Finding creative solutions to Tacoma’s homeless crisis

Jul 11, 2017, 4:31 PM | Updated: 4:55 pm

It can take months, sometimes even years, to shut down and clean up nuisance properties that attract crime and violence. Keeping them clean is a different kind of challenge, one that takes consistent attention and creative tactics.

Such is the case with the former Calico Cat Motel in Tacoma.

For years, the motel on Pacific Avenue was notorious for drugs, prostitution and other criminal activity. In November, the Calico Cat was shut down by the Tacoma Pierce County Health Department because of methamphetamine contamination.

RELATED: Pierce County cracking down on drug dens

The owners of the motel, which has now been renamed the Pacific Lodge, have spent their life savings on the cleanup efforts.

Andrew Kim tells The News Tribune, they share the concern of neighbors who worry if the motel re-opens, it could again be used as a resting place for criminals. So, he was glad to get a call from the city as Tacoma works to identify ways to deal with the homeless crisis.

“To put families, homeless veterans, that are working and that are living in cars, that need a place to stay,” Kim told The News Tribune. “Hopefully that would change things around.”

It would be killing two birds with one stone: Housing the homeless and keeping the motel from falling into disrepair.

Tanisha Jumper is the Program Manager of Tacoma 2025, the city’s strategic plan for the future, which includes a three-part effort to address homelessness.

Jumper explained that using the Pacific Lodge is just an idea at this point, but it is one that they’re seriously considering.

“If we can come to an agreement, and it fits the needs of the people in the current stabilization site, if there are people who just need a roof and minimal services, then we can make the Pacific Lodge proposition work,” Jumper said.

Whether that would mean leasing the property or purchasing it is unknown. One thing they do know for sure is that if the city uses the motel, they will use the entire property.

“Obviously we’d be putting vulnerable people in there and so we’d want to make sure that it was a safe place for them,” Jumper explained. “And based on the reputation, the former reputation, we wouldn’t want to be co-mingling people.”

The final decision may depend largely on the needs of the people who recently moved in to Tacoma’s temporary stability site, which is being managed by Catholic Social Services. If the clients need more services, like drug or alcohol treatment, Pacific Lodge would not be a suitable fit.

Whatever the city decides to do, the funding is already in place. Last month, Tacoma set aside $3.4 million for its efforts to combat the homeless crisis.

Ron and Don

KIRO Newsradio Newsdesk

Ron and Don’s last show on KIRO Radio

Last night was Ron and Don’s last show on KIRO Radio.
4 years ago
Kelly Herzberg in her natural habitat. (Photo by Rachel Belle)...
Rachel Belle

In Seattle, a personal shopper and stylist who only shops at thrift stores

If you think you can't afford a personal stylist, head to the thrift store with Sweet Kelly Anne Styling's Kelly Herzberg who will pull hundreds of pieces for you to try on.
4 years ago
Viaduct waterfront...
Ron Upshaw

What do we do with the waterfront after the viaduct is gone?

After the viaduct is taken down, we'll be left with a choice: What do we do with one of the most beautiful waterfronts in the country?
4 years ago
Ron Upshaw

Shower Thoughts: Ichiro can give Mariners fans something to root for

Rumor has it that Ichiro might make a comeback next year, and I for one welcome it.
4 years ago
Border wall...
Ron Upshaw

Trying to figure out why people want Trump’s border wall

A little over 40 percent of Americans now support the idea of a border wall, but what is it about it that seems so attractive?
4 years ago
Dan McCartney, Pierce County Sheriff...
Don O'Neill

Why you could hear kids’ voices on Pierce County Sheriff radios Monday night

Sometimes, "gone but not forgotten" isn't always how slain officers are remembered. But in Pierce County, a special effort is being made to commemorate a fallen deputy.
4 years ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Finding creative solutions to Tacoma’s homeless crisis