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Community Engagement In Person
During the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, community engagement staff at the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency were faced with what and how to do meaningful community engagement virtually. That came with its set of challenges but we were able to host virtual workshops and community meetings. Now that we are seemingly coming out of the pandemic, we have been able to do our first in-person events since before the pandemic and we could not be more excited.
On May 22 and June 12, Agency staff on the Lakewood Focus Community team, in collaboration with the Lakewood Community Collaboration group, participated in two community-led events to distribute filter fans ahead of the 2021 wildfire season. With the COVID-19 eviction moratorium ending and a shortage of affordable housing in the region, the primary goal of these two “Career & Employment Fairs” was to invite Springbrook and Tillicum community members to learn about employment and training opportunities and to connect residents with true living-wage jobs. The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department’s (TPCHD) also provided free COVID-19 vaccinations to interested residents.
At both events, staff provided information to community members about preparing for the coming wildfire season and distributed filter fan kits – which include a box fan, two filters, and clips – to households that need them. Staff distributed 24 filter fan kits at the May 22nd event, and 9 filter fan kits at the June 12th event. Staff also made connections with various community partners including Pierce College, Clover Park Technical College, the Korean Women’s Association (KWA), Goodwill, Career TEAM, and TPCHD. We look forward to working with these organizations in our future focus community work.
As the Agency’s first two in-person community engagement events since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, these gatherings provided invaluable opportunities to reconnect with community partners and develop and maintain key relationships with community leaders. Staff were thrilled to be able to actively engage with residents of our focus communities and look forward to many more events to come, in a safe socially distant way.
By the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency's Lakewood Focus Community Team