Press Release

Washington celebrates Ground Breaking New Tacoma Youth Homeless Campus & Pierce County Anchor Community

January 16, 2019

TACOMA, WA – Jan. 16, 2019 – A major milestone in ending youth homelessness in Washington State happened on Friday, Jan. 4, 2019. Tacoma Housing Authority (THA), A Way Home Washington and many partners gathered at the Eastside Community Center with community members, legislators, council members, and young people to launch two innovative and ambitious initiatives.

1 – Tacoma Housing Authority’s Arlington Drive Campus for Homeless Youth and Young Adults

This campus will serve the 90 or more unaccompanied youth or young adults that are homeless on any given night in Pierce County. With its many partners, THA will build the Arlington Drive Campus next to its Salishan community. The campus will have two parts:

  • 12-bed Crisis Residential Center for homeless youth ages 12 to 17 years
    Community Youth Services (CYS) will manage the CRC. CYS is one of the nation’s premier service providers for youth. It has been doing this work for nearly 50 years with a service model that places 91% of youth in safe and stable housing after an average 12 day stay. At that rate, Arlington Drive’s CRC will serve and save nearly 400 homeless youth a year.
  • 58 Apartments for Homeless Young Adults ages 18 to 24 years
    The YMCA of Greater Seattle will provide the services these young adult need. The Y’s programs for this work makes it one of the nation’s leaders in the field based in data and experience.

The campus is walking distance to schools, Metro Parks’ Eastside Community Center, a regional health clinic, transit, and New Salishan.

2 – Pierce County Anchor Community

Pierce County is one of four counties that A Way Home Washington selected to be an Anchor Community. With the goal to end youth homelessness in these four counties by 2022, A Way Home Washington will organize local leaders and develop a plan that covers prevention, long-term housing, treatment services, employment, and educational attainment.

The event showed the community’s support for these initiatives. Tacoma’s Mayor Victoria Woodards, and Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier served as Mistress and Master of Ceremonies. They led a program of impressive speakers, including the State’s First Lady, Ms. Trudi Inslee:

  • Stan Rumbaugh, Superior Court Judge, and THA Commissioner
  • Senator Jeannie Darnielle, Washington State
  • Senator Hans Zeiger, Washington State
  • Representative Laurie Jinkins, Washington House of Representatives
  • Speaker Frank Chopp, Washington House of Representatives
  • Councilmember Catherine Ushka, Tacoma City Council
  • Derek Harris, CEO of Community Youth Services
  • Aaron Fox, Director of Youth Services, YMCA of Greater Seattle
  • Jim Theofolis, Executive Director, A Way Home Washington
  • Ms. Trudi Inslee, First Lady of Washington State

Three other important guests spoke: a 16 year old, a 19 year old and a 22 year old. They each spoke of their experience being homeless. With more authority than any other person in the room, they explained the lives at stake and the importance of the work to save them.

Tacoma Housing Authority’s Arlington Drive Campus will begin construction this winter. 

See pictures from the event: