Port Angeles officials to spend night on the streets

PORT ANGELES — After spending a night at Serenity House of Clallam County’s night-by-night shelter and attempting to keep warm in below-freezing temperatures, Amy Miller and Shenna Younger have challenged City of Port Angeles officials to do the same.

“This was a real big challenge for us, so we think it would be beneficial to have the leaders in our community experience this too so they can speak from a place of true reality when they are making decisions and they are speaking to the public,” said Younger, who is the director of development and operations at Volunteers in Medicine of the Olympics (VIMO).

“We hope that they’ll continue next week by challenging Sequim and the county,” she said.

Younger and Miller, who heads VIMO’s REdisCOVERY program, challenged City Manager Nathan West and City Council Member Mike French, who both said Thursday they would do the same within a week.

West and French will spend a night on the streets with nothing but the clothes on their backs and the things they can carry, just as Miller and Younger did Wednesday evening.

“The city is well aware we have many social challenges in our community and homelessness is a big part of that,” West said. “By taking this challenge and stepping up, it’s an incredible learning experience.”


West said the best way to work toward solutions is by experiencing what people in Port Angeles face every day.

He called the challenge intimidating, especially as temperatures have dropped below freezing in recent days, but considers it an important step for city officials to take.

“It’s important to have compassion for those already out there facing those challenges,” he said. “That perspective makes it so worthwhile. Even if it is a difficult evening it will be worth the learning experience.”

French, who is also a downtown business owner, said he is excited and nervous to spend a night at the night-by-night shelter.

“I’m excited that Shenna and Amy had this idea,” said French, who is also a VIMO board member. “They clearly have a passion for working with homeless people and all sorts of people who have fallen through the cracks.”

He said he has already been thinking about the little things that he takes for granted. He said as someone with asthma he need to be extra careful to make sure he doesn’t lose his inhaler.

“It’s a big change from my normal life,” he said. “I’m excited because I want to put my money where my mouth is.”

French said that by experiencing what homeless people in Port Angeles face every day he will be better informed on the issue. He said while much of the discussion around homelessness is often emotional, he’ll be able to speak from experience.

“I think that’s one of those areas where it’s important for us to have facts and have truths about what’s happening,” French said. “This makes sure we can speak to truth and hopefully dispel some myths.”

________

Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at [email protected] dailynews.com.

More in News

Fire District 3 considers new vehicle, protective vests

Clallam County Fire District No. 3 commissioners have approved up… Continue reading

Renovations ongoing at Port Angeles Library through April 12

The North Olympic Library System (NOLS) has announced that… Continue reading

Free hospice class set for Port Angeles

Dr. Paul Cunningham will present “Maximizing Quality of Life… Continue reading

Port director discusses options for John Wayne Marina

Karen Goschen, Port of Port Angeles executive director, explained… Continue reading

Garden Glory compost sale to begin Monday

Garden Glory compost will be offered at a 30… Continue reading

State seeks comment on endangered status of butterflies, puffins

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife is inviting public… Continue reading

Inslee signs Native American Voting Rights Act into law

Bill allows non-traditional addresses to be used for voter registration on tribal lands

Peninsula College to lay off staff

President Robins cites dip in enrollment

Most Read