Concerned Eastside Neighbors is a group of residents in Olympia’s Eastside Neighborhood that is calling attention to Olympia’s rising issues with IV drug use, violence, and homelessness. We are a group that is actively taking a critical look at how these issues are currently being addressed and seeking real solutions that protect our community and help those in need.

Our group came together in opposition to the placement of a low-barrier homeless shelter in or adjacent to the neighborhood. The proposed shelter is considered “low-barrier” because it will have minimal rules for those seeking its services. Identification will not be required, which means that critical details regarding the individuals served — including sex offender status and violent criminal history — may remain unknown. Under proposed shelter rules, those under the influence will be accepted, but those in possession of weapons and drugs will be turned away.

The nature and inherent risks involved with this shelter requires the siting criteria to be closely considered. The site we opposed (that has now been dropped) was less than 100 yards from St. Mike’s Tikes Preschool and St. Michael K-8 School, four blocks away from Madison Elementary and Avanti High School, and directly adjacent to our residential neighborhood. The realization that schools and neighborhoods were never considered in the siting criteria for this high-risk shelter has called into question how Olympia is addressing, or failing to address the emerging and increasing issues of IV drug use, violent crime, and homelessness.

It might be tempting to characterize our opposition as a case of “Not In My Backyard.” But the Eastside Neighborhood has a strong history of hosting organizations that help serve the needs of the community. We have long been a supportive neighbor to a variety of social service programs — the Salvation Army (two facilities, on 5th and 4th Avenues), Camp Quixote, Bread & Roses, Sidewalk, First Baptist Sunday Dinners, several transitional and recovery facilities, and soon the Family Support Center in the Smith Building. Additionally, Madison Elementary, a Title 1 school, is host to the “Welcome Room” for children in poverty. In short, the Eastside Neighborhood already shoulders a significant and disproportionate burden of services for the Olympia community.

We are actively working with the City of Olympia, Thurston County, the Olympia School District, the Olympia Police Department, and the NGO’s to talk about the root of these problems and real solutions to these issues.

Visit our website to learn more and to get involved –

Write us at concernedeastsideneighborsoly@gmail.com

Keep in Touch:
Facebook – facebook.com/concernedeastsideneighbors
Twitter – twitter.com/olyeastneighbor
Email List – tinyurl.com/cenemaillist


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