Grant provides boost to Tacoma Community House crime victims advocacy program

Tacoma Community House, a multiservice agency that has aided immigrants, refugees, and low-income South Sound residents since 1910, has been awarded a $75,000 grant from Bank of America to fund the agency’s Client Advocacy/Victims of Crime program.

Tacoma Community House’s Advocacy program is comprised of a four-person team of legal advocates who help victims of crime develop a safety plan, access resources, file a police report (if they choose), and navigate the court system—all at no charge.

Most cases involve domestic violence and sexual assault crimes, but they also address human trafficking, robbery, fraud, kidnapping, hate crimes, and homicide cases. Any one of these situations would be difficult for the “average” American; however, most of those seeking services at TCH live in poverty, are undocumented, or do not speak English. Each of the team’s advocates speak at least two languages to bridge this gap.

On Oct. 18, 2016, TCH Executive Director Liz Dunbar attended Bank of America’s Basic Needs Grantee Breakfast expecting to receive a check for the amount the agency applied for: a generous $25,000.

Dunbar and team were elated when they instead received $75,000.

Tacoma Community House is one of 11 organizations in the Puget Sound region to receive the Basic Needs award. Bank of America made the decision to fund fewer organizations with larger grants than they have in the past in order to work more closely with each grantee. Moreover, Bank of America wanted to develop of a “cohort” of grantees that could come together to address issues of mutual concern across the Puget Sound. As Kim Vu, Senior Vice President and Seattle Market Manager for BoA said, “Bank of America wants to show up.”

This past year, the Client Advocacy program managed 291 cases and relies on generous funders such as Bank of America to keep the program afloat. TCH is honored by Bank of America’s investment in our work—not only in helping crime victims regain a sense of safety and normalcy, but helping them become emotionally healthy enough to pursue other opportunities (careers, continuing education, legal citizenship) that will allow them to lead happier and more self-sufficient lives.

As one of the longest, continuously operating social service agencies in Washington State, TCH has improved the lives of generations of immigrants, refugees, and other (predominantly low-income) community members through the four cornerstones of Education, Employment, Immigration and Advocacy.

Founded by Methodist women in 1910 in the small room of a private home in Tacoma’s Hilltop neighborhood, TCH originally served a couple dozen neighborhood children. Today, TCH is a nationally respected, community-based multiservice center providing 3,700 program services to 2,700 adults and youth from the U.S. and over 90 other countries.

TCH’s service area of Pierce, South King, Kitsap, Thurston, and Mason counties represents a growing population of 1.6 million individuals, 10% of whom are immigrants. TCH is the only organization that provides a full range of services to immigrants and refugees between Portland and Seattle.

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– Tacoma Community House