Tacoma Rescue Mission expands shelter

Thursday, January 26, 2017
By: Jenna Hanchard/KING5

One comprehensive shelter in Tacoma is now putting a roof over the heads of more than a handful of families who were living on the streets.

TACOMA, Wash. – It’s moving day at Tacoma Rescue Mission, and Michelle Wells is getting her old room ready for the next guest.

“I like everything sparkly. I’m trying to make sure it’s all clean like I would clean an apartment. You know when you move out, and you wipe everything down,” said Wells.

Wells is in recovery.

“I was homeless and addicted to drugs. I wanted to go to treatment, but I couldn’t get into standard treatment because the waiting list is five months long for that,” said Wells.

A few months ago, she came Tacoma Rescue Mission and enlisted in the Women’s Recovery Program, a program that is now moving into another building. It’s part of a recent reorganization of the Tacoma Rescue Mission to free up more space for more families.

“We’re going to be able to go from 20 families we can shelter to 32 families,” said Mike Johnson, executive director of the Tacoma Rescue Mission.

This year, the City of Tacoma has funneled millions of dollars into homeless programs and shelters across the city.  The Tacoma Rescue Mission received at least $100,000 to help more than a handful of families who were living on the streets.

“It was scary, having to be staying up, making sure there’s no one coming to the car to hurt you or hurt your kids,” said Michelle Camacho, who spent more than six months living in a car with her 1-month-old and her 1-year-old.

They moved into one of the new rooms Thursday.

“I don’t have to sleep in the streets anymore. I don’t have to sleep in my car anymore,” said Camacho.

“We’re just so grateful to be able to bring educational support, occupational support, as well as housing support to people,” said Johnson, “So that we’re not just solving homelessness, but we’re really helping people pursue their dreams.”