Monday, February 3, 2014

Our Mission

Our Mission:
To advance the social inclusion and empowerment of the homeless through innovative practices of sheltering, mental health and emergency basic needs coordination. 

Our Vision:

To transform our entire community through the empowerment of our most vulnerable members. 

Olympia & Homelessness
As you know, homelessness in the downtown core has become quite a lively topic of conversation among the Olympia City Council, Thurston County Commissioners, social service providers, citizens, and media following the passage of this past winter’s city ordinances on urban camping and sidewalk use.  The People's House is the result of the research, planning, and coordination of the Low Barrier Shelter Task Force. This Task Force, facilitated by the Thurston County Homeless Coordinator, brought together the wisdom, experience and energy of Olympia's most dedicated service providers (members of EGYHOP, Interfaith Works, Catholic Community Services, Partners in Prevention Education, Drexel House, Olympia Downtown Association, as well as surveys from the homeless themselves) to come up with the best solutions to our city's lack of accessible shelter. The People’s House will be an integral social service hub for those in our community living in poverty, with mental illness, addictions and other challenges, and a critical step on the path to housing.

Filling the Gaps in Homeless Services  
This project will succeed in fulfilling multiple needs outlined by the Thurston County Homeless Coordinator’s gaps analysis. 

  • The People's House will host at least 40 beds, adding 10,950 bednights a year to the existing shelter capacity. The shelter first model will increase shelter utilization and capacity and decrease the number of illegal encampments, street violence, and weather related deaths and illnesses within the homeless community.
  • In coordination with Sidewalk Advocacy Center we will provide shelter placement within 24 hours, and client intakes within 72 hours.  This is a critical step toward housing for qualified individuals and will target gaps identified in the Coordinated Entry Point section of the Gaps Analysis.
  • We will aid in the expansion of mental health services to the "most difficult to serve" through collaboration with Capitol Recovery Center and their Certified Peer Counselor Outreach Program.
  • We will host a 24 hour public restroom in hopes of alleviating pressure on downtown businesses.
  • Through a 24 hour hotline, community outreach, and a partnership with The Downtown Ambassador Program, we will provide business owners an alternative to calling 911 when issues arise.  This will greatly decrease pressure on the Olympia Police Department in responding to nuisance calls.

Our Philosophy

The Peoples House is dedicated to providing emergency services and support to those in need, not as charity but as an act of social justice.  Homelessness, domestic violence, substance abuse, mental illness, and chronic physical health problems have left many in our community vulnerable and unsafe.  The stigma associated with homelessness and poverty pushes those most in need further away, and refuses these individuals their basic human rights and dignity.  The work of the People's House is rooted in empowerment, social inclusion, and community education to end the unnecessary stigmatization of the most vulnerable.

Working Within the Business Community
The People’s House recognizes the significant impacts that unmanaged homelessness has on local businesses, housed residents and governmental entities that are located in the downtown core.  Providing Downtown Olympia with a safe, accommodating, and well-managed facility for homeless individuals will create relief for downtown businesses, public works, and sidewalks so that these places may be used for their intended purposes. Our intent is to be an important step in a continuum that leads to ending homelessness in Thurston County.  By working collaboratively and cooperatively with other organizations that provide services and access to housing we believe that we can both meet immediate needs as well as move people into housing more quickly and efficiently.