Pictorial: A recipe for homelessness


In a large bowl mix the yeast of mental health issues with 1/2 teaspoon of the sugar of substance abuse in 2-1/4 cups of the warm water of the lack of accessible housing.  Let stand until the bubbles of inflation rise to the surface.

Then whisk three more tablespoons of the sugar (or honey) of substance abuse, 1 tablespoon of the salt of zoning rules, and 2 tablespoons of the oil of local protests with 3 more cups of the flour of poverty.

With the mixer of municipal, county and state politicians, add more flour of poverty until the dough of homeless begins to take shape.

Knead the dough of homelessness and then drop it into a greased bowl.  Cover with the towel of non-transparency as to where funding goes and how it is allocated, place in a warm spot and wait for the homeless issue to double in size.

Last, place the dough into the preheated oven of a humanitarian crisis and wait two to three years more until a loaf of despair is baked.

This is what is on the table now.

JM Simpson is a veteran photojournalist who lives in Lacey.

Editor’s Note: When possible, individuals gave permission to be photographed; however, this was not always possible.  Laws allow for the photographing of individuals in public without their consent. 

The opinions above are, of course, those of the writer and not of The JOLT. Got something you want to get off your chest? Post your comment below, or write it up and send it to us. We'll likely run it the same day we get it. 


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  • WA_Mojo

    Criminals, bums and drug addicts.

    Thursday, March 23 Report this

  • Annierae

    WA Mojo, I'm grateful you haven't had to experience the misfortunes these people have been subjected to. I pray none of your family or friends are either. With our mental healthcare crisis, lack of affordable housing and shortage of drug and rehab care, this could happen to any one of us.

    Thursday, March 23 Report this

  • JMSimpson

    WA_Mojo: I would not characterize the individuals I photograph as "criminals, bums and drug addicts;" rather, they are human beings in need of help.

    Your characterization of them is a stereotypical reaction from someone who apparently cannot write a complete sentence.

    Thursday, March 23 Report this

  • metalFish

    @JMSimpson This was a very interesting way to frame the crisis and failure (by the State and Business) that houseless-ness represents. I had hoped that the pandemic and impending collapse of Capitalism would have identified the cruelty that has affected our houseless neighbors in a way of activating-for-those-who-have-the-means. We can begin by identifying them as people first and their lack of housing as a symptom of unaffordable or adequate access to homes and resources. It is time to approach this as if this could happen to anyone who is not already a millionaire and above--the delusions make our society sick. I have hope that we will eventually peel away the hardened crust of indifference and moral judgement in order to take better care of our fellow unhoused neighbors.

    Thursday, March 23 Report this

  • JLindsay

    Moving photos of a heartbreaking crisis.

    Thursday, March 23 Report this

  • WilliamPorter

    I work in social services in downtown Olympia. I am unused to seeing and hearing the people I serve described so kindly nor the problems we face laid out so eloquently. Thank you for looking with your eyes, listening with your ears, and speaking from the heart.

    Friday, March 24 Report this