Finding shelter in on the Village Green

As the weather took a turn towards winter this week, my thoughts are with those on the island that lack sufficient shelter. In this community while some homeowners here have multiple homes, there are other folks without a roof. The last Point in Time count identified 149 people living without shelter across the County.

We are about half way through the County’s Five Year Homeless Plan as far as timing is concerned.  On Orcas, we have started the Coalition on Homelessness on Orcas (COHO).  COHO grew out of the Shelter effort that was launched by the Community Emergency Response group during the pandemic.   That program was very reliant on two case managers, a resource manager, and the kind support of landowners and organizations that welcomed temporary shelters on their property.  As the community has reopened, all but one of those shelters have been removed. OCRC and the case managers were able to find housing either on island or off for several of the neighbors who were sheltered, but there are several who have moved into the woods.

The COHO recently hired Cassondra Perryman to focus on identifying models and funding sources that could work and be sustained here.  We are hopeful that we can create a program that will work across the County.  Stay tuned for more on our progress.

In the meanwhile, the Community Church, which runs our local cold weather shelter (providing indoor space to stay the night when the temperature drops below 32) is looking for a coordinator.  If you know of a good candidate, please reach out to Ryan Carpenter or Brian Moss.

Finally, Minor Lile has recently begun preparing a report for us on the Community Foundation’s and other social service organizations’ response to the COVID pandemic during the period from late February & early March 2020 through early June 2021. He is interested in hearing from you about your COVID experiences during this period, particularly if you or your organization received support from the Community Emergency Response Fund or social service organizations such as OCRC, OPAL, the Food Bank, etc. You can contact him here.

Have a good weekend.