Education / Human Services

Expanding the American Promise

Tacoma Community House

As more and more people seek help from the only agency between Seattle and Portland providing comprehensive services to immigrants, refugees, and low-income people, Tacoma Community House (TCH) is bursting at the seams.

Founded in 1910 as a settlement house for Italian and Scandinavian immigrants, today TCH serves 3,500 people from more than 100 countries each year. Their wraparound programs include education and employment services; legal services for immigrants, refugees, and victims of crime and abuse; and services for individuals and families seeking permanent residency and citizenship. TCH helps its clients, 85 percent of whom earn less than 80 percent of the area’s median income, to learn English, earn a GED, find a job, and get legal representation.

Demand has grown steadily for a century, and today TCH programs have weeks-long waiting lists, there are no private spaces for sensitive conversations with clients, and some staff are working in what used to be closets and a bathroom.

In October 2018, TCH broke ground on a new, 27,000-square-foot building with more classrooms, private consultation spaces, and room for offices and community events. Its new home will double its footprint on the same block where it has operated for 108 years and allow it to serve nearly twice as many people by 2025. This construction is made possible through a TCH capital campaign and a financing partnership among NFF, Capital Impact Partners, and PNC Financial Services that includes $5.5 million in loans and $13 million in New Market Tax Credits.  

“TCH’s services have helped many people who have contributed to our country’s diverse social fabric for more than a century. We are proud to help them grow and extend opportunities to even more immigrants, refugees, and other underserved people,” said Norah McVeigh, NFF’s Managing Director, Financing.

“Mission-driven organizations are critical for expanding equity and opportunity to communities that are often left on the margins,” said Diane Borradaile, Capital Impact Partners’ Chief Lending Officer. “In particular, co-located services make accessing vital services easier for the communities that we serve. TCH’s commitment and hands-on support with an array of social services highlights how community development can make more equitable and prosperous futures for underserved people possible, including immigrants and refugees. Our mutual commitment makes us proud to support this work.” 

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