Thank you for your coverage of the permanent supportive housing plan that is being proposed by Reliable Enterprises. I am so impressed that Reliable Enterprises has been able to garner an $8 million grant for this much needed project. The proposal, as stated in your article, seems well thought out. I am especially impressed that there will be counseling and classes for the residents, which will be geared toward helping them transition from a homeless situation to a stable living environment.
I spent 35 years as a teacher in the Centralia School District, and I have seen that children living in an unstable housing environment have a very difficult time achieving their best in school. When you are worried about where you will be sleeping next week, or if there will be food to eat over the weekend, things like reading your library book and working on multiplication facts become pretty irrelevant. A stable living environment is also important to a child's emotional well being. With Reliable Enterprise's proposal, we have a chance to help children and families in need of permanent supportive housing. How lucky are we that our community has been given this opportunity?
With that being said, I am extremely surprised and disappointed that more of the Centralia City Council were not in favor of providing the variance that this project needs to move forward. They seem to feel that the parking in Centralia is more important than helping families in need. Another worry seems to be that providing permanent supportive housing will attract homeless people to our town. However, in another Chronicle article concerning the Bezos Academy, it is stated that in Centralia "more than 90% of students are considered eligible for free or reduced price lunches."
Wake up, city council, we have plenty of Centralia families already living here that need our help! We need to address this problem, not ignore it. Kudos to Rebecca Staebler for having the sense and courage to support Reliable Enterprises and their proposed solution. Now, let's see the rest of the city council step up and do the right thing to help children and families in our community!