As many of you may know, the City of Olympia is forcing folks living in cars and RVs on Ensign Rd to move this upcomingTuesday, the 27th. Most of the 30-35 people are not sure where they will go next, or even how they will move, as a good number of the vehicles parked there are inoperable in their current state. While Just Housing Olympia has been working with the residents to develop self-governance and push for a 24/7 safe parking option, the Tuesday deadline is looming with no action or alternative location yet offered by any jurisdiction. The eviction moratorium, while staving off disaster for many in our community, has not prevented the City from flouting CDC guidelines against displacing encampments and serving evictions to all the vehicles at Ensign. Yet again, those having to live in RVs and cars are being treated as inconveniences to be managed and mitigated, rather than people in need of help.
And so, we are putting out a new type of fundraising ask with two possibilities as to how we will spend the money:
1. If the sweep goes forward, we have identified about 10-15 vehicles that will need assistance moving. We are raising $3000 to help pay the towing costs for these vehicles. Due to the lack of legal options for safe parking, this will likely be another city street or right of way. Funds may also be used for essential car parts, gas, and to assist with covering potential impound fees.
2. If the residents of Ensign Road are allowed to stay or move to a safe parking location, we will use the money to fund the construction of 6 Microhouses for folks experiencing homelessness (6x $500 per microhouse = $3000). They are 8x8 (7x7 inside), have a locking door, a window, and are solid structures for keeping out the elements. The first 8 Microhouses in our community were constructed for residents of the Nickerson Encampment, as the person who designed and build the homes is a congregation member of the church that sponsors the encampment. Hopefully soon, these Microhouses will also be replacing the tents at the downtown Mitigation Site.
We would much rather spend your money on productive solutions to our housing and homelessness crisis, solutions that advance people’s quality of life and promote dignity. That is why we are also asking you to reach out to the City of Olympia and ask them to stay the sweep at Ensign.
You can find the emails for our council members and City Manager Jay Burney here.
You can also reach out to the staff and electeds from other jurisdictions in Thurston County and request that they put together a safe parking solution for the folks at Ensign Rd - find their contact info on that same page.
I know there are many of us in the community who are tired of seeing City resources used to move people around instead of going towards lasting solutions. Many of you have reached out to us since hearing about Ensign, offering support. We’re always humbled by the generosity of our community. After countless days of driving around piling up people’s donated blankets, tarps, and tents in our cars, we can’t help but feel like if we stick together and look after each other, we’ll make do. The City is lucky to have such a generous and caring community, but it comes with a responsibility: to use our resources wisely.
Just Housing Oly