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Commissioner Edwards: Homelessness a municipal issue, not the county’s –
Olympia Mayor Cheryl Selby believes homelessness needs a regional solution.

County Commissioners John Hutchings, Gary Edwards, Bud Blake
Photo credit: Steve Bloom, The Olympian

– Story highlights:
* Thurston County Commissioners opt out asking voters for affordable housing sales tax,
* Commissioner Gary Edwards says this is a municipal issue, not a rural (county) issue,
* Edwards should ask the Yelm Community Schools about their homeless students. I did.
* Oly Mayor Cheryl Selby said she believes homelessness needs a regional solution.

– “Edwards: Homelessness is ‘more a municipal issue than it is a rural America issue’”
“The Thurston County Commissioners have opted not to take action on a proposal that would have asked voters for a sales tax hike to pay for affordable housing programs.

Commissioner Gary Edwards was quick to shoot down the idea during a day-long commissioners work session on Thursday at Thurston County Public Works.

‘I see the homeless issue as an issue, but it’s much more a municipal issue than it is a rural America issue where the voters in the county reside,’ he said.”

His seatmates joined in the joke, although commission chair Bud Blake appeared to take a more serious approach, urging Edwards to remember that he also was elected to serve on the county’s Board of Health, which deals with affordable housing issues.

“Cheryl Selby, Olympia’s mayor, said she believes homelessness needs a regional solution. In response to Edwards’ comments, she told The Olympian that homelessness isn’t just a city issue. Unaffordable housing is a problem in rural areas as well as urban areas.

“‘This is a regional problem, and it’s not a rural versus urban issue,’ Selby said.

“‘You can look the other way, or you can try to be a part of a solution,'” by Lisa Pemberton and Amelia Dickson, The Olympian.
Read more

– “As Cities Grow Worldwide, So Do the Numbers of Homeless”
Homelessness is more visible and varying definitions prevent global comparisons; experts debate if the problem is even solvable”

“Homelessness is a mark of failure for communities in providing basic security. Based on national reports, about 2 percent of the world’s population may be homeless. Another 20 percent lacks adequate housing, reports demographer Joseph Chamie. Such statistics come with a caveat. Obtaining accurate numbers is difficult, mostly due to wild variations in definitions around the globe. Also, measuring homelessness is costly: Cities may under-count due to embarrassment while individuals avoid officials due to shame and fear of arrest and harassment. Reasons for homelessness include “shortages of affordable housing, privatization of civic services, investment speculation in housing, unplanned and rapid urbanization, as well as poverty, unemployment and family breakdown,” Chamie explains. “Also contributing is a lack of services and facilities for those suffering from mental illness, alcoholism or substance abuse and displacement caused by conflicts, natural disasters and government housing policies.” Even people with jobs can struggle to keep homes. As experts debate whether the issue can be resolved or not, some governments offer support programs while others do what they can to chase the homeless off to other locales,” by Joseph Chamie, YaleGlobal.
Read more

Posted by Steve on August 13, 2017 at 12:01 am | Permalink

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