The SideWalk program has announced a milestone in its effort to end homelessness in Olympia.
SideWalk has found housing for its 500th client since the rapid rehousing program began in November 2012. The non-profit program specializes in connecting the local homeless population with housing, case management and short-term rental assistance.
The program has set a goal to get 300 more people into housing in the next year, said executive director Phil Owen. That means moving 25 people into housing every month — an attainable goal, he said, since SideWalk once housed 37 people in one month.
“We’ve whittled homelessness down to the point where we’re moving people into housing faster than they’re coming into the system,” Owen told The Olympian. “Three years ago, 500 people would have seemed impossible.”
SideWalk reports that the average cost to house each person is $1,200 in total rental assistance. Every year, the program holds a Gingerbread Village fundraiser around the holidays to support its efforts. This year’s event runs Nov. 27-29 at the Washington Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Olympia. Artists are being sought to make gingerbread houses for the fundraiser, which includes a silent auction.
To learn more about SideWalk, go to walkthurston.org.