About Us

Supportive Housing Association

The Supportive Housing Association is dedicated to sustaining multi-cultural inclusion, peer leadership and collaborative partners committed to educational and economic improvement initiatives to benefit youth and young adults residing in impoverished urban neighborhoods and rural townships.


The mission of the Supportive Housing Association is to increase infrastructure investment in underrepresented communities and provide culturally inclusive and relevant 21st century career, technical training and leadership opportunities for underserved youth and young adults.

In 1995 the United States Department of the Treasury officially designated the Supportive Housing Association as a 501 c (3) non-profit organization.

Fundraising and management for Supportive Housing Association is maintained in compliance with licensed lending institutions and Federal, State and local accounting requirements.

Private donations for Supportive Housing Association services are tax-deductible.

SHA Board Members

  • Susanne Marten – PhD, President
  • Melanie Claudio de Rayles, BA Museum Management Vice President
  • Moya Joubert – BS Limnology, Treasurer
  • Mark Miller – BA Professional Artist, Secretary
  • Latin Art committee members: Martha Davies, Laura Martinez, Mauricio Robalino and Kate Smith
  • Film Production committee members: John Hargis, Chhay Mam and Melanie Claudio de Rayles


South Puget Sound communities prioritize equitable investment and sustainable distribution of natural resources for safe and affordable housing, accessible educational facilities and informed science and cultural arts education and employment programs for low-income youth and young adults.

To achieve this vision, the Supportive Housing Association will work alongside other community members to implement improvement projects that will result in the empowerment of low-income youth and young adults and celebration of racial and ethnic diversity and cultural traditions. 


Respect. We include and honor leadership and contributions from diverse neighborhood stakeholders so that our work is authentic and culturally grounded.

Equity. We promote and work to improve economic equality, fairness and social justice for low-income and racially diverse communities.

Credibility. We set feasible and realistic goals at the intersection of community needs and organizational capacity, and we hold ourselves accountable to local leaders, neighborhood stakeholders and private and public contractors.

Learning. We improve our work by applying recognized, field and evidence-tested practices and by regular rigorous evaluation of our work.

Collaboration. We work in partnership with residents, community leaders, entrepreneurs and small business owners, private and public organizations to develop coalitions for the advancement of sustainable infrastructure and educational opportunities for underserved youth and young adults.


Since 1995 the Supportive Housing Association has been recognized by the United States Department of the Treasury and the State of Washington as a 501 C (3) non-profit organization. Founding Board of Directors included: Susanne Marten of Tacoma, Kelly Hoeckelberg of University Place, Anita Kent of Lakewood, Mary Smith of Edgewood, Sharon Selden of Spanaway, Doris Weaver of Sumner, Cecilia Zavala of South Hill, Dale Goldder of Fife, Julian Gallion of Puyallup and Peggy Tyson of Steilacoom.

From 1995 to 2000 the Supportive Housing Association Board members and staff were involved in sponsoring and assisting with the development of the following community initiatives for underserved communities:

  • Rural Health Collaborative, Town of Eatonville

  • Parker Road and Main Street In-fill for low-income housing, City of Sumner

  • Pre-development community planning for special needs apartment complex, Spanaway

  • Assistance with HUD 202 application submission Marymount, Spanaway

  • Submission of USDA Rural Health Clinic application-Southeast Pierce County

From 2000 to 2005 the Supportive Housing Association assumed lead sponsorship and consulting responsibility for the following projects and programs:

  • Domestic Violence shelter Peaceful Village, City of Sumner

  • Relocation of Sumner Senior Center to Sumner Commons

  • New construction Sumner Commons Senior Housing, City of Sumner

  • Formation of Whiteriver Housing Association, Town of Buckley

  • Formation of King’s Manor Senior Housing initiative, Pierce County

From 2005 to 2010 the Supportive Housing Association focused on assisting communities to implement for themselves the necessary planning activities and fund development work to successfully own and operate their own projects. This work primarily involved facilitating investments from organizations who were strong fiscal partners and resolute to addres unmet community need. During this time the following projects were identified and completed:

  • Joint sponsorship by United Way of Pierce County and the Tacoma Pierce County Public Health Department to plan for a healthcare facility and senior housing, Town of Eatonville.

  • SHA sponsorship of Urban Studies Interns, U of W, Tacoma-feasibility analysis of proposed mixed-use clinic and senior housing, Town of Eatonville

  • Lutheran Social Services sponsorship and successful submission for new construction 20 units HUD 202 senior housing, Town of Buckley

During years 2010 to 2015 SHA community development work focused on neighborhood improvement projects for the City of Tacoma, small business development and building connections to First Nation communities:

  • Start-up of Pacific Avenue Business District to include fund raising for decorative planters and low-income youth soccer scholarships

  • Creation of Casa Cocina (Home Kitchen) training program and business support services for home-based food production providers certified by the Washington State Department of Agriculture
  • Sponsorship of Samoan youth art class on principles of design and use of pastels for creation of shared collage images presented to District 4 TPD Liaison Officer

  • Joint sponsorship with Pacific Avenue Business District for recruitment of Artists to teach Sheridan Elementary school students mosaic art

  • Fiscal support for creation and installation of two “Little Bits” mosaics by Sheridan students on Pacific Avenue and the Moore Library

  • Recipient of Home Care License, Department of Health State of Washington.

From 2015 through 2021 Supportive Housing Association conducted outreach to First Nation communities of the Pacific Northwest, Indigenous Latin Americans and low-income Tacoma, Pierce County cities and unincorporated areas. 

  • Grant submitted and approved by the Pierce County Arts Commission to convene acrylic painting classes for teens taught by Rene Julio

  • Technical assistance for year 02 Pierce County Arts Commission funding to convene acrylic painting classes at South Hill and Lakewood libraries.

  • Resource development for Centro Latino and Hilltop Latin Arts Festival and Juried Art Show

  • Project planning and fund development to support the start-up of a free six week Summer Film Camp for impoverished youth to access technology and learn the fine art of filmmaking.

  • Participation in the media campaign for the Tacoma Pierce County Health Department “Culturally Grounded COVID-19 Communication Plan”
  • Recipient of City of Tacoma CARES Act funding for 2021 Extended School programs to convene and support film-making classes at Stewart, Baker and Hunt middle schools and sponsor of student paid Internships

Programs implemented in 2022 included:

  • Filmmaking instruction for Hunt and Stewart Middle School students

  • School Is Out Washington, Tacoma Arts Commission and Metro Parks Summer Film Camp for underserved youth

  • Supportive Housing Association partnership with the City of Tacoma Community and Economic Development Division to train underserved  youth and young adult filmmakers, offer paid Internships and marketing support to low-income small businesses and entrepreneurs.
  • Sponsor Arts First non-profit start-up
  • Co-founder of Puget Sound Region Latin Arts Group
  • Free Summer Ballet classes for BIPOC youth and young adults
  • Co-sponsor of Salon de Arte, City of Lakewood Festiva de Familia September 17, 2022

Programs implemented in 2023 include:

  • Viva la Cocina business development services for new-start food service providers
  • Viva la Cocina feasibility for Public Use and Inclusive Food Incubator facility
  • Salon de Primavera – Internships for Lincoln Highschool visual arts students
  • Salon de Primavera – Eastside Community Center visual arts classes for youth age 13 to 18.
  • Summer Visual Arts Teen Camp – Pierce County Sumner Library  July 10 to August 1, 2023.
  • Summer Visual Arts Camp Art Show – Sumner Arts Commission Chalk Art Fest July 27, 2023
  • Pop-up Summer Youth Art and Cooking Stations – City of Tacoma
  • Viva la Cocina Pop-up City of Lakewood “Fiesta de la Familia” September 9, 2023