With the critical help of generous friends like you, we are responding to the rapidly changing landscape of the COVID-19 crisis.

Scroll down to see how the Mission is adapting our services and resources to help ensure the safety of our guests, volunteers and staff. And to read the most recent COVID-19 Mission response updates – press releases, internal communication and special messages from our Executive Director, Duke Paulson.

Face masks are used at the Mission to protect guests, volunteers and staff.

Hand washing & hand sanitizing stations have been set up at our men’s and family shelters to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Food is now served as individual “to-go” meals instead of cafeteria style at our family and men’s shelters. This helps encourage social distancing.

Our Search & Rescue team continues to reach out to our unsheltered neighbors while taking extra precautions.

Guests can now receive crucial counseling and case management services virtually.

The dining hall at our downtown campus has been temporarily converted into sleeping space to help meet the increased need for social distancing.

Higher-risk guests are being identified and bussed each night from our men’s shelter to a temporary sleeping space at Bellarmine High School to help provide social distancing.

July 30, 2020

Please read below the latest internal update from our Executive Director, Duke Paulson:

Dear Tacoma Rescue Mission teammates,

Tuesday and Wednesday there was free onsite COVID-19 testing at our Adams family campus and the Downtown Campus for staff and guests. I applaud our team members who helped facilitate this, thank you so much! We will be hosting this again in 2-3 weeks and plan to continue to do so for the rest of summer. 

While we’ve had some of our guests test COVID-19 positive, we just recently have had our first COVID-19 positive staff members. I’m happy to report that so far no one has required medical intervention, but this is a great reminder that we all need to stay vigilant with our safety procedures to help keep ourselves and our guest’s exposure as minimal as possible. While this virus is global and not going away soon, we are all working to be careful to “slow the spread”.

From the beginning I’ve acknowledged that by the nature of this being a contagious and “novel” virus, we can’t stop it. People have and will catch it that we know, including friends, co-workers and family. But we have worked hard as a community to slow the spread to give time for our healthcare system and scientists.

I also want to acknowledge that I believe that we as a team, have been blessed and protected from what could be much worse scenarios. I thank you for all the prayers of health and protection. Please keep up these prayers as well as continuing all practical steps to protect ourselves such as washing frequently, wearing masks and staying home if you feel sick at all. TRM has a plan for how to handle teammates who have tested positive and for others highly exposed through them. Katie (Whitman) Maki our Director of HR will be sharing this plan with everyone so that you can know what to expect. We are being careful to respect the privacy of our teammates while also sharing essential information on our team to those identified as highly exposed.

The Tacoma Rescue Mission is an essential and significant ministry in our community. We are a safe and welcoming place for hundreds of people each day. Thank you so much for the incredible work that has been happening at the Mission. Continuing to serve through a trying and scary season. Together we will continue to support each other and our guests to the glory of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. 

With Love and Respect for each of you, 

Duke Paulson, Executive Director

July 7, 2020

Please read below the latest internal update from our Executive Director, Duke Paulson regarding two former Mission guests who tested positive for COVID-19:

Dear Mission team;

This weekend the Health Department notified the Tacoma Rescue Mission that two individuals who had stayed at the mission are now confirmed positive for Covid-19. Both individuals have not been back to the Mission since they were tested and those who were in close contact with them have been identified and almost all notified. Neither individual has needed specific medical assistance at this point. While this is our first confirmed positive cases in almost three months, I ask that we all commit to continued vigilance in our mask wearing, cleaning and distancing.


As we have in previous cases, we will be working closely with the health department in our response. This Wednesday afternoon 6/8/20 from 3:30-6:30pm at the Downtown Campus, there will be free testing for all staff and clients. Even if you have been tested before, you are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity. The Tacoma Rescue Mission will continue to keep you informed and provide access to testing and resources as much as possible.


I was on a call with the other Rescue and Gospel Missions across the country this morning, and the good news is that shelters internationally (USA and Canada) are reporting positive tests at a far lower rate then the country as a whole with only 5 missions with new cases last week. Please join with our board and me as we continue to pray for protection for our staff and clients in this time.You are all in my constant prayers and I’m so thankful for you!

Sincerely,

Duke Paulson, Executive Director

June 10, 2020

Please read below the latest internal update regarding the Mission’s response to COVID-19 from our Sr. Director of Operations, Luis Rivera Zayas:

Good Morning Tacoma Rescue Mission Team,

As you all know, Pierce County entered Phase II of reopening on Monday, June 8, 2020.  Although the Mission never closed, and kept providing services through the most difficult times of the pandemic, we need to pay attention and observe the Phase II guidelines. 

One guideline, in particular, that I would like to address today is the wearing of masks in the workplace. Previously, wearing a mask was a recommendation. During Phase II, wearing a mask is a requirement for all operating businesses. This gives us no wiggle room to decide if we wear masks, or not. It is a requirement and businesses that are not in compliance risk fines or being shut down. 

I ask you to please follow the Washington State guidelines for Phase II and comply with them – including wearing a mask when interacting with others on Mission property (or if you go off-property in your capacity as a Mission team member). Please note, the requirements do state that you can remove your mask if you are working alone, in an office or in a vehicle. We want to continue to serve our clients and to create as safe an environment as possible for them and for our staff.

Blessings to all!

Luis Rivera Zayas


April 20, 2020

Please read below the latest internal update regarding the Mission’s fifth confirmed COVID-19 case from our Executive Director, Duke Paulson:

Dear Mission Team, 

The Tacoma Rescue Mission has had a fifth guest receive a positive test for COVID-19. This guest has only been staying at our shelter since the middle of last week. He was tested and was isolated right after his test, as is our updated protocol, and is currently under the care of the Tacoma Pierce County Health Department.  

I am pleased to tell you that all of our guests who have tested positive have not required any medical attention and the earlier 4 have all been released from quarantine as healthy. Praise the Lord for this! 

We have been monitoring all guests who were potentially exposed and are following the protocols we have in place, and we will continue to make our guests as aware as possible of social distancing and healthy practices. Thank you to all of the staff who continue to serve during this uniquely challenging time (while taking safety precautions) – you are amazing!  

We have just received a modest order of N95 masks. This week they will be distributed to staff who are working in the shelters to help keep them safe. We only have enough for staff in close contact with our guests at this time. We will be able to clean these as well so they can be reused (We are working on setting that up now with the Army contractor) so please be careful to maintain these masks carefully and store them properly etc. More info should be coming to you about this tomorrow. 

I wanted to enclose a verse that one of our sweet staff shared with me that reminds me of God’s heart for us.

“For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

Jeremiah 29:11 NLT 

At this point I want you to know that while we have had an increase in positive cases, this is comparable with others in our area. As I have said in previous emails, this virus is not something we can eliminate the risk of, no matter the precautions we take. We are also seeing that being COVID positive does not automatically lead to extreme sickness. Each of the steps we are taking is meant to limit the spread and allow our health care system to treat those cases that become severe, as well as remain capable of serving anyone else in our community experiencing a health crisis unrelated to COVID-19. 

The Tacoma Rescue Mission is doing all we are able to do to allow flexibility to support our incredible staff. I will continue to keep you updated. I am also asking for your ongoing prayers for our guests and staff in this time, along with your continued vigilance in upholding the safety measures we have in place. 

Every day I am reminded that we are choosing to serve here. This is why we are called a “mission”. We are all working with people as a way of showing God’s love for them and to assure every individual we interact with that they have value, purpose, calling and that they are a child of God. I am grateful to be serving in this season with such an excellent team – each of you is a blessing.

Sincerely,

Duke Paulson, Executive Director


April 13, 2020

Fourth Coronavirus (COVID-19) Case Confirmed at Tacoma Rescue Mission

On Friday evening, April 10, a guest who had stayed at the Tacoma Rescue Mission’s South Tacoma Way location received a positive result for Coronavirus (COVID-19). When the test result was confirmed, the affected guest was already staying at a secure location off Mission property, where they continue to be monitored by the Health Department. This is the fourth Mission guest confirmed to have contracted COVID-19. The first was given a clean bill of health by the Health Department, and released from quarantine, two weeks ago. The other two were confirmed April 7th and 9th, respectively. All are being monitored but have not required any medical treatment as of this time.

All individuals who slept near the guest with the positive test result have been identified. To limit further potential spread of the virus, they have been given masks and moved to a separate sleeping area where they will be jointly monitored by Mission staff and the Health Department. Additionally, impacted areas were sanitized, using Health Department guidelines. Expedited testing has been offered – in partnership with Community Health Care – to any guests or staff with flu-like symptoms.

The Mission continues to take precautionary measures during this time. Guests who are at the greatest risk of contracting the virus due to age or underlying health conditions continue to be identified. They are subsequently moved to a separate sleeping room with a higher level of social isolation, in an effort to protect guests, staff and volunteers.

Additionally, Mission staff continue to screen all guests for flu-like symptoms at the time they enter a Mission property, and staff are screened at the start of shifts. Screening includes temperature checks with non-contact thermometers. Guests and staff who have symptoms are being given masks and directed to receive testing through our partners.

“The Mission continues to focus on providing vital services, in ways that promote the health and well-being of our entire community,” states Duke Paulson, Executive Director. “We invite you to join us in praying for our guests who have contracted COVID-19, and for the safety of our other guests, volunteers, and staff. As a community, our shared work of caring for our most vulnerable neighbors is more important now, than ever.”

For the latest on the Mission’s response to COVID-19 and current needs, visit trm.org/covid19update


April 13, 2020

Please read below the latest internal update regarding the Mission’s fourth confirmed COVID-19 case from our Executive Director, Duke Paulson:

Dear Mission Team,

The Tacoma Rescue Mission has had a fourth guest receive a positive test for COVID-19. This guest shared a cigarette with a guest who was confirmed COVID-19 positive last week. When he heard that the man he had shared a cigarette with tested positive last week, he immediately went to get tested himself and moved into an isolation facility. This means he has not been staying at our shelter since the middle of last week. He is under the care of the Tacoma Pierce County Health Department.

I am pleased to tell you that this most recently diagnosed guest – as well as our other guests who have tested positive – have not required any medical attention (as of the time I am writing this email). Praise the Lord for this!

We have been monitoring all guests who were potentially exposed and are following the protocols we have in place, and we will continue to make our guests as aware as possible of social distancing and healthy practices. Thank you to all of the staff who continue to serve during this uniquely challenging time (while taking safety precautions) – you are amazing! 

We have started to receive homemade, reusable masks. We also had someone donate 3d printed mask elastic extenders (so that the elastic bands aren’t on your ears). I have 50 of these. If any staff would like to receive one (mask or “ear saver”), please let me know and I will disperse them to you. I wish I could say we have N95 masks but there are none available right now. I will continue to work on this for our team. 

I wanted to enclose a verse that one of our wonderful staff shared with me last week. These words from Jesus have helped me find peace and comfort in this time.

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 ESV

It is not unexpected that someone who was very close to a confirmed positive guest would be positive as well. We have an increased chance that other positive results will emerge in the next two weeks. This is the pattern that Nativity House experienced a couple of weeks ago before things settled down. As I have said in previous emails, this virus is not something we can eliminate the risk of, no matter the precautions we take. Each of the steps we are taking is meant to limit the spread and allow our health care system to treat those cases that become severe, as well as remain capable of serving anyone else in our community experiencing a health crisis unrelated to COVID-19.

The Tacoma Rescue Mission is doing all we are able to do to allow flexibility to support our incredible staff. I will continue to keep you updated. I am also asking for your ongoing prayers for our guests and staff in this time, along with your continued vigilance in upholding the safety measures we have in place.

Every day I am reminded that we are choosing to serve here. This is why we are called a “mission”. We are all working with people as a way of showing God’s love for them and to assure every individual we interact with that they have value, purpose, calling and that they are a child of God. I am grateful to be serving in this season with such an excellent team – each of you is a blessing.

Sincerely,


Duke Paulson, Executive Director

April 10, 2020

Third Coronavirus (COVID-19) Case Confirmed at Tacoma Rescue Mission

Third Coronavirus (COVID-19) Case Confirmed at Tacoma Rescue Mission

On Tuesday evening, April 9, a guest at the Tacoma Rescue Mission’s South Tacoma Way location received a positive result for Coronavirus (COVID-19). This is the third Mission guest confirmed to have contracted COVID-19. The first was given a clean bill of health by the Health Department, and released from quarantine, two weeks ago. When the most recent test result was confirmed, the affected guest was located and transferred to a secure location off Mission property. The second guest, who tested positive April 7th, is also at a secure site off Mission property. Both are being monitored by the Health Department and have not required medical treatment.

All individuals who slept near the guest with the positive test result have been identified. To limit further potential spread of the virus, they have been given masks and moved to a separate sleeping area where they will be jointly monitored by Mission staff and the Health Department. Additionally, impacted areas were sanitized, using Health Department guidelines. Expedited testing has been offered – in partnership with Community Health Care – to any guests or staff with flu-like symptoms.

The Mission continues to take precautionary measures during this time. Guests who are at the greatest risk of contracting the virus due to age or underlying health conditions continue to be identified. They are subsequently moved to a separate sleeping room with a higher level of social isolation, in an effort to protect guests, staff and volunteers.

Additionally, Mission staff continue to screen all guests for flu-like symptoms at the time they enter a Mission property, and staff are screened at the start of shifts. Screening includes temperature checks with non-contact thermometers. Guests and staff who have symptoms are being given masks and directed to receive testing through our partners.

“The Mission continues to focus on providing vital services, in ways that promote the health and well-being of our entire community,” states Duke Paulson, Executive Director. “We invite you to join us in praying for our guests who have contracted COVID-19, and for the safety of our other guests, volunteers, and staff. As a community, our shared work of caring for our most vulnerable neighbors is more important now, than ever.”

For the latest on the Mission’s response to COVID-19 and current needs, visit trm.org/covid19update.


April 9, 2020

Please read below the latest internal update regarding the Mission’s third confirmed COVID-19 case from our Executive Director, Duke Paulson:

Dear Mission Team,

The Tacoma Rescue Mission has had a third guest receive a positive test for COVID-19. I found out this evening that an individual who had stayed at the Downtown Campus since early February tested positive this afternoon. This guest is now in isolation under the care of the Tacoma Pierce County Health Department and is no longer on our campus. This was someone who had been in frequent and close proximity both while in our shelter and off campus, to our other recently (4/7/20) confirmed positive guest. We have been monitoring guests who had been exposed and are following our protocols. We get better every time we handle one of these situations. I am pleased to tell you that, as I write this, I have spent my evening at the downtown campus and our staff and guests remain peaceful and calm. Staff continue to serve and help people while taking safety precautions; they are amazing! Our guests are aware of social distancing and are sleeping spread as far apart as possible in our space. Each person remains thankful for the care they are being shown.

We are continue to strive to have the safest work environment we can. My previous email highlighted some of the major ways we are working to do this, and they are enclosed in an attachment below as well. I encourage every staff member to continue to be vigilant in hand washing and avoiding potential spread of disease. 

It is not unexpected that someone who was very close to a confirmed positive guest would be positive as well. We have an increased chance that other positive results will emerge in the next two weeks. This is the pattern that Nativity House experienced a couple of weeks ago before things settled down. I’m please to tell you that at this point none of the people who have been positive have been in physical distress from their symptoms – praise the Lord. As I have said in previous emails, this virus is not something we can eliminate the risk of, no matter the precautions we take. Each of the steps we are taking is meant to limit the spread and allow our health care system (which is the most sophisticated in the world) to treat those cases that become severe, as well as remain capable of serving anyone else in our community experiencing a health crisis unrelated to COVID-19.

The Tacoma Rescue Mission is doing all we are able to do to allow flexibility to support our incredible staff. I will continue to keep you updated. I am also asking for your ongoing prayers for our guests and staff in this time, along with your continued vigilance in upholding the safety measures we have in place.

Every day I am reminded that we are choosing to serve here. This is why we are called a “mission”. We are all working with people as a way of showing God’s love for them and to assure every individual we interact with that they have value, purpose, calling and are a child of God. I am grateful to be serving in this season with such an excellent team – each of you is a blessing.

Sincerely,

Duke Paulson, Executive Director


April 8, 2020

Second Coronavirus (COVID-19) Case Confirmed at Tacoma Rescue Mission

On Tuesday, April 7, a guest at the Tacoma Rescue Mission’s South Tacoma Way location received a positive result for Coronavirus (COVID-19). When the test result was confirmed, the affected guest was located and transferred to a secure location off Mission property, where they are being monitored by the Health Department. This is the second Mission guest confirmed to have contracted COVID-19. The first was given a clean bill of health by the Health Department, and released from quarantine, two weeks ago.

All individuals who slept near the guest with the positive test result have been identified. To limit further potential spread of the virus, they have been given masks and moved to a separate sleeping area where they will be jointly monitored by Mission staff and the Health Department. Additionally, impacted areas were sanitized, using Health Department guidelines. Expedited testing has been offered – in partnership with Community Health Care – to any guests or staff with flu-like symptoms.

The Mission continues to take precautionary measures during this time. Guests who are at the greatest risk of contracting the virus due to age or underlying health conditions continue to be identified. They are subsequently moved to a separate sleeping room with a higher level of social isolation, in an effort to protect guests, staff and volunteers.

Additionally, Mission staff continue to screen all guests for flu-like symptoms at the time they enter a Mission property, and staff are screened at the start of shifts. Screening includes temperature checks with non-contact thermometers. Guests and staff who have symptoms are being given masks and directed to receive testing through our partners.

“The health and well-being of our entire community continues to be of utmost importance to us,” shares Executive Director, Duke Paulson. “We’ve taken steps to allow for social distancing in the midst of increased need. This includes converting our dining hall into sleeping space and partnering with Bellarmine Preparatory School to help relieve crowded conditions at our men’s shelter.” Paulson continues, “I invite you to join us in praying for our guest who contracted COVID-19 and for the safety of our other guests, volunteers and staff. It’s vital that we continue to help men, women and children experiencing homelessness at this time. They’re vulnerable – now more than ever.”

For the latest on the Mission’s response to COVID-19 and current needs, visit trm.org/covid19update.


April 7, 2020

Please read below the latest internal update regarding the Mission’s second confirmed COVID-19 case from our Executive Director, Duke Paulson:

Dear Mission Team,

In an effort to continue to provide complete transparency I need to let you know that the Tacoma Rescue Mission has had a second guest receive a positive test for COVID-19. I found out this evening that an individual who had stayed at the Downtown Campus since late February tested positive this afternoon. This guest is now under the care of the Tacoma Pierce County Health Department and  is no longer on our campus. Thankfully, we are even better prepared to handle this situation now than we were a few weeks ago when we had our first case. I am pleased to tell you that, as I write this, I have spent my evening at the downtown campus and our staff and guests have been peaceful and calm. Staff continue to serve and help people while taking safety precautions; they are amazing! Our guests are aware of social distancing and are sleeping spread as far apart as possible in our space. They have also been thankful for the care they are being shown. Here are some of the ways we are being cautious as we care for our staff and guests:

  • We have already rearranged our sleeping configurations to allow for social distancing. This continues to help slow the spread of a virus.
  • Our guest who has COVID-19 has been taken to a safe and private location (not on a Mission campus) and is being monitored by the Pierce County Health Department.
  • TRM staff have already, tonight, carefully cleaned and sanitized the area.
  • TRM staff have been issued masks for safety. Our guests are being offered masks if they have any symptoms and/or if they were identified as exposed.
  • At our Downtown Campus and our Bellarmine location, we continue to meet and screen all clients for flu-like symptoms. This now includes temperature checks with non-contact thermometers.
  • All clients who stayed on our campus and slept in close proximity to this guest have been identified and will be sleeping in a separated location and monitored. We are partnering with the Health Department for this monitoring.
  • Starting tomorrow, staff who report to a Mission campus will have their temperature taken and recorded for each of our protection. We will use non-contact thermometers for this.
  • Staff and guests who came into direct contact with the guest who tested positive will be offered expedited testing through our partnership with Community Health Care.
  • A press release with this information will be sent out in the morning to alert the media, allow us to respond to any questions as the news breaks, and allow us to be transparent with the community.

As I have said in previous emails, this virus is not something we can eliminate the risk of, no matter the precautions we take. Each of the steps we are taking is meant to limit the spread and allow our health care system (which is the most sophisticated in the world) to treat those cases that become severe, as well as remain capable of serving anyone else in our community experiencing a health crisis unrelated to COVID-19.

The Tacoma Rescue Mission is doing all we are able to do to allow flexibility to support our incredible staff. I will continue to keep you updated. I am also asking for your ongoing prayers for our clients and staff in this time, along with your continued vigilance in upholding the safety measures we have in place.

Every day I am reminded that we are choosing to serve here. This is why we are called a “mission”. We are all working with people as a way of showing God’s love for them and to assure every individual we interact with that they have value, purpose, calling and are a child of God. I am grateful to be serving in this season with such an excellent team – each of you is a blessing.

Sincerely,


Duke Paulson, Executive Director


April 6, 2020

We are committed to being completely transparent during this time. That’s why we will and have been sharing internal staff updates on this page as well as public communications.

Please read below an internal update from our Executive Director to the Tacoma Rescue Mission’s staff:

Dear Mission Team, 

This last month has made me reflect on previous times in my life that felt out of my control. 

Fifteen years ago, my wife Amy was pregnant with our daughter, Brooke, and her water broke when she was only 27 weeks along. We went to the hospital and they explained that this was very premature and high risk. We were told that Amy would be hospitalized and on total bed rest until the baby was born, most likely within 24 hours. The doctors started Amy on a whole lot of medication and steroids to treat both Amy and Brooke. Then they gave me a tour of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and explained to me what to expect when Brooke was born. I was given literature about the high risk to the baby and probable need for a ventilator, heart machine, and potential long-term health impacts such as hearing, lung and other physical and cognitive impairments that Brooke would most likely have from being born so prematurely. After the shock wore off a bit, Amy and I sat in the room late that night, overwhelmed and afraid for the future. With nothing else to turn to, we started to pray. We prayed honestly, with tears and fear and faith all mixed-up together. This past month of March has been unprecedented. I have felt more pressure than any previous period of my life. I know I’m not alone. We’re all experiencing so much change due to COVID-19 – personally and professionally, creating much uncertainty and fear. I was just creating a list of ways the Mission has had to change in the last few weeks. Taking a step back to look at it like this, I was surprised at the wide range of things we’ve been doing, even though I’ve been living through this with you all. Take a look at the list:

  • Adjusted staff positions to work from home where reasonable and adjust high-risk staff to low-risk positions
  • Addressed the retention risk with a proactive pay bonus for hourly staff
  • Negotiated and opened a 2nd campus for vulnerable clients at Bellarmine High School
  • Initiated new accounting code to track all COVID-19 related spending
  • Introduced new processes to improve safety on all campuses emphasizing safe social distancing across the Mission
  • Transitioned all meals to “take out” format for guest safety
  • Created new storage for the kitchen, for bulkier shelf-stable food and “take out” items
  • Communicated regularly with the donors, media, public groups and TRM board
  • Assessed financial impact and worked with funding sources including
    • Local Government
    • Private funders
    • Federal CARES ACT
  • Adjusted to higher volumes of clients (Up 25% over a month ago) with 65% of our staff working regular shifts and a 95% reduction in volunteers. There is a lot of strain to manage. Thank you to everyone who has stepped up and held things together.
  • Implemented twice daily communications check in with marketing and communications teams. We are placing a high emphasis on communicating needs to our supporters, keeping the website up to date with the latest news, and creating bi-weekly all-staff communications to share the latest information. 

To complete the story I opened with – there’s a reason Amy and I call Brooke our little miracle girl. In an answer to our prayers, Amy remained pregnant for another 6 weeks after her water broke – in fact, they ended up having to induce labor to get things moving! And Brooke was born healthy and strong without any other complications. The team of doctors who worked with us had never seen or heard of this happening before. The Lord heard us and answered our prayers when we felt the most alone and overwhelmed. I know that this month has been overwhelming for all of us. Please join with me in doing the best thing we can do when events of this world are out of our control. Let us all commit to prayer. Here is my prayer list: 

  1. Health for every staff member and volunteer that serves at the Rescue Mission
  2. A sense of love and safety plus complete health and protection for every guest 
  3. Donations continuing to be given joyfully to support all of the ministries of our Mission
  4. The Lord’s sense of peace and joy over all of us even when times are bleak

God delights to hear our prayers – and to answer them. And even when His answer is “not yet” – I’ve found I am drawn closer to His peace through spending time in prayer. I hope this is true for you, as well. If you have specific prayer requests you want to share with me, please send them to me and know I will be praying for you.

Sincerely,

Duke Paulson, Executive Director

PS. One of the things I asked about in my last email was for any verses that were particularly meaningful to our staff in this time. Thanks to all who responded. I want to share a verse and the comment from our fellow staff member, Paul, this week:

“Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will reveal to us later.” – Romans 8:18

April 3, 2020

THANK YOU PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED FUND!

At the Mission, we’re overwhelmed with gratitude to be among the first organizations to receive critical support from the PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED: COVID-19 EMERGENCY RESPONSE FUND.

These vital funds are helping to ensure that essential, life-saving meals, shelter and other critical resources continue uninterrupted for men, women and children in our community who are in dire need. And are helping to address some of the huge surges in costs, challenges and complexities we’re currently facing due to the COVID-19 crisis.

We appreciate being recognized and supported as one of the leaders in providing essential needs for our community – amongst many great organizations scrambling to serve our most vulnerable neighbors during this time. We anticipate the increase in need to continue and look forward to further partnering with our philanthropic community to help individuals and families with nowhere else to turn and no home to seek shelter in.

Local foundations like the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation and United Way of Pierce County, along with fellow community leaders are taking action and have established the PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED fund.

The Fund is providing rapid support to organizations addressing the urgent needs of our community and the disruption of essential human services to our most vulnerable populations due to COVID-19.

Thank you to PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED partners for making a huge difference throughout our community. You are helping to save lives during this crisis. Together we will get through these trying and uncertain times.

To learn more about the PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED fund and its partners, visit their website: https://www.gtcf.org/initiatives/pierce-county-connected/


April 1, 2020

Mission Update: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response 

Right now, the COVID-19 outbreak is a real threat to men, women and children experiencing homelessness in our community. 

That’s why I’m asking you to give a COVID-19 response gift now.Your help is urgently needed to provide vital meals, shelter and essentials to individuals and families who have nowhere else to turn.

The virus has significantly impacted the Mission’s operations.  

We face increased challenges that require changes to how meals, shelter and more are now provided. Protecting our guests, volunteers and staff is of upmost importance. 

These changes have resulted in a huge surge in costs and complexity with reduced volunteer capacity. Serving our community is now projected to cost 30% more than we have budgeted. Which is why your gift today matters so much! Please consider giving 30% more than you would normally give.

As much as life has changed for all of us, one thing remains the same. We’re determined to continue sharing God’s love as we come alongside our vulnerable neighbors. Those who have the fewest resources to cope with the virus.

To do that we need your help! GIVE NOW

Together, we’ll come through this difficult time. Please give as generously as you can. Every gift matters!  

God bless you and your loved ones,

Duke Paulson, Executive Director

P.S.  Your gift today will help provide crucial meals, shelter and more to individuals and families in dire need.  Uncertain times call for an unprecedented response.  Please be as generous as you can.  Your quick response truly matters.


March 24, 2020

Tacoma Rescue Mission Partners with Bellarmine Preparatory School to Offer Relief for Crowded Men’s Shelter

The Tacoma Rescue Mission has partnered with Bellarmine Preparatory School to create safer conditions for their men’s shelter as part of their response to the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Since the local virus outbreak, the Mission’s Executive Director, Duke Paulson, has been searching for a community partner to accommodate social distancing for vulnerable men’s shelter guests. Bellarmine stepped forward, offering use of their Names Family gym to relieve crowded conditions at the Mission’s men’s campus.

The Mission’s men’s shelter was designed to hold approximately 60 men. Over the past two decades, as need has grown, they have utilized all available space to serve as many as 200 men a night. This makes it impossible to keep the 6 feet of social distancing recommended to prevent the spread of COVID-19, without turning men away on freezing nights.

Starting March 24, The Mission will be transporting 50 men identified as at-risk, due to age and underlying health conditions, to Bellarmine each evening. This will allow for better social distancing for all men’s shelter guests.

Duke Paulson shares, “I have been deeply concerned for our guests with the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. We are grateful to have Bellarmine step forward to help care for community members in need during this uncertain time, by helping us improve social distancing in our men’s shelter. This is an immense blessing.”

Bellarmine is providing the Names Family gym and bathrooms from 7:00 pm to 7:00 am. No walk-up guests will be accepted at Bellarmine. The Mission will provide transportation for guests to and from their men’s shelter, necessary supplies, and two staff to oversee the shelter and sanitize the facility each morning. Both parties emphasize this partnership is temporary, intended to remain in place while the school is shut down and social distancing is needed.

Bellarmine’s President, Rob Modarelli, said of the partnership, “The Bellarmine community is grateful to be able to offer this form of practical support to those who are most vulnerable during the COVID-19 outbreak. As a Catholic, Jesuit institution we are called to service, especially for the poor and marginalized. This is a simple way we can live out Jesus’s call to love our neighbors as ourselves.”

Transportation is being made possible through the generosity of Life Center Church and First Presbyterian Tacoma. Each church will be providing a bus to carry shelter guests between the Mission and Bellarmine.

Pastor Tyler Sollie, of Life Center, said, “We believe ministry is essential for our community in this time. To move through this, we all need to be willing to do what we can, with what we have. We are thankful to be able to serve in this way.”

First Presbyterian pastor, Aaron Byers, shared, “First Presbyterian Tacoma is FOR Tacoma because God is FOR us. We are here to serve the community around our church and throughout our city. We are glad to provide the Tacoma Rescue Mission with assistance during this time of need.”


March 23, 2020

Hello Friends, 

I’m writing with an update on the Mission’s response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) over the past few days. To frame this information, I want to emphasize that we have been working closely with the Pierce County Health Department, and we are highly aware that, unfortunately, we cannot stop this virus. Our actions taken locally and nationally are intended to slow the spread. This will keep fewer people from contracting the virus and will also ensure our health care system does not get overwhelmed. I invite you to visit this article from todays (Friday) Tacoma News Tribune to learn more about this: https://www.thenewstribune.com/news/coronavirus/article241325581.html.

The following bullet-points cover steps we’re taking to address the impacts of COVID-19 for our guests, staff, and volunteers:

  • Cleaning frequency has been increased to hourly.
  • Social distancing is being implemented (6 feet!) and all staff who can work remotely have been instructed to do so.   
  • Additional hand-washing stations have been ordered. Signage has been posted and doors secured to re-route people and minimize face-to-face interactions.
  • Meal services have been shifted from cafeteria meals to individual meals taken to-go. 
  • We’ve identified high-risk clients in our men’s shelter and we are working to relocate them to a setting with lower likelihood of exposure, off-site.
  • We received and distributed FDA Approved, non-contact thermometers today, for each of our four campuses. This will allow us to easily screen guests who may be showing symptoms. 
  • We are asking donors, volunteers and all community members to support in the following ways:
    • We’ve asked volunteers over 65 or with underlying health conditions to stay home.
    • Volunteers are still needed for meal service, food prep and warehouse help. 
    • We’re asking for food delivery supplies for take away meals (i.e. to go boxes, plastic bags, plastic utensils, napkins).
    • Donations of cleaning Supplies, masks, and personal protection equipment are needed.
    • We’re asking for monetary donations to go toward the unexpected increase in expenses that all this represents.
  • Please join us in prayer . . .
    • I spent much of the last week talking with potential partners, trying to secure an off-site, temporary shelter option to house our most at-risk shelter guests. This will create better social distancing and healthier circumstances for everyone at the men’s shelter. A promising partnership opportunity with an organization is in the works, but not yet confirmed. Please pray this comes together!
    • Continue to prayer for our guests, and each of our teammates. For health, for peace and wisdom, for God’s provision in each of the ways we need it.  

During this time of uncertainty, it is crucial to know that God is with us through it all. And we have seen God moving in so many different ways:

  • Generous community members have continued to provide vital support to the Mission, coming alongside our neighbors experiencing homelessness. We are so grateful for the donations, volunteers and prayers during this time of rapid change and increased need.
  • We have been able to continue working closely with the Pierce County Health Department. I am pleased to share that they informed us our client who tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday has been given a clean bill of health! If this feels fast, it is because he was tested toward the end of his illness, when he was already on the mend. I am grateful he is doing well. I thank God and you for your prayers for him.
  • Our Search & Rescue Team is continuing to reach people on the street with vital supplies and relational connection. They are the only outreach team still operating in Pierce County at this time. 
  • Our shelter staff have had a crazy week with a really high volume of guests and they continue to meet the needs of clients who are scared and unsure of what is happening. They are doing so with compassion and professionalism. 
  • Our Kitchen team has seen an increase of 25% for meals this past week. They’ve completely shifted their method of meal delivery from dining in to take-out, and they have handled it with such grace. People are continuing to be fed, despite these challenging circumstances.

Lord hear our thanks and praise!

Lastly, to our dedicated staff and volunteers, I want to make sure you know the work of the Tacoma Rescue Mission – YOUR work – is seen and appreciated beyond our doors. I have been in close contact with Tacoma and Pierce County leadership this week, and I have received a great deal of thanks and encouragement. Specifically, I would like to pass along from Bruce Dammeier, Pierce County Executive, his heartfelt thanks to each of you for the service you are providing. He is grateful that we are staying open, and continuing to meet essential needs for our community. I am praying for each of you daily, and I am deeply grateful to you for your continued work on behalf of our clients. I’ve found myself remarking more than once this week that I cannot imagine a better team to be going through this with. Your commitment to lean into caring for the most vulnerable individuals in our community during this difficult, chaotic time is seen and deeply appreciated by many – and it is truly my honor to serve alongside each of you.

On a personal note, I really have been trying to find small things that are meaningful to me to share. This week I found myself deeply moved to the point I couldn’t sing (OK, I felt “strongly-emotional and maybe my cheek got wet somehow”) listening to the song: “Whom shall I fear” by Chris Tomlin – here’s the link. I know that God is our protector and I’ve told you about how I turn to reading Psalm 23 in times of crisis. Sometimes it just takes a song to really hit my heart. Please take time to care for yourself, meditate on scripture, pray, listen to music or poetry, read, spend time with loved ones. We are in this together! 

In Christ,

Duke Paulson, Executive Director


March 18, 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Case Confirmed at Tacoma Rescue Mission

On Wednesday afternoon, March 18, a guest at the Tacoma Rescue Mission’s South Tacoma Way location received a positive result for Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Mission’s leadership has worked with the Pierce County Health Department over the past week to develop a plan to address the safety and health of its guests, staff and volunteers if a guest tested positive. This plan is now being enacted.

When the test result was confirmed, the affected guest was transferred to a secure location off Tacoma Rescue Mission property, where they are being monitored by the Health Department. To limit further spread of the virus, Mission staff used Health Department guidelines to sanitize impacted areas.

We are working with the Health Department to monitor all individuals who slept near the guest with the positive test result. Additionally, guests who are at the greatest risk of contracting the virus due to age or underlying health conditions have been identified. They have been moved to a separate sleeping room with a higher level of social isolation, as a precautionary measure to best protect all guests, staff and volunteers. Staff who came in direct contact with the guest will be offered testing, support, and resources.

As an additional safety measure, staff at the Mission’s South Tacoma Way location will begin screening all guests at the gated courtyard entrance before they enter the property.

“We take seriously our responsibility to care for our most vulnerable community members, and know our services are needed now more than ever as we face the threat of COVID-19,” shares Executive Director, Duke Paulson. “We are working with the Pierce County Health Department to limit the spread of this virus and care well for our guests, volunteers, staff and everyone in our community. I invite you to join us in praying for our guest who contracted COVID-19 and for the safety of the rest of those we serve, while taking wise steps to minimize the impact of this virus.”


March 18, 2020

We are committed to complete transparency during this time. In the spirit of that commitment, we have posted an update on how the Mission is responding to date to the current crisis. Please see below an update originally sent to all Mission staff:

Dear All Mission Staff,

Thank you for being patient with us and understanding that we are all navigating this COVID- 19 situation together in real time. Unfortunately, at this time we do not know what the government will put into place for relief but we know it will take a while for anything to be put into action. Therefore we have to address this with the knowledge and systems we do have instead of speculation. At the point that the senate votes on the relief efforts and that is communicated, I will be in touch with everyone on how that affects us. If staff choose to stay home to isolate, take care of themselves or an immediate family member they can use their sick and vacation leave to supplement wages. 

Here are two questions that we have heard from supervisors, please see our current stance on the matter but always feel free to email me for additional guidance if this occurs.

What do I do if a team member has confirmed corona virus: Absolutely they go home for 14 days, during this time they need to use sick leave and vacation. If they do not have paid leave then we will consider paying for them to stay home. Will need a doctor’s note.

What do I do if someone is knowingly exposed to corona virus: We do not have the resources to pay employees to self-quarantine and cannot force it. We are asking that staff stay home if they feel any symptoms or think they are getting sick. If they will be burdened financially then we would want their supervisor to contact leadership. We will try to help if we can even though at this point, we do not know what that looks like.

We are making a temporary exception for how a child is defined within our sick leave policy to allow for team members to help their families with school closures by watching their grandchildren, nieces and nephews. Therefore if you need to stay home to watch a grandchild, niece or nephew you may use your sick leave to do so. We are also open to team members speaking with their supervisor to discuss a flexible schedule to allow for childcare coverage. If a team member needs to bring a child to work, it is ok as long as; it is for a limited period of time, not the daily daycare option and the child is not experiencing any symptoms of being unwell. Again, the whole idea of having team members work from home or have shorter days is to limit exposure so bringing kids onto campus is defeating the purpose. 

This is a real opportunity to build our team relationally, sit and speak with your team members about their family dynamic and let’s be creative. We deeply care for each team member and want to keep everyone as healthy as possible even within these tough perimeters. 

We have several departments that will need help during this time, if you are open to working in other departments such as our shelters and kitchen please let us know. Our kitchen specifically will be moving from family/buffet style of serving to individually packed meals or lunches. This is much more time consuming and will need an assembly line set up for them to be successful and maintain how many meals we deliver. A lot of our volunteer groups are cancelling for the next two months so if we are able to plan shifts that team members can help in the back of the kitchen, that would be appreciated!

I would like to emphasize that accommodations made by management (whether with kids or schedule or sending someone home with a financial burden etc.) must be approved by a Director and HR. This will allow us to be aware and remain consistent.

As a reminder, the whole point of social distancing is to delay the spread of this illness and not overwhelm our health care system but we do understand that we are not going to prevent people from getting the virus and infection but we are trying to mitigate risk. We will gather this information to gauge how many employees this will affect and let you know how we will help moving forward. We are also working on compiling an email to help supervisors gauge if an employee can work from home and what the expectations will be during this time.

God bless.

Duke Paulson, Executive Director


March 16, 2020

Dear community,

The Tacoma Rescue Mission is on the front lines as we come alongside individuals who have some of the fewest resources to cope with the Coronavirus (COVID-19). We’ll continue to provide services and lean into helping others as much as we possibly can during this uncertain time.

While doing our best to limit risk to our guests, volunteers and staff, we’ll continue to provide crucial care and resources, relationally and lovingly, to people in need.

Out of care and caution for our community, we’re taking the following actions . . .

  • Cleaning and sanitizing has been ramped up to occur every hour instead of our regular three times a day schedule. Additionally, social distancing has been implemented whenever possible. 
  • We’re identifying our most at-risk guests and staff – elderly and/or having underlying health conditions – and providing special accommodations to reduce risk and exposure for those vulnerable individuals. 
  • Additional support is being provided to staff. It’s our intention to not lay anyone off. In fact, we have implemented a temporary $1.50/hour increase to our hourly staff to support them in this time. We’re working to provide child care assistance, hiring additional staff and providing cross-training to ensure that shifts are covered and services continue uninterrupted. 
  • We’re still allowing community members to come and serve. To ensure your safety and protection, volunteers must be under 65 years old with no underlying health issues. 
  • In partnership with the health department, we’ve created an action plan to be prepared for any positive cases of COVID-19 in the coming months.

During this time of increased need and uncertainty, it is crucial that we all stand together and come alongside our most vulnerable neighbors.

Please continue to pray for the safety, protection and health of guests, volunteers and staff. And pray that the love of God will be evident in our actions. 

We’ll be updating our website regularly with information on how you can help and the Mission’s response to this rapidly evolving crisis. 

Please visit trm.org/covid19update for updates or email info@trm.org

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of sound mind”

– 2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV)

In Christ, 

Duke Paulson 
Executive Director 


March 12, 2020

Because the health and well-being of our community is of utmost importance to the Tacoma Rescue Mission, we are postponing our annual HopeGivers Luncheon, originally scheduled for Tuesday, March 24th

The Luncheon has been rescheduled for Monday, June 1st.*

As always, we remain focused on the safety, care and transformation of our clients, volunteers, donors, ministry partners and staff.  And we’re dedicated to working with other organizations to address the crucial and increased needs of the community – especially now.  Most importantly, we stand grounded in our faith in God who is still in control.

At this time, we’d like to take the opportunity to: 

  • Thank you for your continued support. You make this ministry possible!
  • Encourage you to personally take comfort in the love and care of Jesus who is always at your side.
  • Ask you to pray.  Please pray for those who have lost loved ones, the sick and the medical professionals treating them, our leaders and the entire community.  And please pray for our staff as we continue to serve men, women and children in great need.  The Tacoma Rescue Mission is on the front lines as we come alongside individuals who have some of the fewest resources to cope with COVID-19.  We’ll continue to provide services and lean into helping others as much as we possibly can during this uncertain time. 

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)  

In Christ,

Duke Paulson, Executive Director

* We realize this change in date may not work for everyone who already purchased a ticket and are willing to refund your purchase.

If you have questions please email HopeGivers@trm.org or call 253-383-4493.