This Community Care Conversation explores strategies to eliminate homelessness in Pierce County.
Gerrit Nyland, a statistician by training, has studied the problem of homelessness in Pierce County for nearly a decade. His recitation of the numbers is stark:
- Roughly 3,300 people in Pierce County are unsheltered;
- Only about 1,000 shelter beds are currently available;
- Two-thirds of the unsheltered are in Tacoma;
- Nearly one-third of the homeless population are children.
Nyland, whose current job title is Social Services Supervisor for Pierce County, is the region’s point-person on homelessness.
Earlier this year, Nyland boldly predicted that Pierce County could end homelessness as we currently know it by Nov. 1, 2021, assuming that funding could be identified and then used to acquire properties where unsheltered people could be safely housed.
However, the amount of money necessary – roughly $34 million – did not materialize. Even so, Nyland is not giving up.
We’re trying to design a homeless system that meets the needs of the community. The goal is really to take all of the community knowledge and community expertise and bake that into the process. – Gerrit Nyland, Social Services Supervisor of Pierce County
Listen now to learn about Nyland's efforts to humanize the homeless and provide safe housing to individuals in Pierce County.
Read the full story here and learn more about Pierce County organizations fighting homelessness below:
Elevate Health Podcast, sponsored by Elevate Health and its subsidiary OnePierce Community Resiliency Fund, can be accessed at ElevateHealth.org, or on Spotify, Google Music, Audible, Amazon Music, or other major listening platforms.