With budget cuts threatening services for many Washington residents, advocates for the homeless and low-income in Clark County will join hundreds from all over the state on Housing Advocacy Day on Feb. 24.
"Even though the state is in a financial bind, most of us want to protect the most vulnerable among us and make sure that some cuts do not cost communities and local governments more than they save," said Sharon Wylie, board president of the Council for the Homeless.
"Some of the proposed funding cuts could put more people in jails and emergency rooms and more children on the street instead of in school," she said." We are going to Olympia to make sure that our legislators have the best information possible when they make their difficult decisions."
At their most recent meeting on February 19, the group endorsed the joint legislative agenda of the Washington State Coalition for the Homeless and the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance.
"The Council took a long look, with consult from an ad hoc Legislative Committee, at how potential budget cuts from the state will affect us here in Clark County," said Craig Lyons, executive director of the Council for the Homeless. "We need to be sure we don't see that stimulus package as a rescue for services to the vulnerable, but instead as an opportunity to build on successes we have already seen in housing all of our neighbors."
Wylie and Lyons will be joined in Olympia by board member Gary Akizuki, LaVon Holden, deputy director of the Vancouver Housing Authority, Christine Hermann, executive director of Columbia Non-Profit Housing and Debby Dover, asset manager for YW Housing.
There were 344 people served at the last Project Homeless Connect resource fair on Jan. 26. That represented a 70 percent in the number of guests who attended the first Project Homeless Connect in April 2008.
For more information online, go to www.endhomelessnesswa.org, the Washington State Coalition for the Homeless' Web site; www.wliha.org, the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance's Web site and www.icfth.com, the Council for the Homeless' Web site.