Strickland Joins the Launch of Right HERE, Right Now Initiative
Lakewood, WA– Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland (WA-10) released the following statement after she joined Mayor Victoria Woodards, local, regional and state elected officials, advocates, and community members for the launch of Right HERE, Right Now: Homelessness Ends with Racial Equity, a community-led initiative to end homelessness in Tacoma-Pierce County. The new initiative seeks to ensure every resident in Pierce County has safe and stable housing.
“Far too many of our neighbors, especially people of color, are experiencing homelessness – and the ongoing pandemic has only worsened this hardship,” said Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland of Washington’s 10th district. “The innovative Right HERE, Right Now campaign will be pivotal in helping our urban, rural, and suburban communities tackle homelessness equitably, end racial disparities, and ensure safe and stable housing for all.”
“For too long, our region’s approach to ending homelessness has relied on outdated and unreliable methods. We are launching the Right HERE, Right Now campaign today to disrupt the status quo and ensure our local providers are approaching this work with an unequivocal commitment to racial equity and anti-oppression,” said Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards. “Through this local effort, we will continue to put Tacoma-Pierce County on the map for leading innovative solutions towards ending homelessness once and for all.”
“The Right HERE, Right Now campaign believes that those closest to the problems are closest to the solutions, but furthest from their resources and power,” said Johnathan Hemphill of the Washington State Lived Experience Coalition’s Tacoma-Pierce County Chapter. “We seek to end homelessness by ensuring our solutions are grounded in cultural humility and designed to directly address the racial and social disparities we continue to measure. This means ensuring our work is centering people who are currently and have previously experienced homelessness as they are our subject matter experts.”
“When everyone in our community – individuals, businesses, institutions, nonprofits, and government – comes together and leverages our collective resources, we can exponentially impact the issues that make it hard for all of us to thrive,” said Kathi Littmann, President & CEO of the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation. “The Right HERE, Right Now campaign is an opportunity for us to build something new to effectively address the root causes and racial disparities of homelessness in Pierce County."
“With the data we collected in 2018’s SPARC report, we know that people of color are dramatically more likely to experience homelessness in Pierce County, particularly Black and Native Americans,” said Marc Dones, CEO of the King County Regional Homelessness Authority. “Understanding this, the Right HERE, Right Now campaign seeks to ensure our homelessness system and nonprofit providers have the capacity to remove systemic, institutional, and programmatic barriers, and scale up innovative and equitable solutions.
“Homelessness is an undeniable crisis in our state as too many Pierce County residents are living without shelter night after night,” said State Senator Jeannie Darneille, Washington’s 27th Legislative District. “As Chair of the Senate’s Human Services, Reentry & Rehabilitation Committee, I know our community needs bold, innovative solutions to fully address the racial and social disparities we see in homelessness. With the Right HERE, Right Now campaign, Pierce County has a chance to lead our state towards solutions that ensure every resident has safe and stable housing regardless of their race or ethnicity.”
“We know that over half of the people experiencing homelessness in Pierce County are Black, Brown, Indigenous, and people of color. No serious person can say that these disparities are acceptable,” said Lyle Quasim, Chair of the Tacoma-Pierce County Black Collective. “It is past time that we lift up the most marginalized as our teachers and prioritize solutions that address these disparities head-on. With the launch of the Right HERE, Right Now campaign, Pierce County is ready to do just that.”
“Far too many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, and two-spirit (LGBTQ2S) youth are experiencing homelessness in Pierce County. This is especially true for our LGBTQ2S youth of color who are experiencing homelessness at alarmingly disparate rates,” said Troy Christensen, Executive Director of the Rainbow Center. “If we are going to increase the capacity of our community to end these disparities, we must center our work on communities most impacted. Today, the greater Pierce County community is taking a significant step in that direction.”
The Right HERE, Right Now campaign aims to build the capacity of within the homelessness system and nonprofit providers to unearth the persistent drivers of inequity, remove systemic, institutional, and programmatic barriers, and scale up innovative and equitable solutions that builds our greater community’s capacity to eliminate racial and social disparities in homelessness and to ensure every resident in Pierce County has safe and stable housing regardless of their race or ethnicity.
Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland serves as Vice Chair of the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and is the only African-American woman to serve on the House Armed Services Committee. She is one of the first Korean-American women elected to Congress and the first African-American to represent the Pacific Northwest at the federal level.