We are fortunate that Interfaith Works is creating The People’s House, a low-barrier shelter with day services and on-site mental health support. There are members of our community who are homeless and don’t currently have access to our few shelters or to long-term housing.
The vast majority of these folks aren’t a danger to themselves or others. They are just women, youth, families, and men who need a safe place to stay while they work to create sustainable lives for themselves. Some may need the mental health support the shelter will offer.
As for the people who may present a danger to themselves or others, I would rather they have a safe place to stay instead of camping downtown or in the woods.
I wish The People’s House had existed during the three years I owned and operated a downtown business, because it would have provided a better option to the people who slept in the entryway to my business. In my current job at the Legislature, I’ve worked with low-barrier shelters in Seattle that have proven that this model is successful in assisting people to move out of homelessness and in creating safer neighborhoods.
I co-own a house in the Upper Eastside Neighborhood. Although I think The People’s House should be downtown, I would welcome it in my neighborhood.