Community Updates from Council Member Kristina Walker

At Large Pos. 8 - Kristina Walker Header

Happy New Year!

2021-2022 Budget


On Nov. 24, 2020, the City Council passed the 2021-2022 biennial budget. This was a tough process, as it included some cuts to programs that none of us wanted to make.  However, it also included some great changes that will allow us to focus on urgent needs like housing and support for our unhoused community and some new items like our Office of Community Safety, and a position dedicated to Project Peace. After many long, tough discussions, we were able to increase the proposed Fire Department budget in order to reduce their scope by just one engine. Our entire Council committed to working to find the additional funds to bring that engine back online before it is slated to be cut in April 2021. We have already identified up to $1 million from the Pierce County CARES funding that will support that effort and we will continue to work to find those dollars.

Looking to figure out exactly what made it into the budget?  The final budget document will be available in February 2021.  In the meantime, you can view the adopted amendments to the City Manager’s Proposed Budget here

Mayors for a Guaranteed Income

On Dec. 1, 2020, I was proud to sponsor a resolution for a guaranteed income pilot program in Tacoma through funding from Mayors for a Guaranteed Income. Just one week after our resolution was passed and we welcomed $100,000 to set up our pilot program, we were able to announce the receipt of $500,000 to implement that program from a private donor. I am looking forward to working with our partners at United Way of Pierce County to implement the pilot program.

Police Chief Recruitment & Transformation

Thank you to everyone who weighed in on the process to select Tacoma’s next Police Chief. After community meetings, input from the Community’s Police Advisory Committee, community surveys, and an extensive interview process including one with the Tacoma City Council, Tacoma City Manager Elizabeth Pauli has determined the appointment of Assistant Chief Mike Ake as Interim Police Chief, effective January 1, 2021. I look forward to working with Chief Ake as we make positive, transformational changes to policing in Tacoma. Appointing a new police chief is an important step in our transformation process but it is by no means the end. Related updates include the following:

  • The community is invited to share their input on changes to policing via our work with 21 CP Solutions at
  • Our Heal the Heart Core Coordinating Team has been selected and approved by Council. Congratulations to this great group who will be pushing us and guiding us to make policy changes that reflect our transformation work.
  • Our Office of Equity and Human Rights is in the process of hiring their new Chief Equity Officer, slated to start in early 2021.

Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department

mask bus

On Dec. 15, 2020, the Pierce County Council took up a vote to change the structure of the TPCHD. Tacoma City Council was not consulted in this change and passed a resolution the previous week opposing the action. Our health department is not only managing impacts and decisions associated with COVID-19 and Racism, but has begun dispersing the COVID-19 vaccine and will be implementing the largest scale vaccination program in our country’s history. It is vital that we do not make large administrative changes at this time and I am happy to see that both the Governor and the County Council majority agreed by not passing this resolution.

For information on the latest closures, Pierce County case counts, COVID-19 testing sites, or FAQs, visit Thank you for keeping us safe and informed, TPCHD!

Working to house our community

The City’s Neighborhood and Community Services Department has been working hard to increase the number of beds available to those living with homelessness. We continue to hear from the community what a priority this is - not only immediate shelter, but making more long-term housing options available.

To serve immediate needs, the City is currently activating temporary warming centers during this inclement weather season in collaboration with Metro Parks and community service providers.  The Eastside Community Center will open continuously through March 31 and operate 24/7, serving up to 55 people at a time.  I am supportive of temporary warming centers to utilize available space for our City’s most vulnerable during these cold days and nights.

I’m proud to announce that the new Tacoma Emergency Micro-Shelter (TEMS) site at 6th Avenue and Orchard Street is open, adding 40 units to the available 50 units in the TEMS site at 60th and McKinley.  If you would like to make a donation to either shelter, please call (206) 639-9988.  Additional information can be found online here.

Congratulations to Tacoma Housing Authority on their recent grand opening of the Arlington Drive Youth Campus, which includes 12 crisis beds, 58 apartments, and services.

Other ways the City is addressing homelessness include:

  • Investing $16.8 million invested in homeless response services for the 2021-22 biennium.
  • Funding more than 700 shelter beds for single adults, families, young adults, youth and survivors of domestic violence.
  • Working with community partners to identify and implement additional shelter beds in all areas of Tacoma.
  • Following COVID-19 guidance on encampment response from the Center for Disease Control and the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, which recommends not dispersing already congregated encampments.
  • Regular garbage and debris clean-up near encampments through third party contractors.
  • Providing outreach through the Homeless Outreach Team to people experiencing homelessness and living in encampments to connect them with shelter as available and with other homeless services.
  • Funding the Beacon Center for Homeless Youth, providing overnight shelter and support for our homeless youth.

I look forward to continuing this work and serving Tacoma in 2021. Please feel free to reach out to me at any time at