The Washington State Department of Commerce announced it will award $340,978 to Tacoma’s REACH Center. The grant is part of $1.7 million in funds awarded to five projects aimed at serving unhoused families and students in K-12 public schools across the state. The funds will allow the REACH Center to expand its ACT program, which assists Pierce County students and families experiencing homelessness.

The REACH Center was one of five statewide nonprofits to receive a Department of Commerce grant. Over 27 organizations that provide services for youth and families experiencing homelessness applied for funds from the state agency. The REACH Center is the sole Pierce County grant recipient, with additional sites located in Clark, King, Whatcom, and Yakima county.

Funds awarded by the Department of Commerce will help promote stability in housing and education and facilitate collaborative strategies between community housing and education partners. In particular, the funding will expand the REACH Center’s work in high schools across Pierce County, allowing the organization to hire a full-time peer outreach specialist to work with youth in the Bethel and Sumner school districts.

Having safe, appropriate, stable housing is the most basic foundation for helping students and families succeed,” Commerce director Dr. Lisa Brown said in a press release. “Every family’s situation and needs are different. These investments strengthen communities by supporting locally driven approaches and collaboration throughout the housing and education system to meet students and families where they are.”

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