You may have already read articles in the ENews about the work of the TUUC Ad Hoc Committee on Building and Grounds Security. We are a short term work group tasked with identifying how we can help make our property and the neighborhood safer. We have identified and investigated three possibilities:
- Landscaping adjustments to eliminate secluded areas
- Architectural modifications to limit access to secluded areas
- Participation in the Safe Parking Network Pilot Program
Why Safe Parking?
- At the most basic, it is cost effective and relatively simple to implement: portable toilet, handwashing station, trash removal. Currently, grant money is available to support infrastructure. TUUC will need to commit only to ongoing costs: maintenance of the portable toilet, supplies for the handwashing station, additional garbage pickup if needed.
- We would be part of an interconnected web/network in Tacoma/Pierce County who are working to abate homelessness. (https://pchomelessss.org)
- We have the support of local nonprofits to help implement and manage the program, to do guest intake, and to support people living their cars into more permanent housing.
- The Safe Parking Initiative, headed by Colin DeForrest, has developed the resident application, the covenant that outlines behavioral expectations (site rules agreement), and an application that will help us define the parameters of our program. The SPN Initiative will work with us to complete that application.
- The Safe Parking Initiative will do the background checks; TUUC can also do needed background checks at no cost.
- We can determine the demographics of our guests and the number of cars we admit.
- This is a doable opportunity for us to live our values, honoring the inherent worth and dignity of every person.
- Safe Parking, coupled with the work of local agencies who will help people toward more stable housing, may prevent the next step on the path toward being completely unsheltered.
- We will be committing to a pilot program; we have the opportunity to try on how this works for us with support when we need it.
- We have the legal support to do this (HB 1754).
- We have skilled congregants who are interested in setting policy and implementing the program.
So what’s next? The Ad Hoc Committee is an investigative and education body. We will continue our work of answering your questions about Safe Parking at our February 7th after church information session (check the calendar for the zoom link) and any you send to firstname.lastname@example.org. The congregational meeting that will decide if we move forward is coming up February 21, following the Sunday service which will focus on housing insecurity. Our work now is to support the transition from investigation to implementation so we can be ready to act if you, the congregation, approves moving forward to become a Safe Parking location. The Ad Hoc Committee will not be the policy makers or the implementers; we are working on identifying those groups.
Please send us your hard questions. As one participant said in the first information session: The devil is in the details. Your questions will help the Ad Hoc Committee, the policy makers, and the implementation team focus on those details, anticipate challenges, and plan for them. So bring it on! We want to hear from you.
The Ad Hoc Committee on Building and Grounds Security