funding levels allow, there is support for permanently housing individuals and families as quickly as possible. A key is on coordinating self-sufficiency services in the region as well.

Access Point 4 Housing will also work with those that are rehoused to address housing stability. So this means that individuals will have employment issues addressed, access credit counseling and other self-sufficiency services. The goal is to ensure that clients can pay the rent and related housing expenses on their own in the future. Telephone - (253) 682-3401.

Homeless prevention is coordinated by Access Point 4 Housing, or AP4H. Pierce County and various organizations have partnered together to create this plan to stop evictions, foreclosures, and really end homelessness in the area. Pierce County and local churches offer resources to clients. Most of them are coordinated from their intake center. Churches may sometimes have a few dollars for rent or other bills, but this will of course be limited. It is generally parish specific.

Qualified clients will work with a Housing Specialist on stability and other self-support. Services offered by the center may include some of the following, with a focus on referrals in securing benefits or low income, independent housing.

Clients of the local church resource center can get information or referrals to the Washington Connections benefit portal. Individuals can apply for SNAP food stamps, childcare subsidies, low income energy bill assistance, long-term care services, and veteran benefits. Volunteers from churches in Tacoma Washington can often answer questions on these benefits.





There is also a Pierce County Community Resource Guide on site at local churches as well as various faith based Ministries. Additional information is there, such as on rental assistance programs, food banks, emergency housing, medical facilities, free furniture, government grants for deposits, clothing and job training.

The Family Emergency Fund is a tool that helps improve a clients access to resources that are not readily found in the community.  This is really for unusual and/or extreme needs. It will not include financial aid, but other information is offered. What has been often discovered is that without this safety net, families from the region would not have the means to purchase or pay for those bills that lead to stability.

All applications are reviewed on a case by case basis from staff from a church or one of their local non-profit partners. Resources are limited, and many factors will be removed before a decision is made by the non-profit or its partner churches.

The Protective Payee Service is a program for the chronically homeless, those with mental challenges, and others from the community. What has been found over time is that evictions and housing instability is often a result of poor credit or mismanagement of funds or bill paying practices. This can sometimes be the result of mental or physical disabilities.

Churches in Pierce County may run this using volunteers and staff. These protective payee services ensure that utility, rent and other housing costs are paid by residents. It will ensure funds are allocated to paying other personal expenses as well, thus securing housing and financial stability for the most vulnerable in our community.




Support from peers and the Navigation Team will help families and individuals that are currently experiencing homelessness access government or non-profit resources they need. The support services available in Pierce County will help lead to permanent housing. The Peer Advocates from Access Point 4 Housing have experienced homelessness themselves and they have successfully navigated through the system. They will share their experience and knowledge with those from the region that qualify for help.

Youth residences are available at local Tacoma Washington churches. Homeless teenagers and youth remain both housed and supported while they begin employment, complete school and enter adulthood. There is also housing for pregnant teens to use. Transitional and other housing is offered in partnership with churches as well as other social service groups.

The transitional housing program was created to help youth and keep them safe and housed. This will provide them time to complete their vocational or educational goals, or maybe find a job. The residences are intended to be short term in nature and on site staff will also assist them in transitioning into self-sufficiency as well as independent living by providing a safe place of support.

For more information on these housing solutions or other self-sufficiency programs, call a regional church. There are many options available, and dial 211.



By Jon McNamara

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