Edmonds and Snohomish County have an opportunity to connect the circle of community, government, commerce and nonprofits. There is not a need for more 211 and other resource direction representatives. There is a need for hands-on programs with educated, experienced professionals, trained in their fields, and they need to be empowered with the resources to provide tangible help.
The people of Snohomish County are highly generous to those in need, especially the desperate. Is this in part due to a need for convenient, trusted non-profits that are missing the Edmonds and Snohomish gaps? Food banks are there, yet people want more than food. They would like to stay warm in a safe place they can rely on. Churches also provide some services, but is it based on who you know to learn what is available? Think about why people give to Goodwill. How much of those donated items stay in the community? How many sustainable jobs did they create for this region? How much money are the top CEOs making? What pay, and benefits, if any, are the workers receiving?
How many Edmonds residents give to charities outside of Edmonds or to charities within Edmonds, just not allowing a certain element within Edmonds? And how many Edmonds residents are being evicted each month now that the moratorium is up. I have heard it is going to reach close to 70,000 in the region quite soon. Good bye neighbors… sorry can’t help you… don’t want my property value to go down… wish you all the best. Realtor, how much is the asking price for that apartment complex?
I am seeing many reports of questionable people in neighborhoods, along with crimes. Well, there is a domino effect; I don’t condone it. The housing is unaffordable; it is not being built; the wages are not high enough for the low income; COVID-19 wiped out many jobs. When I learned of monies allocated originally for homeless, this was prior to federal COVID-19 CARES funding, the money did not go to charitable homeless relief: No backpacks on wheels that could carry books, food, toiletries; no long rain coats that could also serve as a blanket or a pillow… it went to people who had homes. So perhaps they are wandering to see if there are easy finds, and maybe even easy shelter for the night. As far as I understand, the shelters have waiting lists. Edmonds needs to find a way to reconcile community or their fear of “Seattle” in Edmonds will be of Edmonds residents’ own making.
Which brings me to the Edmonds Citizen Housing Commission. In the beginning, there were multiple passionate advocates to serve people in Edmonds in need of low-income housing, with the compassionate belief that we are all humans deserving dignity, shelter and safety. However, how many projects have been proposed and shut down, and of the ones that have been approved, have they been marginalized as far out of the edge of Edmonds as possible, or even out of Edmonds?
To what extent did Edmonds government partner with specific commerce, hospitals and non-profits? How were they chosen? Did they go out to bid? Was it a fair selection? If Edmonds residents had outstanding bills at clinics or hospitals that Edmonds did not partner with, is Edmonds allowing the non-profit partners to pay those medical bills? And if I am correct, I learned many medical-related bills are not covered. Are psychiatric, optometry, dentist, and so forth covered? It is my understanding if a resident doesn’t fall into one of three partner hospitals, odds are the bills are not covered. Along with these issues, Edmonds residents need to play a game of sorts, by letting their mortgage, rent and utility bills lapse, as Edmonds will only allow the non-profit partners to pay unpaid bills. Either one is rewarded for not having savings, not paying their bills, or playing the game of the bureaucratic loophole. For the ones who are truly struggling, we understand.
I am thankful for the people who are truly holistic-minded when it comes to integrating government, non-profit, commerce and community. Rick Steves, and your team members, thank you. League of Women Voters of Snohomish County, thank you. And there are more key individuals of high integrity who get it, thank you. Yet, Edmonds and Snohomish County have a great opportunity they have been missing out on for decades. Enough fear. Enough elitism. Enough have and have-nots. Enough silos. Volunteer together. If you need leaders, find them, or risk it yourself. Fix up part of a building, start talking with people you haven’t before, get uncomfortable. If you can’t find paid work… volunteer in a passion or get your hands dirty. When you are looking for work, if you look for work, it will look great on your resume that you used your time giving back to the community. Form umbrella non-profits for true community programs to integrate and fill gaps.