MDC Community News for Summer 2017


Mark Pereboom, CEO

Reducing youth and young adult homelessness

I am happy to report that together we are making a difference for youth and young adults in our community.  MDC was among a number of organizations that participated in the 100 Day Challenge to eliminate youth and young adult homelessness in Tacoma and Pierce County. When the challenge wrapped up on July 31, our community helped to find safe housing for 176 young people. This total included a number of young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 who moved into MDC’s Avenue Apartments.

The results from the 100 Day Challenge offer a promising start, but we know there is much more to do. The 2017 Point in Time Count identified 396 youth and young adults who were homeless in Tacoma and Pierce County in January, including 269 under the age of 18 and 127 between the ages of 18-25. Among them, there were 84 unaccompanied youth and young adults. The Avenue Apartments, with 14 units for young adults, opened in July to serve individuals who have been chronically homeless and who have a disability. The apartments are not time limited, and include access to wrap around services to help residents pursue their goals.

I am inspired by the first residents, who are focused on their education and employment opportunities. I am also proud that MDC’s new care management services link these critical resources together in a client-centered approach that can help improve the lives of these young adults.

Our community has a real opportunity to change the direction of the lives of youth and young adults by investing in new, innovative services offered through care management.

I hope you will join us at the MDC Share Breakfast on September 28 to learn more about the difference that community support is making in the lives of people here in Tacoma and Pierce County. Together, we can amplify the good and provide the tools people need to create better lives.








“I will always recommend services that will help veterans get back on their feet”, says Patrick.

Originally from Tacoma, Patrick was a disabled combat veteran, living with his family in Texas. When services for their autistic daughter were
discontinued by the state, Patrick decided to move back to Washington for a better way of life for him and his family.

“Our four-year-old daughter is autistic, and we were told that her speech and occupational therapies were not a medical necessity. I knew that Washington had great programs for children with disabilities. We arrived February of this year, with only three suitcases and the clothes on our backs.”

Upon arriving, they discovered the home they were promised was now being sold and no longer available. The shock of suddenly not having
a home put a great strain on the family, but Patrick was determined not to give up.

“We jumped around from friends’ houses. At one point, I was sleeping in the car outside my mom’s place, while my family stayed inside.
There just wasn’t enough room for all of us.”

In their search for housing, Patrick ran into barriers due to his disability, a previous eviction, and limited income. No one seemed to want to
work with him. In his desperation, he reached out to old friends about his situation and learned that they were connected to MDC.

Through recomendations, he quickly made an appointment with the Supportive Services for Veteran Families program and met with a case manager. With a little hard work and persistence, Patrick was able to find a place to live and his MDC case manager assisted with everything they needed along the way.

“SSVF paid for our application fee and all of the necessary deposits. They also supplied us with a furniture voucher from Northwest Furniture Bank and even offered a trip to Wal-Mart to pick out household items.”

Now that he and his family are housed in a safe and comfortable home, Patrick is able to manage his post traumatic stress disorder and mental health much better. A three time survivor of suicide, Patrick gives back to the veteran community in his role as president of a local nonprofit for veterans called 22 is 22 Too Many. The organization builds awareness around the devastating statistic that 22 veterans commit suicide each day. His goal is to help in the efforts to reduce the number of veteran suicides to zero.

“I really appreciate the MDC Veteran Services program. It has greatly helped me and my family, and I have already recommended it to other people. I will always recommend services that will help veterans get back on their feet.”




Bellete Williams began her journey with MDC as a client.

“I was a divorced, single mother of 4 young children, living with my mother. I was struggling on welfare with little to no hope until I heard about MDC from my mother, who was an employee at the time.”

Bellete was amazed at the number of resources available to her through MDC. Once she met with case managers, she was able to access housing, education, and energy assistance services.

“I needed to become more independent, so access to the housing program paved the way and I was able to move into a place with my kids. MDC helped me access food banks in the area so that I could provide groceries for my children.”

Bellete needed help with her electric bill. The energy assistance program helped to keep her lights on and maintain her costs.
The next step on her path was to return to school, so she accessed the Educational Opportunity Center (EOC).

“Education counselors helped me assess my career path and I discovered I wanted to help people in need. The process was fantastic and I was able to slowly get back on my feet again. I was able to find my way.”

For over 20 years, Bellete has worked in various departments of MDC. Now as a Chemical Dependency Professional, she finds her role very important. After growing up and experiencing alcoholism first hand, she understands the importance of the work she does every day.

“I wanted to work at MDC in chemical dependency because of my experience growing up around heavy alcohol use. I didn’t understand why my family was so connected to alcohol. All I knew is that I didn’t want me or my children to be affected. I wanted to help the community to let them know that they can break the chains of addiction.”

A grandmother of 12, Bellete wants to continue helping people in our community who are in need, especially those individuals struggling with substance use disorder.

“My professional goals are to help the patients become accountable, to set goals, and to utiilze the services that I used. I recommend services all the time, like EOC or housing. I even had success stories from a few of my clients mentioned in The News Tribune. My goal is to help individuals to stablize and to fulfill their dreams.”

In her work, Bellete uses an artistic exercise as a tool to help those in recovery. She created a vision board collage depicting stages in her life and goals. She uses this same exercise with clients to get them to see their true potential.

“I did a collage when I first started working here, because I had goals I was working on. I’ve had it for over 20 years and it has inspired me to continue along my path. So I have my patients take magazines and create their own vision boards illustrating that they can make changes in their lives and keep themselves motivated.”



Save the Date for the 2017 MDC Share Breakfast on Sept. 28

You can set the pace for the 2017 Share Breakfast and have an opportunity to meet this year’s speaker, Rick Steves, at the Part of the Solution Party on Sept. 27th.

Pacesetters are donors who make a donation of $300 or more prior to the Share Breakfast. In addition to gaining an invitation to the Part of the Solution Party, Pacesetters receive special recognition for their support during the Share Breakfast program. And most importantly, Pacesetters help set an example for the rest of the community as a leading supporter of the work that MDC does to help people in need.

To become a Pacesetter, call Rob McNair-Huff at (253) 284-9096 or sign up online at



2017 MDC Share Breakfast Premier Sponsor:

Leavitt Group Northwest

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