Both State Reps. Melanie Stambaugh and Hans Zeiger, R-25th District, say their offices have seen an increase in emails and phone calls from constituents in Puyallup concerned about the homeless problem in the city.
Stambaugh and Zeiger both agree that solving Puyallup’s homeless issues start with finding solutions that are multilayered, with both the government and local charities working together.
Both representatives are Puyallup natives, and say that while homelessness has been a longstanding problem in the community, only recently has it become a key concern for many.
“It’s a lot more visible than it has been,” Zeiger said. “The grievances we have been hearing are the people coming in from outside the city to use Puyallup’s resources.”
Returning from the most recent legislative session, Stambaugh says both have heard discussions at the state level as finding solutions for the homeless population, but now it’s time to hear the concerns of the community on a larger scale.
Zeiger and Stambaugh will host a community meeting to talk about homelessness at 7 p.m. Thursday (April 7) in the Pioneer Park Pavilion. State Sen. Bruce Dammeier will also participate in the discussion.
“Everyone in the community provides a different perspective,” Stambaugh said. “Parents walking their kids to school who no longer feel safe, homeowners, and law enforcement. Everyone has their own perspective to bring to this discussion.”
Zeiger says he sees the solution to homelessness in getting multiple levels of government agencies involved, including city, county and state.
“We need to create policies to stimulate the charitable sector,” Zeiger said. “It’s time we maximize resources to provide behavioral health and housing support, along with the legal framework to support these goals.”
The community meeting will kick off with a presentation at 7 p.m. with an opportunity for constituents to share their input.
Since announcing the meeting, Stambaugh says her office is already hearing feedback.
“It’s already been beneficial,” she said. “It’s about finding the boundary between compassion and accountability.”
For those who can’t make the meeting, constituents are encouraged to contact Zeiger directly at 253-840-4526 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org or Stambaugh at 253-840-4552 or via email email@example.com.