Update: By a majority of votes cast, SENCo approved signing on to this Ordinance. Thank you to everyone who took the time to vote!
Please see below for text of the ordinance written by SENCo Vice Chair Melissa Knott to Pierce County Council regarding people experiencing homelessness here in Pierce County. A vote for SENCo to sign-on to this ordinance is now being held.
As a reminder, you are eligible to take part in SENCo votes as any resident, renter, or owner of property, business, or nonprofit and their employees, who live or work within the SENCo Neighborhood Council Boundary.
Please visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2D52GK8 to register your vote by January 10 at 11:59pm.
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Sponsored by: Melissa Knott
Requested by: The collective communities of Pierce County
Ordinance No. 2021-?
Whereas, it is in the best interests of the entire Pierce County community to take bold steps to reduce chronic, episodic, transitional, and hidden homeless/houselessness in our county; and
Whereas, the measure of progress for The Tacoma, Lakewood, and Pierce County Continuum of Care Plan to end Homelessness created in 2012 was to end chronic homelessness by 2015, reduce all homelessness by 50% by 2016, and reduce family homelessness by 50% by 2021, has failed the community of Pierce County; and
Whereas, the County Council and the community has an impetus to create an emergency ordinance to preserve the health, safety, and peace of the public as understood from its mission statement; and
Whereas, having a consistent safe place to stay drastically reduces ones chances of dying from the natural elements, chronic medical issues, and/or contracting and spreading Covid 19; and
Whereas, the social and economic consequences of Covid 19 has rapidly displaced friends and families native to the United States, Washington, and Pierce County; and
Whereas, the availability of stable housing, even temporary housing, statistically deters crime and protects the lives of everyone who lives within our community; and
Whereas, the impact of living without a stable home disturbs the peace of our houseless community members in physical, intellectual, emotional, and social ways; and
Whereas, all of these imperatives can be addressed by assisting our community members who experience homelessness by providing temporary stable housing and the social services they need to effectively apply for the assistance they are entitled to, to meet their housing needs; and
Whereas, it is unacceptable to have no fully operational human resource department in the middle of a pandemic and economic depression to address these specific needs of our community; and
Whereas, the lack of a structured plan to deal with systemic homelessness in Pierce County has allowed the current economic crisis to push families into homelessness which in turn disturbs the health, safety, and peace of our entire community;
BE IT ORDAINED by the Council of Pierce County
Section 1. The Pierce County Council hereby authorizes the immediate reopening of the human services department and grants an additional 200,000 thousand dollars for additional temporary staff with the express purpose of registering individuals struggling in our community for the Federal Cares Act with an emphasis on our homeless residents, those without access to technology for the purpose of applying and those threatened of becoming homeless.
Section 2. The Pierce County Council hereby authorizes a sum of no less than 500,000 dollars of emergency funds to immediately produce hotel vouchers for Pierce County’s homeless communities.
Section 3. The Pierce County Council congruently will produce a plan through both the Community Development Committee and the Select Committee of Human Services to address systemic and emergency homelessness for the bieniem of 2021-2023 to be delivered no later than the first regular meeting in March.