I’m writing in response to the article, “Does Olympia want more cheap digs downtown?” – and the follow-up editorial, “Low-income project needs new site.” I have been a resident of Olympia for over 10 years and feel that our homeless situation in downtown Olympia is the biggest issue facing our beautiful city. It is essential to find more housing for low and no-income people but at the same time we must do so in a financially feasible and sustainable manner.
Building low-income housing on some of our downtown’s most prime real estate at a cost of over $187,000 per unit is definitely not the way to go. Access to downtown’s attractions and services is essential for many low income people but that access could be offered more economically through use of public transportation options. These services do not necessarily have to be right next door.
Build low and no cost housing on less costly land with affordable public transportation to needed services. Save the higher cost real estate for market value condos, apartments and other housing so that our middle class population can access some of the same options as the homeless and low income people now do. Working people should not be shut out of the downtown housing market. If they are, downtown will continue to decline, and no one wants that. It’s too beautiful to lose.
Let’s save this treasured asset and house our homeless. These are not incompatible goals.