Housing & Homelessness
The city has been actively pursuing steps to address the homelessness crisis. By contracting with the Low-Income Housing Institute to manage a tiny house village, designating a mitigation site downtown, expanding access to shelter services, and partnering with the faith community to promote additional tiny houses, we’ve taken major steps to find housing for our most vulnerable neighbors, address the public health costs of widespread homelessness, and assist downtown businesses. I was proud to lead the effort to pass the Home Fund, a campaign to provide permanent supportive housing and services for chronically houseless individuals.
The city has also invested in mental health and support services for individuals that are experiencing a mental health crisis. Olympia created the Familiar Faces program where peer counselors with lived experience proactively engage with individuals that frequently utilize public services such as fire, EMS, and law enforcement. By building relationships, they connect individuals to services and appropriate care. Olympia also create the Crisis Response Unit which utilizes mental health professionals when a person is experiencing an acute mental health crisis. This allows medical professionals, not law enforcement to assist individuals with a mental health crisis.
Despite this progress, we need to do more – and Olympia can’t do it alone. As your councilmember, I will work to organize support from our neighboring communities to address this crisis. As a member of the Association of Washington Cities Housing & Social Services Legislative Committee, I testified to the legislature for increased funding options for local governments to address the homelessness public health crisis. I'll continue to work with other local elected leaders to advocate for support from the state government and craft solutions to this statewide problem. In my role on city council, I will seek sustainable solutions to address homelessness & building broader coalitions as a priority.
Olympians deserve and expect a safe and welcoming downtown core that serves as the social, cultural, historic, and economic heart of our city. Our downtown is a regional gem, and we must continue to support a growing business and retail environment, arts and cultural opportunities, promote inclusive residential options, and mitigate the impact of homelessness.
Over the next 20 years, downtown Olympia is expected to become home to 5,000 new residents. While we look forward to growing our city, we must work to ensure the availability of housing options for all income levels. As your councilmember, I’ll work to modernize our housing strategy, ensure that we have the tools to increase affordable housing supply, explore options for redeveloping city-owned property to meet our community’s needs, and increase public housing that will remain permanently affordable.
Climate Change & the Environment
I’m proud to live in a community whose citizens are so committed to protecting our climate, our green spaces, and our region’s natural beauty. Olympia has set ambitious carbon emissions reduction targets with the support of neighboring cities in Thurston County, and we are currently developing strategies to meet these goals.
Even with significant carbon emission reductions, however, scientists anticipate that sea levels will continue to rise, so it’s essential that we plan for the future now.
Downtown Olympia is vulnerable to flooding, and we must do everything possible to protect our critical infrastructure and downtown businesses from sea level rise while also working to reduce our city’s carbon emissions.
In addition to issues of climate change, we will continue working towards our park plan goals. Recreational opportunities and green spaces for all Olympians to enjoy is a priority of our community. In the years to come we will continue working towards park development and maintenance, the location of new dog park, and creation of neighborhood parks.