Thank you to our amazing staff team!
Our staff are on the front lines everyday supporting people through crisis, connecting them to vital shelter beds, hygiene, housing, and clinical support services so that they may find their right path to a higher quality of life. Our staff lead with love, humor, compassion, pragmatism, and a strong work ethic everyday to mitigate the many harms associated with the housing crisis that our city is facing. We believe that although our work isn't easy and it has impacts in the community, inaction has much greater impact to us all, and is not an option when there are people literally dying on our streets and in wooded areas due to weather, chronic health conditions, overdose, fatal accidents, major medical events like heart attack or stroke, and more. Thank you to our stellar staff team who show up everyday to face, head-on, one of the biggest and most complex challenges our community will ever face.
IW Stance on May Day protests
There is a long history in most cities, as is true of Olympia, of protests on May Day that can often lead to property damage, vandalism, and in extreme cases, violence. Interfaith Works has stated before, and we would like to state again, that we unequivocally denounce violence or threats of violence of any kind. Additionally, we believe that any action that further divides our communities ability to work on solutions to our greatest challenges undermines the hard work of so many (non-profits, government, businesses, neighborhood coalitions, unhoused and housed residents, etc.), who want to see our city be safe and welcoming for all people. Further, it puts our most marginalized neighbors at higher risk of harm and criminalization. Last year we put out a statement and many parts of it still ring true today. We would like to share those excerpts again:
"Interfaith Works has worked for peace and justice for 45 years in this community through diverse and intentional bridge-building. Working to heal community pain and bring people together through interfaith understanding and providing emergency shelter and services to vulnerable people on the streets has always been at the core of our role in Thurston County. We are deeply saddened at the strong divisions that are present in our community today. We face huge challenges posed by population growth and a changing economy. We have a humanitarian crisis on our streets, business owners are struggling, affordable housing is severely lacking and people with serious challenges related to their mental health and substance use remain on the streets while they experience long delays seeking help from an overwhelmed health care system.
This is a time, more than ever, to draw on our individual and collective strengths to weather these challenges together, without violence and/or threats of violence tearing us apart and weakening our ability to make long-term, sustainable change. The residents of Olympia and governmental, non-profit and community leaders have a deep well of compassion and strong motivation to make positive, effective changes -- we always have. We have overcome differences many times before in this community to come together for the greater good. We’ve done this by having open and civil conversations, respecting each other even if we are not seeing things from the same side, hearing each other out and allowing for the raw emotion that is inevitably part of these complex issues to be valued. Interfaith Works remains steadfast in our commitment to bridging divides and staying grounded in our core values of peace, justice and partnership among all facets of our diverse community."
Enjoy the beautiful weather, and please be excellent to each other! Have a great May Day, everyone!
Meg Martin, MSW, MHP, is the Shelter Program Director for The Interfaith Works Emergency Overnight Shelter.