Dear City of Olympia staff and Council Members,
As you are likely aware, Just Housing and members of other local advocacy groups and faith community members are working together to organize a peaceful march to City Hall on May 21st. The purpose of this march is to advocate for and ask the city to take the following actions:
- End the forcible removal of homeless encampments on public property
- Develop and adopt more just, compassionate, and effective policies related to responding to encampments, like a Shelter-in-Place model. This might include specific actions like:
- Creating transparent policies and accountability processes that ensure adequate time, support and legal and appropriate alternatives are provided if a person needs to move.
- Including encampment residents in the process of developing said policies.
- Adopting said policies in keeping with humane principles as outlined in City resolution M – 1942 and The Charter for Compassion.
- Partnering with service providers, advocacy groups and faith communities who are supporting existing camps.
- Promoting health and safety with garbage service, handwashing stations, and public restrooms at existing camps
- Developing and supporting self-governance among the residents of the camps, and seeking to engage camp residents as an essential part of the solution to this challenge, rather than viewing them/us as the problem.
- Engaging treatment providers to partner with and provide outreach to the residents of camps.
- Supporting the development of a regular stakeholders group meeting that invites all interested citizens, organizations, and businesses to guide the effort.
The goal is to develop a continuum of options created by the whole community that is sustainable. As stakeholders in this effort we wish to end the sweeps of camps that only creates more misery and suffering and erodes public confidence and partnership. We believe these are essential steps needed to ensure that all residents of our community have safe, legal, and appropriate places to live.