Kilmer Secures More Than $5.6 Million in New Federal Funding for Community Projects in Pierce County
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representative Derek Kilmer (WA-06) voted to pass the Consolidated Appropriations Act, government funding legislation that includes new federal funding for local priorities in Pierce County. Specifically, the government funding package includes:
- $1.5 million for the Asia Pacific Cultural Center Building Project
- $4 million for the Tacoma Rescue Mission Men's Shelter Expansion
- $151,000 for the YWCA Pierce County for behavioral health and supportive services, including training
Taken together, these investments will assist with the expansion of the Asia Pacific Cultural Center (APCC) in Tacoma, expand services for people experiencing homelessness, and support the expansion of the YWCA of Pierce County’s Therapeutic Interventions for Survivors of Domestic Violence Project.
With regard to the funding for the Asia Pacific Cultural Center Building Project, Kilmer said, “For over 20 years, the APCC has been doing tremendous work to allow our region to celebrate art, culture, education, and the vibrant diversity of our community. The expansion of the APCC is a testament to the important, and growing, role that this cultural institution plays in the Pacific Northwest. And it’s why expanding their services is so critical. I’m thrilled to secure $1.5 million in federal funding to help their expansion become a reality.”
“This is absolutely GREAT news! Thank you, thank you, so very much Congressman Kilmer, you are always helping our community with a full heart. That's why we respect and honor you so much,” said Faaluaina Pritchard, Executive Director of the Asia Pacific Cultural Center. “This award will move our fundraising efforts forward to be 69% confirmed - and will help build our very first AANHPI Home in Washington State - to be a Cultural Destination representing the great people of Asia and the South Pacific Islands.”
The Asian Pacific Cultural Center (APCC) is the only type of facility of its kind in the Pacific Northwest – offering cultural and youth programs to not just the Asian Pacific Islanders (API) community, but to the broader South Sound population and beyond. Through a physical expansion to its home at South Park, the APCC aims to grow its current offerings through language education and foreign exchange programs, visual and performing art exhibits, business services for the local community, residential and commercial leasing, adult education, and youth education and career guidance services. The expansion will add necessary amenities to the APCC, including a demonstration kitchen, cultural classrooms, an Asian Pacific Islander library, office and conference rooms, and a large exhibition hall.
Economic development is also a critical component of the APCC’s work. Their facility is in South Pierce County – where a significant portion of the small businesses are API-owned. The APCC helps businesses to overcome barriers, create jobs, and remain vital members of the local economy.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the APCC worked with Pierce County officials to reach API residents on health issues, such as COVID-19 vaccines. In fact, during the pandemic, the APCC reportedly increased its services to provide space for drive-thru virus testing, and vaccination – where more than 2,500 people have been vaccinated. They have also redirected many of their volunteers to conduct outreach activities, provide critical support to the community, and distribute food and grocery gift cards twice a week to those in need.
Rep. Kilmer led the effort to secure funding for the project through the House Appropriations Committee’s Community Project Funding process. The project is supported by Tacoma Public Schools.
With regard to the funding for the Tacoma Rescue Mission Men's Shelter Expansion, Kilmer said, “There are far too many folks in our region that are experiencing homelessness. If we want to get people back on their feet, help them make ends meet, and limit the number of people experiencing homelessness – we’ve got to ensure that the shelter and services they need are readily available. That’s why I’m proud to have secured $4 million to help the City of Tacoma and the Tacoma Rescue Mission move forward with expanding their facilities, shelter capacity, and service options.”
“I am grateful for Congressman Kilmer’s support of the City’s Community Project Funding request for the Tacoma Rescue Mission’s shelter expansion project,” said Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards. “This construction will significantly increase capacity to serve those who are most in need in Tacoma. Congressman Kilmer has been a longtime champion of our city, and his efforts to secure this critical funding will help us serve more people with dignity and care.”
“The Tacoma Rescue Mission is excited to reach this important step. The Shelter Expansion project is critical to more than double our shelter capacity, as well as significantly expand services and increase the dignified way we accommodate people experiencing homelessness in our community,” said Tacoma Rescue Mission Executive Director Duke Paulson. “We are overjoyed that this need is being wholeheartedly recognized by the Appropriations Committee.”
The 2021 Pierce County Comprehensive Plan to End Homelessness estimates 2,287 individuals live unsheltered Countywide, with an estimated 1,432 of those individuals residing in Tacoma. The City currently funds 1,005 beds across emergency, temporary and permanent shelters, meaning there is an estimated gap of at least 427 beds in Tacoma at any given time. Specifically, the report shows a need for an additional 200 adult congregate shelter beds in Tacoma.
Expansion of the Tacoma Rescue Mission’s Men’s Shelter will increase permanent shelter capacity to accommodate an additional 100 individuals during normal operations and will allow for inclement weather shelter expansion of an additional 20-40 spaces when need is most critical while doubling bathrooms, showers, and dining room capacity. It will also allow for an additional capacity of 15 individuals needing addiction recovery services. The project will also create day-use space, which will increase staff space for case management, medical services, and third-party partner service provision, such as mental healthcare.
An increase in shelter capacity is in alignment with goals and strategies identified in Pierce County’s Comprehensive Plan to End Homelessness, the City of Tacoma’s five-year strategy to address homelessness, and the City’s Consolidated Action Plan on Homeless Strategy.
This project will create local, prevailing wage jobs during construction, and, once operational, the additional space will require new staff to support expanded service delivery.
Rep. Kilmer led the effort to secure funding for the project through the House Appropriations Committee’s Community Project Funding process. The project was supported by Pierce County Human Services and the City of Tacoma.
With regard to the funding for the YWCA of Pierce County, Kilmer said, “It’s vital that we continue to support survivors of domestic violence. That’s why I’m glad to have secured $151,000 in new federal funding to support the YWCA of Pierce County and expand the critical support services that their incredible team provides to survivors and their children. By adding new staff and client support services, the people at the YWCA will be able to expand their programming and serve more people across our region.”
“We are so thankful for the support and partnership of Congressman Derek Kilmer and his work to help us secure federal funding for our Therapeutic Services department. These funds will ensure that we can continue and expand free, accessible, quality care to survivors of domestic violence and their children in our community through counseling, age-appropriate curriculum, and therapeutic arts. These services support the recovery, healing, and long-term thriving that every person deserves,” said Karin White, Deputy Director of YWCA Pierce County.
Domestic violence is a major safety and equity concern in the City of Tacoma and the South Sound. According to a 2018 Tacoma Domestic Violence Needs Assessment, since 2005, the rate of domestic violence offenses reported to the Tacoma Police Department has been an average of 200 percent higher than the average rate for Washington state. Regional experts contend that domestic violence's long-lasting effects on survivors are a direct imminent threat to public safety and greatly impact underserved populations.
The programs in the YWCA’s Therapeutic Services department provide comprehensive support to survivors of domestic violence and their children. These Therapeutic Services aim to immediately reduce the experience of violence in people’s lives through access to non-violent, trusting relationships with staff and peers and to safe and predictable environments and experiences. Studies have shown that domestic violence support services have an overall positive impact on various factors predictive of well-being. These studies suggest that the cycle of violence impacts an individual’s ability to thrive as a member of their community. By providing specialized support for survivors, the YWCA seeks to support survivors as they rebuild their lives and regain independence.
The community project funding seeks to shore up the sustainability of existing positions and support the creation of additional staff positions within the Therapeutic Services department. New staff positions aim to contribute to smaller staff-to-client ratios and reduce the likelihood of burnout in current staff members by distributing workloads more sustainably.
Rep. Kilmer led the effort to secure funding for the project through the House Appropriations Committee’s Community Project Funding process. The project was supported by Dr. Rachel Hughes, currently the Director of Clinical Training for the Couple and Family Therapy program at Antioch University – Seattle; A Window Between Worlds; and Carolyn Ratley, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Pierce County.
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