My hometown of Olympia, WA has some of the highest rates of homelessness on America’s west coast. It’s also seen as a model for other cities, providing government-sanctioned space for encampments and other services. But the coronavirus pandemic blew open any pretense of normalcy and control, as Olympia’s 1,000+ unhoused community scrambled for the most basic things like bathrooms and a place to wash their hands as the virus spread, as mainstay services like shelters and day centers closed. This piece considers what it’s like to be homeless during the pandemic, examining the inadequate resources that cities like Olympia have to respond to the crisis.
Read more here.