Having a safe place to call home is fundamental to all families’ and individuals’ ability to thrive. Over the past year, we listened as hundreds of you, our fellow Olympians, shared your deep commitment to this goal, your ideas for how to make this vision a reality, and your fears about what can happen if we don’t.
Throughout the development of this plan, we heard your stories. You shared stories of survival and strength, stories of giving and deep empathy and concern, and stories of mourning and loss. Our responsibility was to listen, and not to judge or choose winners and losers, but rather to distill your collective voices into a shared and balanced way forward for addressing homelessness and its impact on our community.
At its core, this plan is about more than homelessness. It is about how as a community we came together, often face-to-face and despite seemingly significant differences, to discover commonly held values and a shared commitment to maintaining the quality of life in Olympia we so deeply care about.
We recognize and honor the many impactful efforts by our community that have made, and continue to make, life-changing differences in the lives of individuals and families. Let us not lose our momentum, but build on our shared experience, and move swiftly to action. Public agencies at every level, residents, businesses, non-profits, philanthropic organizations, and others need to join in this critical work. We know it will not be easy; more difficult conversations will be needed. We know there will be significant challenges and setbacks.
And we know we need to continue to be better at intentionally seeking out the voices of marginalized members of our community. While disproportionately affected by homelessness, they are all too often underrepresented in planning and decision-making. There is more we can do to ensure that everyone feels welcome and respected, and has their voice heard.
This plan is not meant to sit on a shelf, but to be a living document to rally around; a call for bold, strategic, and innovative efforts. All three elements of this plan are meant be acted on simultaneously. We recognize that this will take a tremendous amount of work, and that regional collaboration will be critical to making a real difference.
We are a strong community with exceptional individuals, businesses, and non-profit organizations; we don’t walk away from wicked problems, but instead we lean in with compassion, grace, and a desire for transformative change. That is why we so strongly believe that together, we can continue to make a difference.
- Members of the Community Work Group