Partnership provides housing, employment resources for Pierce County homeless

Building Changes and the Washington Families Fund have announced a partnership with WorkForce Central, Pierce County’s workforce investment board, to provide employment services for families who have recently experienced homelessness.

“Getting on a path to employment is critical in preventing families from slipping back into homelessness,” said Betsy Lieberman, Building Changes’ Executive Director. “With WorkForce Central as a partner, we’re pairing employment services with housing to help stabilize families and improve their economic security.”

Building Changes’ three-year grant to WorkForce Central supports the services of a centralized Housing and Employment Navigator, which will coordinate with the Pierce County Housing Authority and its four nonprofit housing providers currently serving families with a Building Changes Washington Families Fund grant — Lakewood Area Shelter, YWCA, Exodus Housing and Catholic Community Services Phoenix House. By working closely with these providers and the state Department of Social and Health Services, the Housing and Employment Navigator will customize employment services for each family.

The Navigator will work one-on-one with job seekers, providing career assessment and coordinated access services that meet their specific needs, including goal setting, job training and employment placement.

“This model provides us with a unique opportunity,” said Linda Nguyen, CEO of WorkForce Central. “By bringing together employment, housing and support services; we are streamlining the steps families need to take on their way to self-sufficiency. It’s a more efficient system for them. And it’s a great partnership for all of us.”

Funding for the program comes from a grant from Building Changes’ Washington Families Fund, WorkForce Central and the Weyerhaeuser Foundation.

“Weyerhaeuser Company Foundation understands there are several paths that address the issue of housing stability and homelessness,” said Karen Veitenhans, Vice President and Executive Director of the Weyerhaeuser Company Foundation. “We are proud to partner with Building Changes and the Washington Families Fund to support their innovative, pioneering approach.”

“Private philanthropy plays an increasingly important role in our work,” Lieberman said. “We’re grateful that Weyerhaeuser shares our deep commitment to supporting housing and economic recovery in Pierce County.”

The Navigator’s services will be accessible at the WorkSource Pierce Career Development Center in downtown Tacoma. For more information, visit or .