Posted by Bob Heck on Feb 05, 2018
Rotary Club of Olympia
The Wheel
Date: 2-5-2018
Today’s Program: Phil Owen, Co-Chair of The Home Fund (Proposition 1)
Meeting Called to order: President Christy Peters @ 12:20 pm
  • Invocation by: Skip Steffen
  • Pledge of Allegiance led by: Bill Fishburn
  • Song: The Star-Spangled Banner, led by Gloria Strait
  • Four Way Test led by: Jay Burney
Visiting Rotarians
  • Bob Lovely – South Puget Sound Rotary Club
Guests of Rotarians
Heather Antanaitis (Mo Considine)Non-Profit Development Officer, potential club member
Ryan Adams (Dennis Adams) – Dennis Adams' youngest son, and Tammy Adams' brother
Happy Buckshosted by Skip Steffen
  • Judy Henderson – She spent 5 weeks on Maui and returned with a book for the Rotary Club book collection. She was in Hawaii during the false alarm about the missile strike, and shared the newspaper front page from the day after the incorrect announcement.
  • Dennis Cooper – Shared he celebrated his 74th birthday and is donating a check to support the Fred Balz Fund.
  • Ralph Munro – Gave a Polio Update: there are only 2 new cases of Polio this year with a suspected two more under review. The goal is to limit new cases to 15 this year, half of the prior year.
  • Mo Considine – Of her 8 nieces and nephews, she was never successful in getting any to enroll in a Rotary exchange program. However, her nephew shared this last weekend that he will be joining a Rotary Club in his town in North Carolina. She’s very excited for him and Rotary.
  • Warren Carlson – Went to see the latest Harlequin production, “I Am My Own Wife” and encouraged all club members to go see it, the production is wonderful!
  • Peggy Mueller – German Exchange Student – Excited to have completed her finals and basketball season. She had fun, though the team didn’t win any games.
  • Eve Chu – Taiwan Exchange Student – Moved to a new host family and is excited they also have Netflix. She successfully completed her final exams, too.
South Puget Sound Rotary Club Annual Auction – Bob Lovely announced the upcoming auction.  It will take place on April 28.  The hosting club, South Puget Sound, invites all Olympia Rotary Club members to attend.  Bob made a special call for sponsors to support the even costs, too.  For more information, visit:
Girl Scouts of Western Washington – Bill Fishburn shared information about the Girl Scouts of Western Washington (GSWW) Luncheon on April 19, at 11:30am at the Hotel Murano in Tacoma. Bill is asking for club members to attend, sponsor, donate or help connect potential sponsors with the event to support the work of the Girl Scouts throughout our region. For more information about the event, or to get involved, contact Bill at:
Boy Scouts of America – Nick Schmidt shared information on the “Friends of Scouting” fundraising lunch event in March.  The local Boy Scouts of America region is large, the event will be the closest to Olympia it has been in years – it will be at the Olympia Country Club.  The cost of an individual to participate in scouting activities for a year is $190.  Nick invited club members to join him at his table, or support the event as a sponsor.
District 5840 Thank You – President Christy shared a thank you note from the District 5840 Governor for the support that our club provided to the District 5840 Disaster Relief Fund for the natural disasters in Texas.
Program: Phil Owen, Co-Chair of The Home Fund (Proposition 1)
Jewel Goddard introduced club member and Olympia Mayor, Cheryl Selby.  Cheryl explained that the City of Olympia worked hard to survey the community regarding their priorities and found that both public safety and homelessness/housing were two initiatives that ranked very highly for survey respondents.  She and others coordinated how to put ballot initiatives together so that additional funding could be secured for both public safety and homelessness/housing.  Cheryl applauded the Home Fund leadership for working with the City and agreeing to the Feb ballot initiative date, instead of the November election (that saw the Public Safety levy).
Cheryl has known Phil Owen for more than 6 years through the important work he has done as the Executive Director of Sidewalk.  To date, Sidewalk has housed over 1,000 individuals.  Cheryl shared that in addition to his full-time role at Sidewalk, Phil also serves as the Co-Chair to The Home Fund alongside Olympia City Council member Jessica Bateman.
Phil thanked Cheryl for serving as the inaugural Sidewalk Board President and for her work on homelessness/housing issues in Olympia.  Phil shared that he has worked in the social service industry for the better part of two decades.
The Home Fund is supporting Proposition 1. If passed it will raise Olympia sales tax by 0.01 of 1%. For every $1,000 spent the tax would generate $1. These funds will support the construction of long term supportive housing focused on the most vulnerable in Olympia. Moving these individuals  from the streets into a care model that is safe and includes the wrap-around care each individual needs.
The City of Olympia will collect the tax revenue, once the levy is approved.  Conservatively, The Home Fund projects that annually about $2.2 Million dollars will be generated.  The City will offer the funds as grants to groups who want to build the physical housing spaces.  The program/funding will be overseen by an advisory board to include all key stakeholders.
Sidewalk, Community Youth Services and the Family Support Center will be responsible for intake and placement (referring clients to each housing unit).  The developers and/or the non-profits who build each facility will own and operate each site.  The goal is to leverage these funds to help create at least 350 new houses in the next 3 years.
Phil shared that as of the last homeless count, approximately 500-700 individuals were counted as homeless in our region.  Because the count does not identify all homeless, a more reasonable estimate of the local homeless population is between 1,500-2,100.
The law that allows for the levy increase was passed by the state legislature.  It gave taxing authority first to the County.  Thurston County passed on the opportunity to pass a levy county wide, and thus gave the right to individual municipalities such as Olympia, Lacey, Tumwater, and Yelm.  The City of Olympia knows that homelessness and housing is a regional issue, and has decided to lead the effort.  The Home Fund is working with Lacey, Tumwater, and Yelm to help the municipal leadership look for ways to pass a similar levy.
Urban density is needed to ensure that middle class income individuals are not pushed out by higher and higher rents in any one part of the community, especially in the downtown core.  Density will help ensure that supply keeps demand at a place where local wages allow individuals of all levels to live downtown, if they want to do so.
Data and research support housing projects giving individuals a roof, bed and blanket, but not requiring that each site be substance free.  The goal is to move the most vulnerable off the street and give them access to all services that will support their transition to a healthier/safer life.
The sales tax increase can only be used by the City of Olympia to fund homelessness/housing/mental health initiatives.  The city cannot turn around in several years and use the funding source for another part of the City budget.
Mr. Snappy: Tammy Adams (who donated the prize from last week!) won a handmade scarf that was donated by Barb Soule.
Meeting Adjourned: 1:25pm by President Christy Peters.