What a year we’ve had so far!
We’ve done so much work towards our goal to end homelessness that we’d be up all night recounting it all. But I do want to take a moment to recognize our new staff, our move into the Providence Community Care Center, and our successes in helping people escape the streets.
We’ve brought on board amazing new staff. Our two new Development Co-Directors bring a great deal of experience and knowledge to our organization. Our first, Eric Miller, joined SideWalk in November 2017. Eric has lived in Thurston County for the better part of 15 years. Inspired by his own struggles with poverty and homelessness, he has dedicated most of his life to serving marginalized and under-served communities. Eric is currently the campaigns chair of the Thurston County Democrats and is responsible for helping connect all local TCD endorsed campaigns with volunteers, training, and resources. This past election season , he played a variety of roles from consultant to campaign manager on three campaigns ranging from municipal to county wide. He is also currently on the steering committee for Whole Washington, a Single Payer healthcare ballot initiative and a volunteer with The Bridge music project, a program that gives at risk youth an outlet to channel their emotions through music.
Our second, Kento Azegami, joined SideWalk in April 2018. A seasoned political campaign organizer, Kento most recently worked as the office caseworker for the Office of the Governor prior to joining SideWalk. He has extensive experience in volunteer management, including work on the Olympia Home Fund and Olympia City Councilmember Lisa Parshley’s campaign. As a Downtown resident, Kento cares deeply about all of his neighbors, including those on the streets of Downtown Olympia.
In September 2017, SideWalk embarked on one of the biggest changes in our history when we moved direct participant services out of SideWalk House and into the Community Care Center in Downtown Olympia. Although there have been growing pains, our volunteers have been able to deliver amazing results to our participants. Not only can participants more easily connect with SideWalk at the Center’s more central location, they can also more easily access critical services such as laundry, showers, health care coverage, and behavioral health services. I look forward to discussing the Community Care Center in depth with you in next month’s newsletter.
Our volunteers are hard at work every day assisting our clients. In May, SideWalk volunteers helped 18 people leave the streets - part of the over 75 people SideWalk volunteers have helped leave the streets in 2018.
We could not have done all of this work without your help. Thank you to all of our volunteers and donors for your continued support.
Phil Owen, SideWalk Executive Director