Letter: Is location south of Coupeville truly the best option?


I invite the readership of your newspaper to assist me in evaluating the planning for a project — a homeless shelter on Whidbey Island.

Known facts:

• The homeless population on Whidbey Island is centered/concentrated in downtown Oak Harbor and its environs;

• The ”services” needed by the homeless are located in Oak Harbor, i.e, The Spin Cafe, The Opportunity Council, the Homeless Coalition office, doctors and dentists, markets — ideal spots to panhandle, and;

• There is usually only one to two Island County deputy sheriffs on duty at night to cover the entirety of Whidbey Island.

Where would do you think the ideal placement for a homeless shelter on Whidbey Island?

• At the corner of State Highway 20 & Morris Road, about six miles south of Coupeville?

• In or near downtown Oak Harbor? Clinton? Langley? Near Deception Pass?

If the homeless shelter were to be located south of Coupeville, would it make any sense to:

• Transport the homeless to the shelter from Oak Harbor every evening?

• Transport the homeless from the shelter to Oak Harbor every morning?

• Be placed in a facility with no cooking facilities and no showers?

Some questions:

• What is the documented number of homeless on Whidbey Island?

• How do we know these numbers are accurate?

• Where specifically are they located on Whidbey Island?

• Has any attempt been made to distinguish between genuinely/temporarily “out of luck” homeless people/families, mentally ill homeless people, chosen “life-style” homeless people and drug and/or alcohol addicted homeless people?

Why is a shelter being proposed by the Whidbey Island Homeless Coalition to be placed in a rural location at the corner of Highway 20 and Morris Road when services they will need or job training opportunities are more available in a city like Oak Harbor or Langley?

If Island County is going to subsidize services to the homeless via Whidbey Homeless Coalition, shouldn’t there be ongoing oversight and auditing as well as measures to contain the associated homeless encampments that such a shelter would encourage ?

Wayne Flaaten


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