Ordinance will provide dignity, respect for homeless | Letter to the editor

Posted 5/22/22

We are in a housing crisis. There simply is not enough affordable housing for individuals or families. 

The proposed modifications of the current county ordinance for “Temporary Housing …

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Ordinance will provide dignity, respect for homeless | Letter to the editor

Posted

We are in a housing crisis. There simply is not enough affordable housing for individuals or families. 

The proposed modifications of the current county ordinance for “Temporary Housing Facilities” sets standards for a wide variety of community supported and structured housing responses — from the overnight emergency shelter (as at the Legion), to supported tent encampments and RV parking (as at Caswell-Brown on Mill Road), and transitional housing (such as the Bayside Housing villages of tiny shelters at Peter’s Place in Port Hadlock or Pat’s Place in Port Townsend.) It is all of these forms of temporary housing facilities that the ordinance addresses.

Each of these permitted temporary housing accommodations includes a sponsor and/or managing agency, limited to religious organizations and nonprofit agencies, that are responsible to “provide written policies which not only provide for the health, safety and welfare of the temporary facility residents, but also mitigates impacts to neighbors and the community.”

Compare this with the chaos and problems at the fairgrounds campground these past two years, when an actual “encampment” was formed due to a variety of factors, including the pandemic and a lack of structured support services.

The proposed ordinance will provide dignity and respect for our community members who find themselves without housing, while also creating a safe and healthy setting for them and for our neighborhoods. The tiny shelter villages are temporary, transitional housing. They are also a roof and a locking door. And a place where residents can hold their heads high and participate in a community-based transition from homelessness to permanent housing. 

Various studies have shown that, once in stable supported housing, individuals have been able to successfully address the many issues that may have driven them to homelessness. Housing First and community support work when residents are part of the solution, not just the problem.

Barbara Morey
PORT TOWNSEND

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