If Thurston County has stepped up to the homeless challenge, as Mr. Kover claimed in his Aug.18 letter, I wonder why I routinely encounter dozens of homeless individuals not just downtown, but at the exits of many shopping centers throughout the county.
I wonder if Mr. Kover is aware that the Olympia Point in Time Homeless Census Report of 2016 found 586 homeless people in one night, and undoubtedly missed many others. I wonder if he knows that of those surveyed, 60 percent were disabled or that a large majority were Thurston County natives. I wonder if he knows that county schools counted 1770 children homeless, or if he realizes the top three reasons homeless individuals cited for their situation were economic, job loss or family crisis.
Perhaps he isn’t aware the main reason for homelessness is lack of affordable housing. In fact, 36 percent of all Thurston County households are considered at risk of becoming homeless as they pay more than 30 percent of their wages on housing.
When housing is treated as an investment and a commodity, it denies our universal need for shelter and sullies the sanctity of life. Let’s not forget Mary and Joseph were homeless.
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No, Mr. Kover, until all of our neighbors have access to clean and affordable accommodations, Thurston County is not doing enough. It’s time all the good people working on this issue join hands with each other, with neighbors and with local governments and coordinate resources to end this shameful state of affairs.
Grace Lenger, Olympia