Protecting Washington Families

If you’ve ever been in an emergency situation, you know how hard it is to see beyond the crisis itself. This is the cycle that many people living in poverty deal with each day. They are desperately trying to survive and can only manage so much.

That’s where Community Action can help! Our agencies help stabilize families by addressing hunger, homelessness, and other issues. We engage clients through basic needs programs, with the goal of helping them to move past crisis and stabilize their situations. We then surround them with empowering programs and tools to help people prepare to exit poverty and create pathways of opportunity for the future.

Check out our video on how Community Action agencies are supporting families across the state. 

Community Connections Helps a Family in Need

In rural Pierce County, Katherine and Robert Tucker lived with their four-year-old daughter Rose. Katherine entered Pierce County Community Connections’ Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) at a time when she was exhausted and ill. Struggling with unemployment, a lack of transportation, and an untreated seizure disorder overwhelmed her. On top of these challenges, her daughter Rose had begun showing signs of the same untreated medical illness. Then Katherine gave birth to their second daughter, Helena, who was born a preemie with medical complications. Suddenly the family was at risk of losing everything. Robert, a Veteran Reservist who served twelve years in Iraq and Africa, missed a lot of work during the first weeks of Helena’s life in the hospital. In turn they experienced an avalanche of debt, leaving the family close to eviction.

Fortunately, during this time they were able to access supportive resources in their community. Hopelink of King County provided transportation for the family to and from Children’s Hospital during Helena’s first weeks in the NICU. Through Community Connections, the Tucker family was able to apply for Community Service Block Grant Emergency Services which provided rental assistance allowing them to remain in the only place their girls knew as home. Yet as the holidays approached, Katherine worried how she was going to explain to her children why there weren’t any presents under the tree. With the help of Community Connections’ Adopt a Family Program, they felt hope. They had the opportunity to create a wish list of books, warm footy pajamas, and a baby doll to be placed under the tree for their children. When Katherine and Robert received the donated gifts, they used their meager resources to create handwritten letters and photos as a thank you to their sponsors. “We don’t think we could have gotten through the last year if it wasn’t for ECEAP and all the support they provided,” Katherine and Robert said.

The Family Support worker in ECEAP was also successful in connecting Katherine to local medical providers. These providers were able to help stabilize her medical condition and connect Rose to a children’s hospital where she received all the care necessary to put the family’s mind at ease. Through the partnership with ECEAP the entire family accessed services for vision, dental, and transportation.

Katherine, despite her untreated illness and financial hardships, wanted to give back to those who supported her family. She started volunteering in Rose’s ECEAP classroom. Katherine ended up as a wonderful addition to the program and a strong volunteer.

Though the Tucker family struggles are not over, neither is Community Connections’ passion to advocate for the family. The family is now participating in the Pierce County Community Connections Healthy Families Program, which Katherine describes as an opportunity to work with yet another one of Community Connections’ “best family support workers”. The family actively participates in weekly evidence-based parenting sessions and continues to give back to others by donating items baby Helena is growing out of.

Robert is back to work full-time and considering college enrollment this next year. Rose is attending kindergarten and receiving developmental services to support her education. Katherine is taking time to enjoy quiet moments with baby Helena who has qualified for SSI support. Katherine looks forward to the days ahead when Helena is enrolled in ECEAP where she plans to take advantage of the professional training opportunity made available by the program. She plans to earn a commercial drivers’ license (CDL) class B with passenger and school bus endorsement to pursue her employment goal as a bus driver in her children’s school district.

- Tucker Family, Community Connections’ Clients

Family & Emergency Services

The Community Action network provides a number of family and emergency services through your local agency and across Washington State such as:

  • Clothing
  • Eviction Prevention
  • Emergency Shelter
  • Emergency Food Assistance
  • Utility Shut-Off Prevention
  • Fuel Vouchers
  • Transportation Assistance
  • Life Skill Classes
  • Money Management
  • Resources and Referrals to Partner Organizations
  • Supportive Case Management