Finding affordable housing is tough for most people in Pierce County, but having additional personal trauma or financial barriers can make it next to impossible.
The One Percent IMPACT Initiative was started in 2020 by Seattle-based Goodman Real Estate. The program partners with Housing Connector and the Landlord Liaison Program of Pierce County to support families with critical needs like reduced rent and amended screenings.
That can mean a lot in an area where apartment rents in Tacoma alone now average between $1,503 and $2,552 a month, according to the latest figures from rent.com.
In 2021, the program made $100,000 in philanthropic donations and provided more than $200,000 in rent discounts, according to its annual report.
IMPACT program ambassador, Audrey Riddle, recently spoke with The News Tribune on how the program works.
“This is something that we as a housing provider wanted to give back even more to the households that are predominantly experiencing homelessness,” said Riddle. “Our goal is that we have 1 percent of all of our available units as part of this program. That’s where the name comes from.”
Housing Connector and Landlord Liaison, Riddle says, acted as the go-between for clients seeking help through nonprofits such as Associated Ministries and through them finding affordable apartments in the One Percent program.
“If someone’s looking for housing, they need to be connected with a nonprofit,” she said, in order to participate in the program. “The managers of the nonprofits have access to our units, and so they work in tandem with applicants who are looking for housing.”
Units are made available on a Zillow-built platform for clients and case managers to see what they qualify for and to apply.
“And then we would, as part of our agreement, we would have a reduced screening criteria,” Riddle said.
Goodman Real Estate, as a multifamily housing investment company, oversees studios, one- two- and three bedroom units and is one of several real estate entities involved with Housing Connector.
It works primarily with “households who need a second chance or maybe have something on their background that they needed more of an opportunity or more support in order to get into housing,” Riddle said.
Goodman’s properties in Pierce County include Aero Apartments and Altitude 104 in Tacoma, Arbor Point in Lakewood, Autumn Village in Milton, and Cambridge on Seventh in Puyallup, among others.
It’s not just housing units the program makes available to the clients.
“What we’ve been doing each holiday season is reaching out to the households, if they would like to participate, and then providing us their holiday list for their families or themselves,” Riddle said. “And getting them anywhere from some essential needs to some really fun presents that they’ve requested. And that we find is a really good empowerment tool … it’s not just about living, it’s about thriving.”
Goodman’s program has helped 46 households in Pierce County since 2020, Riddle said.
One of those who’s been assisted in the program is Elizabeth, who requested her last name not be used because she is a survivor of domestic violence.
Elizabeth is originally from Tacoma and now lives in Fife. She describes a time of bouncing among shelters with her two daughters.
“We had been on the run for about a year from our abuser, and we were in a shelter jumping from shelter to shelter just trying to find something affordable,” she told The News Tribune in a recent interview.
“We had a Housing Authority coordinator, and she put us into a lottery for a couple different housing projects. We happen to just by chance find out about the apartments through her. And by the time we looked at the apartment, it was during COVID, so we couldn’t really look at it. We had a virtual tour. From the time we did the virtual tour and moved in, it was about a week, and it was amazing.”
Two years later, she said the program has been a life-saver for her family.
“The bonds that we have made in those two years, and just having our own little space in the world, is amazing,” she said. “When you feel like you can’t do something and then you get an opportunity to prove to yourself you can stand on your own two feet, and, if it makes me a role model to my daughters, then I can’t give that enough praise.”
As for her future, she’s working on bigger plans.
“I would like to save up money and purchase a home so I can have roots.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION
▪ Landlord Liaison Program: landlordliaisonprogram.com/need-housing
▪ Housing Connector: housingconnector.com/eligibility
▪ One Percent IMPACT Initiative: goodmanre.com/impact/