I went with Myra from our office to Olympia for Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day on Tuesday, February 2. This is an annual advocacy event organized by Washington Low Income Housing Alliance. Capitol Hill Housing kindly gave us a ride in their van-pool from Seattle to Olympia. The event was very well organized and I definitely learned a lot. If I have to capture three important things I learned, they are: first, it is important to home the homeless where they are familiar. Stages of re-stabilization after being homeless can take 2 years or longer as many have mental health issues. This means, moving them around frequently might not be a good solution. Second, shelter and food are primal needs. Once you have stable housing the other issues can be solved. Housing means the formally homeless can be found and makes it easier to follow up with social and health services. Third, LIHI has been doing some tiny house villages for the homeless. These tiny homes were built with volunteer labor. From LIHI.org website, it said the materials for a tiny house cost $2,200! Volunteer build day is a great way to get support for these villages. There are many more things I learned about bills and the many efforts people are doing for homelessness but I am only highlighting three for now. Lastly, I heard a great answer to a question someone asked about “homeless refugees”. The term “refugees” used in this context does more to divide than to fix the problem. Our energy is better used to solve the problem than to pick and choose who we want to help.