Through what the City of Olympia is calling a “City and Faith Community Partnership,” the Evergreen Christian Community will donate $100,000 a year over three years to support a new Homeless Response Coordinator position at the City.
“Homelessness has created an all-hands-on-deck moment for our community,” said Mayor Cheryl Selby. “The City cannot do this alone. It will take partners and partnerships to meet the challenges we face.”
The City of Olympia often works with the local faith community to tackle complex and immediate community concerns, such as providing funding for homeless sheltering or supporting the creation of Quixote Village. However, the effort with Evergreen Christian Community is the City’s first formal faith community partnership.
“Evergreen is thrilled to partner with our city leaders to bring compassionate, dignified and developmental solutions to this growing need,” said Jim Ladd, lead pastor at Evergreen Christian Community. “We believe there are innovative win-win approaches that will serve our most vulnerable citizens and positively impact ongoing economic development in the city. From a faith perspective, we believe God calls Christians to lead the way in generosity, compassion, and kindness; to contribute in life-giving ways that serve all people, in His name.”
“I am so proud of our church leadership team for their enthusiasm for this kind of partnership and generosity toward our city,” he said.
The new Homeless Response Coordinator would be responsible for developing and implementing a homeless response plan for the City, working with regional bodies on policy development and resource allocation; assisting local businesses impacted by homelessness, and coordinating with other cities and social service providers on best practice shelter and housing options. While the position is funded through the church’s donation, the Coordinator will be a City employee, reporting to and with duties directed by the City’s Community Planning and Development Department.
“The timing of this donation with the passage of the Home Fund measure could not be better,” said Keith Stahley, the City’s director of Community, Planning, and Development. “It will allow us to leverage Home Fund dollars and other funding for a far greater impact on the community.”
“This is a critical piece of building our homeless response system.”
Local governments are increasingly finding that, as the federal government continues to move away from supporting social services for the public, the obligations fall to resource-strapped cities and counties.
“I’m not surprised that Olympians would come up with both a creative and a compassionate response to homelessness,” Selby said. “Evergreen Christian has shown up for our community in a huge way, and we cannot thank them enough.”