Will low-barrier shelter be a community asset?

OlympiaFebruary 21, 2014 

In February 2007, the homeless encampment, Camp Quixote, was established on a city lot in downtown Olympia. Its formation evoked considerable controversy. Then, in December 2007, an editorial in this paper stated: “One of the remarkable success stories of 2007 is Camp Quixote, the tent city encampment that started out so contentiously and today has evolved into an incredible community asset.”

This February the controversy regarding the needs of our homeless citizens focuses on the low-barrier shelter, The People’s House. Contrary to what some believe, The People’s House will not be absent any standards of behavior. Its intent, however, is to meet the needs of those who because of mental illness, addictions, effects of childhood abuse or the emotional strain of living on the street are unable to adapt to the more stringent requirements of other shelters.

By providing an environment that permits our most at-risk, homeless citizens to receive the support and services they need, The People’s House will bring essential stability into their lives. Support for The People’s House is not only a humane response to a challenging situation, but it will result in a safer and healthier community for all of us.

I can imagine a future editorial in this paper stating: “One of the remarkable success stories of our community is The People’s House. While it began contentiously, today it has evolved into an incredible community asset.”

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