What They’re Watching: Rep. Nicole Macri
Rep. Nicole Macri represents Washington’s 43rd Legislative District in Seattle. She serves as Vice Chair of the House Health Care & Wellness Committee and is also a member of the Appropriations and Finance Committees. She joins us in this edition of “What They’re Watching” to discuss building a homeless response system. These remarks were recorded before the COVID-19 outbreak during our January conference in Seattle.
“The challenges that our state is seeing around homelessness, those challenges are not unique to Washington State. Homelessness and housing instability generally have been increasing – particularly in the Western states where we have this dilemma of having challenges in making sure that people can meet their service needs, but that is coupled with the incredibly high price of maintaining housing in this state. And it’s in part because there’s a lot of great things happening here in Washington State: we’re a place where people want to live and want to work and we’re attracting a lot of new residents to our state.
So, we have to deal with the affordability challenges as we work on the fact that the people who are going to be most impacted by homelessness are the people who have other challenges in their life. That oftentimes includes serious behavioral health conditions, substance use disorder, complicated and long-term chronic health conditions. So, we’re going to have to build a homeless response system that not only deals with the long-term stabilizing services we need – like supportive housing or affordable housing and more robust behavioral health services – but on the immediate crisis response. Because not only are our big cities dealing with the fact that highly vulnerable and really ill and in some cases elderly people are living outside, totally without shelter, but our smaller towns across the state as well are now really struggling…”