Tacoma invests $1.6 million into Rescue Mission to build new women`s facility

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TACOMA, Wash. - The City of Tacoma is investing more than a million and a half dollars into fighting the homeless crisis.

Tuesday, the City Council voted to allocate about $1.6 million to the Tacoma Rescue Mission.

“Money well spent. Money very well spent. These folks aren’t on the street. They’re being taken care of in a humane place,” said Tacoma City Council Member Ryan Mello.

The money will go toward creating a new women’s shelter.

“This is a really cool partnership with the city,” said Duke Paulson, the Executive Director of the Tacoma Rescue Mission.

Paulson says between the rescue mission’s family shelter, men’s shelter, and housing facilities they provide homes to about 400 people. However, that’s still not enough.

“There’s a long wait list of people. There’s people turned away from the family shelter, people turned away from our men’s shelter,” said Paulson.

With the creation of the new women’s shelter, Paulson says they will be able to house about 50 more people, a service, people like Derrick Dooley know is priceless.

“The first day you walk out of your place and know you can’t come back, it’s devastating,” said Dooley.

Dooley, his wife, and their two daughters are living at the Tacoma Rescue Mission family shelter.

Dooley says they’ve been living there for about a month and a half.

He says he worked as a mechanic but lost his job. Dooley says it only took a week or two of unemployment before he and his family were forced to sleep in their car.

“I didn’t sleep, I made sure they slept {his family} but the worst thing for me was this one here {Dooley’s 7-year-old daughter Emilia} that you see is so happy and bubbly she realized we were homeless, and she shed tears,” said Dooley. “For her to realize that, at 7 years old, and having to be strong for everyone else, I never want to do it again," said Dooley.

Luckily, Dooley says he and his family were able to get into the Tacoma Rescue Mission.

He says he’s going back to school, and his goal is to get he and his family back under their own roof. He thanks the rescue mission for helping him get back on his feet.

“If we weren’t here, we would still be clueless,” said Dooley.

Paulson says with the city’s investment and funds they've already collected they have about two thirds of the total $3.2 million needed to construct the new women’s structure.

The goal is to open the new women's shelter by December, and Paulson says to make that happen, they need to start construction within the next month.

He says they're working to find the other $900,000 needed.

You can find more information on the Tacoma Rescue Mission here.

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