Thursday, April 15, 2021

Miriam Barnett - YWCA
Home At Last: YWCA’s Housing with Dignity for Homeless Families in Tacoma 
In 2008, the YWCA purchased and remodeled the Wilsonion Apartments at 401 St Helens for our domestic violence shelter. When the building opened to clients, every family had their own apartment where they were safe and could begin the process of healing with privacy and dignity. Seeing the difference a beautiful environment made, Miriam Barnett decided that during her tenure at the YWCA, all spaces where clients would seek services would be beautiful. Next came a complete remodel of the old shelter into our an expanded legal and therapeutic children’s program where once again, beauty made a difference on how clients healed. Miriam's  final and largest project ($23.2 million) is Home at Last. Home at Last is 54 apartments for homeless families and individuals and while the shelter is a 90-day stay, this project is permanent housing. Tenants can stay as long as they need and want. The building filled up immediately with over 300 people vying to live in the building. The need is great. The arts play an integral part in all three projects and in our programming.

Miriam started her nonprofit career in 1987 as the Executive Director of Allied Arts of Whatcom County, a position she held for 11.5 years. She moved to Tacoma in 2000 to be the development director of Tacoma Arts Live and then was offered a double position at the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation as the Director of the Fund for Women and Girls and the Marketing and Communications Manager for the foundation.  In 2005, she was asked to become to the CEO of the YWCA Pierce County, a position that in her words, she has been blessed to have for almost 16 years. In July of this year, she will be stepping down to pursue new opportunities and slow down the pace just a little.