In an effort to help residents in Tacoma’s Eastside, a $1.75 million grant was awarded to help lift 250 families out of poverty.

The Economic Security for All grant — which is supported with funds from the governor’s Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act discretionary U.S. Department of Labor budget — has been awarded to WorkForce Central and partners to help families over the course of 33 months.

The grant will serve 440 individuals who are on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or eligible for it. The goal is to move those people into career pathways that will launch them above 200 percent of the federal poverty level, making them financially independent. For a family of two, an annual income of below $32,480 is considered below 200 percent of the federal poverty level.

Efforts have been assigned to Tacoma’s Eastside, specifically in the 98404 zip code. The 33,543 people living in 98404 account for 4 percent of Pierce County’s total population, but represent 7 percent of people living below 200 percent of federal poverty level. Almost half of this population falls below this threshold, and no other zip code in the county has more residents receiving food assistance.

The proposal describes a significant effort to partner agencies with different specialties in order to offer wrap-around support to families on Tacoma’s Eastside.

Directed by WorkForce Central with space provided at the Salishan Association Family Investment Center, the initiative will function in collaboration with South Sound 2-1-1; Centers for Strong Families; Guided Pathways; Tacoma Housing Authority’s Family Self-Sufficiency; and Career Readiness, Education & Development (CRED). Services offered by partners will include mental healthcare, employment training, transportation, housing, financial literacy and planning, and educational resources.

“This award, coupled with resources committed by WorkForce Central and our partners, will enable us to launch and support demonstrated and innovative strategies that will help our families achieve economic stability,” said Linda Nguyen, CEO of WorkForce Central.

WorkForce Central is an employment resource organization serving Pierce County connecting job seekers with employment opportunities, creating a cohesive workforce development network, and aiming to achieve greater economic vitality in the community.