Local organizations and local government agencies have failed to enact substantive action for the current crisis of the Houseless. They have not created housing or legal camping for the Houseless. While camping is not a solution, it can be a transitional means to survive until better options are available.
Renata Rollins, member of The Olympia City Council stated on July 6, 2018, “We amended our Emergency Housing (aka “tent city”) ordinance to make it easier to create tent cities on faith, nonprofit, public/city properties (HUGE change).” Rollins further explains that, “. . . one of the rules of the operating system is, we need legally incorporated entities who can sponsor these communities–in other words, 501c3 and faith organizations.” A church or other non-profit would have to pay for sanitation facilities, water, refuse pickup, power. The City is offering their help to organize and start tent camps and suggesting volunteers from local organizations could help.
First, let’s show Renata Rollins the appreciation she deserves as she works with others on the council to find solutions for the Houseless. Renata cares deeply about our community and we should recognize her hard work and vision. We must also recognize she is working within the limits of a government entity, that is necessarily cautious and deliberative and so can be slow to enact change.
This new ruling is a positive on the whole. The problem is we have not seen any faith organization or non-profit willing to sponsor a tent camp. Each camp could house 10 to 40 Houseless. How many tent cities would be needed for the 835 Houseless? (Determined by the Thurston County Point in Time Homeless Count 2018.) Homeless Census 2018
For the Houseless, Winter is a deadly time and it is coming soon. Some with medical issues and the elderly will not make it through the Winter.
A local organization, Guardians of the Collective Initiative (GCI), is asking for your help. They are collecting donations at Lakefair on Saturday and Sunday to go directly to the Houseless. GCI is working on a non-profit status.
Action: Bring donations to Green Party table in the “Free Speech” area of Heritage Park on Saturday and Sunday.
Most of us have some of these items in our homes now. New or used items needed are:
- Tents, tarps, blankets
- Air mattresses, camp pads, yoga mats
- Sleeping bags
- Winter coats and clothing, hats, gloves
- Camping gear
- Personal Hygiene products for women and men
- First aid items
- Hand warmers
- Over the counter medicines
- Cash donations
While you are enjoying Lakefair please consider making a donation of needed items or a few dollars to help others in our community who are in need of help. Your generosity is appreciated.