On July 11th, the city council unanimous passed two separate, but related proposals. The first is a public safety ordinance set to go on the ballot in November 2017. This public safety initiative would increase Olympia’s property tax by 44 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. This measure includes elements such as a mobile mental outreach unit and increased downtown walking patrol and a diversion court to keep people out of jail.
The second item passed by the Council was a resolution declaring their intention to place The Home Fund’s proposal on the February ballot, which would build permanent supportive housing units for Olympia’s most vulnerable households. This measure would increase the city’s sales tax by one-tenth of 1% and generate about 2.1 million per year in revenue for the development and services to provide permanent supportive housing units.
The two interrelated initiatives pair seek to address critical needs of homelessness and support services for our vulnerable community members. The first measure creates new crisis services and the second measure provides a path to stability for the most frequent users of our emergency medical and crisis services. After Olympia passes both of these measures, it will create a compassionate and holistic approach to helping individuals get out of homelessness.