Momentum is building for more support and services for the Houseless in our community.
Thurston County Board of Health passed two resolutions on June 15, 2018 declaring the Opioid Epidemic and Homelessness a Public Health Crisis in Thurston County. The meeting was open to the public and can be viewed here on the County’s YouTube channel. One of LocalMotive’s contributors, Mary Watt, spoke on having compassion and kindness for our Houselesss neighbors.
We have heard there is a good possibility that the City of Olympia will be putting forth its own resolution to do more to help our Houseless friends. Every Tuesday at the City Council meetings, open to the public, anyone can sign up to speak (maximum of 3 minutes) on any topic they choose. We would like to see more members of our community come to a meeting and sign up to speak and advocate for our Houseless neighbors.
Our friends and neighbors who are forced to live without a roof over their heads are just like us. Some of you reading this are one disaster away from becoming Houseless or at the least you know someone who is. “Seventy-eight percent of full-time workers said they live paycheck to paycheck, up from 75 percent last year, according to a recent report from CareerBuilder.”
We cannot depend on the federal government to help those who need help. We have to help at the city and county and state level. “About 15 million children in the United States – 21% of all children – live in families with incomes below the federal poverty threshold, a measurement that has been shown to underestimate the needs of families. Research shows that, on average, families need an income of about twice that level to cover basic expenses.”
Action 1: Tell Olympia City Council how you feel about our neighbors and friends whose only option is living on the streets.
Tips for speaking at City Council
- Tell who you are. Introduce yourself, let them know where you live generally such as “the Eastside of Olympia.”
- Perhaps mention why the issue of people living on the streets is important to you.
- Speak from your heart. Speak about what you really feel and believe.
- A personal story makes a huge impact! If you have any experience in meeting any Houseless individuals or volunteering to help them, you could talk about that.
- No worries. It’s not a book report. There’s no failing at this. Council members appreciate that we aren’t all fabulous speakers.
- Come about 6:30 – 6:45 pm and sign up to speak. You will speak in the order you signed up. You don’t have to stay for the other speakers or meeting. You can leave after you speak.
- View members of the public who spoke about Houseless issues and Opiod addiction issues here.
Action 2: Meet Houseless folks and allies and show Olympia that you want everyone to have a roof over their head. If you can, bring food or beverages.
Camp-in for Houseless every Tuesday at Olympia City Hall,
6 pm – 6 am (601 4th Ave E, Olympia, WA 98501)
GCI Guardians of the Collective Initiative invites all Houseless and Allies of the Houseless to Olympia City Hall every Tuesday at 6 pm.
You can show support for our Houseless friends, neighbors, and community members by dropping in anytime that is convenient between 630 pm – 9 pm. GCI insists that the Houseless should be declared a protected class and that a Humanitarian State of Emergency should be declared so no one sleeps outside under a stoop of a local business. GCI states that people will die over the Winter, elderly, those with chronic diseases, those who had surgery. These folks are sleeping in a wet tent with everything wet and no place to dry clothes.
GCI is demanding immediate action for the City to obtain land suitable for legal camping with services: water, power, toilets, garbage and recycling services, emergency access road, on a bus route. Phoenix Rae Tendw, Ambassador for the Homeless and GCI organizer states”Local organizations and local government have failed to take substantive action for housing or legal camping for the Houseless.”
For further reading: Housing and Homelessness as a Public Health Issue from American Public Health Association
Allies bring food and beverages for our Houseless neighbors between 6 pm – 7 pm. Hot food, orange juice, and lemonade are especially wanted. Please drop in anytime that is convenient between 630 pm – 9 pm. Also you can pitch a tent and be part of the Camp-in until 6 am Wednesday. GCI has permission from the City of Olympia to camp on the sidewalk near the entrance to City Hall on Tuesdays.