If there is one issue I have heard about the most on the campaign trail, it is homelessness. No matter where I am in my district, from Proctor to Point Defiance, from the West Slope to the North Slope, people are concerned about the city’s plan for homelessness. When they ask me what I think, I tell them we need to do many things at the same time.
We need to find ways to rapidly expand shelter services for people experiencing homelessness. We need to partner with churches, charities and non-profits to set up temporary places for people to seek shelter. This needs to be partnered with services to help people escape domestic violence, treat their mental health, or address addiction.
Beyond temporary shelter and services, we have to ensure people have access to permanent housing, education and job training. We want to help people quickly transition to more permanent housing and work. By helping them develop the skills and connect them to jobs, we can better ensure people who are now housed, stay that way.
In the long term, we have to continue to find ways to build more types of housing in our community. From apartments, condos, and townhomes to single family homes, we need more places for people to live. This can allow people who have found stability and work to begin building a home and a connection to our community.
As with many of the problems facing our city, there are no simple answers. What we can do is elect competent leaders that can do the complex work that is required of our city. I believe I am one of those leaders and I hope I get the chance to prove it.