Presentation Minutes

Olympia Response – what another city is doing 

  • Larry Seaquist, League of Women Voters -
  • Larry’s presentation:  
  • Olympia is very conscious of the downtown chronic homeless.  There is a great deal of anger with the downtown store owners and people that use the downtown area.  As this anger is growing, the mayor responded with several things – raised taxes, a number of things too respond to the crisis.
  • The Mayor put together a homeless steering group, including folks experiencing homelessness – trying to think of things they can do.  They are running three community workshops – I went to the second of three.  It was a mix of angry people, citizens, providers, and people experiencing homelessness
  • Slides from the presentation: and
  • Started with a timeline of a long-term response to homelessness – and we learned more about what they are doing.  They are collecting information now, and by Fall, they are ready to roll out some actions.
  • They provided some data, but most of it is from the point in time count, which has its flaws (unless you like dramatic undercounts of people experiencing homelessness, then they are great –ed.)
  • They are trying to move to a 24x7 shelter system – they are trying to do some things downtown to respond to the homeless issue.  They have a crisis response group working with the police, some ambassadors, some cleanup work, peer navigators trying to make connections, working on secure stowage of belongings, putting out a walking patrol
  • Built out a mitigation site – standard tents and things.  Mayor indicated they are making progress. 
  • They are trying to do more tiny homes and emergency housing
  • What does Pierce County look like compared to Olympia? 
  • Priestess – the majority of the folks who are homeless do a lot of construction – want them to start building their own homes – many have trust issues.  The people are in their own world – we have to open up our world to the way they see them. 
  • Maureen – 25 years ago I was part of making recommendations about how the City of Olympia should respond to their first tent city.  We need to stop treating homelessness as an emergency, but rather as a piece of the fabric of society.  We work hard to look for a remedy, when it is an endemic issue. 
View minutes from the entire meeting