[EDITOR’S NOTEThe following is a Letter to the Editor, written and submitted by a verified resident. It does not necessarily reflect the opinions of South King Media, nor its staff.]

Dear Burien City Councilmembers,

My name is Ann Ott and I volunteer at the Severe Weather Shelter. I am not a church member and don’t know very many people there other than those I’ve met volunteering, but I heard they needed help and I’ve been available to do that on several occasions. Much of my family has also volunteered there.

I have to say I am really impressed with the effort it takes to do this – a lot of food, as well as clothing and an impressive amount of labor donated by so many people and businesses.  The guests who stay seem to like and respect the church and its employees. It was humbling that so many said “Thanks!”, or “Thanks for all you do” to me as I was re-stocking food stations and so forth. 

But this letter is to talk about the proposed Day Center, which I also hope to volunteer for when it opens. The Day Center differs from the Severe Weather Shelter not only in that it is open during the day with limited hours, but also in that it intends to provide much needed services to help people of Burien to transition from homelessness to finding stable housing and employment opportunities. The Day Center intends to help guests with resume writing, job training, case management and other needed services. As such it goes beyond the SWS’s mission of keeping people safe from the elements, which, as helpful as that is, cannot provide the sorts of services the Day Center can. 

Some councilmembers have criticized the unhoused for not accepting available services in the past and as such don’t see the need to support additional efforts such as the Day Center. I don’t agree with that approach. Taking away any services now just narrows the options and makes it harder for the unhoused to grow out of their situation and into a place where they eventually will need less help.

Please consider this and help create a safe, educational, and social-services-oriented place and resource so ultimately, we can see fewer homeless people on the streets.  

Regards,
Ann-Louise Ott

EDITOR’S NOTEDo you have an opinion you’d like to share with our highly engaged local Readers? If so, please email your Letter to the Editor to [email protected] and, pending review and verification that you’re a real human being, we may publish it. Letter writers must provide an address and phone number (NOT for publication but for verification purposes). Read our updated Letter to the Editor policy here.

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3 Comments

  1. The Day Center would be a wonderful addition to Burien. Thanks to all who are involved in this effort.

  2. You sound sincere and that is commendable. What about the families in the neighborhood? Do you think that they are imagining the increased crime and antisocial behavior? They deserve to be considered and heard. No one will say that this is mostly a drug crisis. Unless you are an expert in that field, you are just a bandaid. They need professional help outside of a church environment in a safer place away fr the vulnerable
    public.

  3. That sounds amazing. To the heartless who cannot stand to see unhoused people, can you support programs that help them get out of that situation then?

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