Every time a daytime warming center, or service center, is opened, I read stories of the community reaction to seeing more homeless people. It seems people fear these services are harming downtown businesses, and the services are drawing homeless people to Olympia. I do agree that homelessness is good for no one, and it is difficult to see a crowd of people in need on cold and rainy winter days, but these people were already here in our community. Services like the Community Care Center and last year’s warming center immediately revealed the amount of need for our community members to get respite from the rainy streets and access to services. Have patience — we need to give these centers and other services time to start healing the causes of homelessness in our community.
I like to think that the increased visibility of the issue will help build will in our community to make needed changes.
Step 1: Approve the Home Fund on the February ballot, so that service providers can create more supported housing for our most vulnerable homeless populations.
Please remember, these are people who despite no home address have a right to be somewhere, and they have been here all along. Get involved, volunteer, meet the people. See these services as a sign that you live in a compassionate community — and keep coming downtown to enjoy all the great things Olympia has to offer.