By: dgardner

Tacoma opening new homeless shelter

King 5 News
December 29, 2014
Reporting by Janet Kim

Tacoma, Wash. -- As parts of Western Washington are expected to see freezing temperatures, a new homeless shelter in Tacoma is getting ready to open its doors.

The Catholic Community Services's new Nativity House was set to open Monday, but it will have to hold until Tuesday night as it awaits the arrival of beds and furniture.

On Tuesday, people will also begin moving into one of the 50 new Nativity Apartments, permanent housing for the chronically homeless.

Kathy Gurko will be one of the first residents, and she believes it will help her get back on her feet. She has been homeless since she started to lose her vision and hindered her ability to go to work and school.

"I'm only one of many stories, and there's a lot of people that have had similar situations and they can't even pull themselves together to figure out the next step without something like this," said Gurko.

The permanent apartments are just part of the Catholic Community Services' new $13.5 million Nativity House facility. Other improvements include the hospitality center to serve meals and an overnight shelter, which will sleep 120 men and 50 women.

The Nativity House director Nick Leider said not only will this facility include more beds, but will better serve the people who are using them.

"The current facility is well-used is putting it kindly, much lower ceilings and harder used," Leider. "This is much nicer and a dramatic improvement."

South Sound Outreach Services partners with homeless facilities throughout Pierce County, and long-time director Roberta Marsh believes the community is in need of more options. The new Nativity House representatives said this is the only facility in Tacoma offering shelter for single women with no children.

"For our community, having the first safety net like the Nativity House along with Emergency Shelter is critical," said Marsh. "People go into crisis and they have to have some place to go."

The facility will also offer counseling and employment services. The Nativity House campaign is still raising funds toward its goal of $16 million.

If you'd like to donate or volunteer, you can go to www.ccsww.org or call 253-502-2671.

View original video coverage at King 5 News

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