Blog Post

Tacoma Housing Authority Welcomes new Commissioner, Shennetta Smith

August 29, 2018

Tacoma Housing Authority is excited to introduce our newest Board of Commissioner member, Shennetta Smith. Commissioner Smith was appointed in August by Mayor Woodards. She brings wonderful leadership skills and a thoughtful personality to the board.

Shennetta Smith is a single mother of four children. They live at THA’s community of New Salishan. Ms. Smith is the founder and Chief Executive Operator of Diamonds in The Rough Foundation Inc., an organization that helps women and their children move into the next phase of living without abuse. Ms. Smith is the co-author of I AM Beautiful: The Evolution of Beauty. She has served as an advisory Director on the Salishan Association Board since 2017. Her educational journey began at Clover Park Technical College where she obtained her certificate as a Chemical Dependency Specialist and her Associates degree in Human Services. Continuing her education, Shennetta completed her Bachelor’s Degree at Evergreen State College-Tacoma with an emphasis in Psychology.

We had the opportunity to interview her and get to know her better:

Where did you grow up and what brought you to Washington?
“I was born in Memphis, Tennessee and lived there until I was about 22  years old. My family then moved to Columbus, Ohio for 2 and a half years then back to Memphis. My family owned a cleaning business but lost everything when America had its big financial slump. Apartment complexes and homeowners just didn’t have the money to afford cleaning services and decided to do it themselves. We then moved out to Washington because we heard there were more opportunities here.”

How did you get connected with THA?
“Once we moved to Tacoma my family began renting a house that ended up being a nightmare. A man was breaking into foreclosed homes, cleaning them up and then renting them out to unsuspecting victims, like us. We got a notice from lawyers that we had 30 days to vacate, we didn’t know where to go. I was pregnant and had three kids. I called the Salvation Army and they opened up a room for us. Then someone told me about Salishan. I contacted THA and was eligible for help.”

How long have you lived in Salishan?
“My family, two kids in high school and two in elementary school, have lived in Salishan since 2010. We love our neighbors and community.”

How has THA affected your life?
“THA gave me a safe haven. I didn’t have to live in fear about my rent and they gave me the opportunity to go to school. Going to school was the biggest transition of my life. I had recently gotten out of an abusive relationship and THA supported me, listened to me and didn’t turn a deaf ear to me. THA staff acted immediately to help me and my family. The model, the mission, the vision at THA, it works.”

What are you most excited about being a Commissioner?
“I’m excited for the opportunity to be a voice for my community. To speak on behalf of my neighbors and the families around me.”

Is there anything else you’d like to share?
“Yes, I’ve started a foundation called Diamonds in the Rough. It’s a program for women who have been through abuse. We help with the “Now What”, we help transfer those pains of abuse and see women get out of the cycle of abuse. You can reach out anytime at @dshennetta on facebook.”