Home Consortium spends money in the wrong place

OlympiaAugust 17, 2013 

A low-barrier homeless shelter, The People’s House, is being proposed by Interfaith Works on the edge of the Olympia’s Eastside neighborhood. This shelter would house sex offenders, drug addicts, and felons. The shelter would be located right across from St. Mike’s school and a quarter-mile from Madison Elementary.

Today, I attended a meeting of the Thurston County Home Consortium where $2.1 million of funding was divided up among many social services organizations (SafePlace, etc). Of that, $400,000 was proposed for this risky shelter, but funding this project would take away from rapid-rehousing projects.

Members from Department of Commerce reported on a research study, which indicated that rapid rehousing was the most effective way to end homelessness. A woman from the Family Support Shelter explained that funding this high-risk shelter would put 45 families on the street. She spoke of one mother who was sleeping with her 8-week-old infant in a park.

Ignoring the data and common sense, the following members voted to put children and infants on the street in order to house sex offenders, convicts, and drug addicts: Jim Cooper, Olympia City Council (most vocal supporter of this shelter); Karen Valenzuela, Thurston County commissioner; Ron Lawson, Lacey councilman; Neil McClanahan, Tumwater councilman; Robert Scribner, Tenino councilman; Mike McGowen, Yelm councilman.

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