MDC's Purpose

The ultimate goal of all our services: Helping people. Changing Lives.

There is no easy formula for helping people move out of poverty, but there are well-conceived strategies that confront the problems rather than focus simply on the symptoms. There are things we can do that will level the playing field for those who lack opportunities, giving them a chance to develop and achieve.

The best we can expect if we do this work responsibly is to be no longer needed and to see individuals and families who are stable, working, contributing to our community, and offering their children better opportunities.

MDC has for 48 years been Pierce County’s trusted operator of federal anti-poverty programs. We have developed experience in health services, housing, employment and training, and education. We have seen what works in government policy and what does not. We have learned that a piecemeal approach, like a band aid, will delay crisis but not change lives for the long-term. We have learned how to coordinate an array of programs that together form a comprehensive services web and meet the multiple needs in a family simultaneously. We have seen dramatic and extensive improvement through our services helping entire families leave the system and live successfully on their own. We have developed a methodology that demands increasing levels of individual responsibility, provides consistent support, and encouragement throughout their transition from dependency to stability, and ultimately to independence.


MDC Difference

Hope in Times of Crisis

MDC gives hope in time of crisis. It’s hard to ask for help. Most people wait until they are in desperate need or crisis before asking for help. They come to MDC for a specific service or program that will address their most immediate need. Once the individual or family is stable we can learn more about the individual and his/her family, and help them to identify their strengths and the needs or barriers that are preventing self-sufficiency.

Crisis Intervention

MDC gives care in times of need. If a family is living in their car, the first thing they need is shelter. For some, they need medical care to address a long-term condition that is preventing their ability to work. Others need training for a new type of job following months of unemployment; and some need help overcoming their chemical dependency addictions. Teens seek help with school, family problems and their homelessness. Whatever the pressing need, MDC helps people address their crisis with an eye toward a future of stability and strength.

Case Management Support

Through case management we learn the root cause of the family greatest need. A case manager will conduct an in-depth assessment and assist client in creating a plan that is best for the individual. If a person seeking chemical dependency treatment is homeless, the case manager can refer him/her internally to someone to address his/her housing needs, while he/she continues to treat his/her addiction. With time, the housing needs are met, the chemical dependency treatment continues and now the individual is ready to address his/her employment or education needs.

Creation of a Family Self-Sufficiency Plan

MDC looks at the family as well as the individual, identifying the services needed to help that family improve their lives. Such a plan involves the entire family, and identifies and connects to school, church, and community resources. Priorities, timelines, communication, and benchmarks are established. The individual and his/her family all understand what is needed and who will help as they connect to various programs and services. Throughout this process, case managers are actively present to provide support and encouragement.

Coaching and Success

MDC gives guidance in times of opportunity. Our wish for every family is for them to become safe, stable, secure and self-sufficient. Each family’s journey is unique. Some take only a few months to reach their goal, while others may take a year or much longer. With MDC, most people can access the multiple services they need and make significant progress toward their goal. We celebrate the achievements of the families we have served in Pierce County this past 54 years.

Community Need

Poverty takes a huge and lasting toll on families and jeopardizes the quality of life for all of us in the community. Research has defined what is called the cycle of poverty or generational poverty as when living in poverty passes from one generation to the next. Families lose hope and become disconnected from choices that can aid in their progress. They then begin a spiral downward—economically, socially, emotionally, and psychologically. The symptoms of poverty become more pronounced and entrenched. Communities suddenly notice more crime, more homelessness, more drug addiction, increased school drop outs, more teenage pregnancies, more graffiti, and even more trash and abandoned buildings.

We in Tacoma have seen decades where poverty impacted every element of community life. But, in the last 10-15 years this had begun to change for the better. However, these gains are already being negatively impacted by the results of the Great Recession of 2008. Preservation of what has been achieved here in Tacoma and Pierce County depends on a concerted effort now to help individuals and families regain their stability.

2015 Community Needs Assessment

MDC and Pierce County jointly conducted a Community Needs Assessment in 2014-2015, and the final report was received by the MDC Board of Directors in April 2015.

Here is the Final Report.