Interfaith Works has updated the Olympia City Council on the ongoing project called Sergio Jaramillo, a daytime resource center to provide people hygiene services, on-site medical, mental health, and emergency services in hazardous weather, during a meeting on Tuesday, January 31.
According to the Interfaith Works Shelter website, they received a temporary occupancy permit in early January 2023.
The website stated that the building is complete, and all permit inspections have been passed. Minimal landscape additions are required to receive full building occupancy, which will be approved within 90 days.
On January 23, Interfaith Works held an open house at the center.
Meg Martin, executive director for Interfaith Works, said they have been working on the project for a couple of years and were able to purchase the property at 3444 Martin Way.
Martin said Olympia, Tumwater and Lacey contributed to making the center happen. They also get funding from the United Way, part of COVID relief funds, targeted toward people with the highest risk of contracting and dying from COVID.
Martin said the property was an old foam and fabric outlet. "We have to demolish the existing structure. It would have taken far too much investment to bring it up to a livable building to rehabilitate it."
Interfaith Works worked with a Canadian-based company called Sprung Structures, which does structures for emergency hospitals and different modular buildings that can be put up quickly and used for many other uses.
"Our intended use was to use it as a bridge while Unity Commons was still getting finished. Because at that time, we were sheltering in two different churches to provide a space for hazardous weather response and a space for daytime respite," she said.
Delays, challenges, and silver linings
Martin said there were delays in putting up the center. She said these were related to the pandemic. There are problems with materials supply chains. She also mentioned that certain energy codes changed, which posed challenges to them. " we have gotten through all of those things."
During the presentation, Martin showed the photos of the building.
According to Martin, they also experienced severe staffing shortages throughout the pandemic. But "having these delays has allowed us for additional coordination. We will partner with Valley View Health Center more robustly than we originally intended," she said, adding they are also talking with the Providence hospital partners to give vital service connection.
Interfaith Works also has the Unity Commons project, partnering with Low-Income Housing Institute.
Martin said if the center opened around the same time they were working on the Unity Commons, they would face difficulty getting both projects off the ground simultaneously.
Who was Sergio Jaramillo?
The center was named after Sergio Jaramillo, an Olympia resident for decades.
Martin said Jaramillo was undocumented and could not access any federal services.
"The ability for him to move up and out of homelessness was extremely limited because of that," Martin said, adding that the services they provide are open for people regardless of their circumstances. She said such access was an essential lifeline for Sergio over the years.
Martin said Jaramillo got frostbite that subsequently cost him both of his legs. The infections that would not heal spread. He passed away in 2019.
Martin described Jaramillo as someone who was an amazing guitar player and loved the Beatles.
"He would play them all the time that anyone who would listen," shared Martin. “We hold him very close in our heart and want to bring his spirit of hope, art, and light, despite the incredible hurdles he had to overcome into our space."
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An enclosed, heated space to go to in hazardous weather. That sounds like it might save a few fingers and toes. I’m glad to see that.
Friday, February 3 Report this
What a great daytime resource center to have in our community. Kudos to Interfaith Works!
Monday, February 6 Report this