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Love Olympia: Clean Community, House Homeless, End Encampments
February 7 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm PST
Most people who experience homelessness seek shelter and accept services, making their experience of homelessness safe, short, and singular. However, others reject free services and remain on the street, where they violate municipal codes and quality-of-life laws. Sometimes this is due to mental illness, sometimes due to substance abuse, and sometimes there are other factors involved. Regardless, people who live unsheltered utilize substantially more emergency services, greater public assistance, and criminal justice resources. Living in unsanitary conditions and without regular healthcare has also led to the spread of communicable diseases to the point of public health emergencies in some areas. The litter and garbage from one small encampment can be enough to devastate a forest or watershed, and we have them throughout our region. While our community struggles with how to respond to the homelessness crisis, skyrocketing housing costs, an opioid epidemic, and mental health system failures, the problems only get worse. Our urban areas are most negatively affected, such as Olympia’s historic downtown, costing the city millions in economic development and tourism dollars. Instead of revenue that could be used to improve the quality of life for everyone, it constitutes a growing burden on Olympia’s financial troubles. Meanwhile, we have created a downtown where many women, children, and seniors do not feel safe, and therefore avoid, thus furthering its downward spiral.The City of Olympia has pursued failed policies of containment and “mitigation” – with zero progress on these issues, and no clear path forward. In opting for policies that some call enabling, rather than accountability and tough love, many Olympia residents have accused the city of perpetuating suffering and allowing more crime. For instance, the Olympia Police have not been allowed to enforce the laws equally for ALL citizens. Officers are being ordered to act as social workers rather than strong, fair, law enforcement officers. As the treatment-resistant homeless population has exploded, we are faced with an overburdened criminal justice system and the idea that “we can’t arrest our way out of this.”Most chronically homeless people are NOT living on the street because our community is uncaring. Quite the contrary, many chronically homeless people are living on the street because they don’t care about the community that has made abundant, comprehensive services available to them. Enabling and spending more on people who refuse to utilize readily available services is wasteful and only compounds the problem. People are being allowed to squat in public spaces, automobiles, and in tents throughout our community. This has led to the dumping of large amounts of garbage, needles, human waste, and environmental devastation, often in delicate watersheds. Property and nuisance crimes have skyrocketed, while our community’s response to them has dwindled, accepting this as the “new normal.”When these same issues began to overwhelm the citizens of Reno, Nevada, an organization called QOL-Reno was formed. Since that time, they have been instrumental in raising awareness, educating the community, and providing direct services. QOL-Reno is coming to Olympia to give a public presentation on Friday, February 7th, at 7:00 PM at Jefferson Middle School. They will highlight their efforts to clearly define the problems their community is facing, hold their government accountable to address them, and reclaim their city and public spaces. The focus of the talk will be to present a reasoned explanation of why these are issues that our ENTIRE community can agree to work together to solve. QOL-Reno will also share the progress they are making, the revelations they are having, and the similarities between the issues in Reno and Olympia. Please join us for this educational presentation that will challenge assumptions, raise provocative questions, and provide enlightening answers.Who: QOL-Reno / Love OlympiaWhat: Public Presentation on HomelessnessWhere: Jefferson Middle SchoolWhen: Friday, February 7, at 7:00 PMWhy: Community Education and Action=========================Reno has the same thing going on.https://youtu.be/Vr2DMWzrCzw=========================Some people in Reno have had enough.https://youtu.be/mziiDLQLaOA=========================Reno’s citizens got organized.https://youtu.be/azBFsmUr1Kw=========================Quality of Life – Reno was formed.https://youtu.be/Frvg92BKvfw=========================https://www.facebook.com/events/632939547454648/