Orting Frequently Asked Questions
Where is the orting village located?
The Orting Veterans Village will be located at the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA) Soldiers Home in Orting, a 181 acre campus with nursing and domiciliary facilities for veterans as well as other programs. The campus was first established in 1891 for veterans of the Civil War and is located 1.5 miles from downtown Orting.
Who will live in the village?
The Village will serve previously homeless veterans. Background checks and drug screenings will be required. Residents may not have outstanding warrants, a recent history of violence, and may not be sex offenders. Village staff will interview applicants to assess their eligibility, and applicants will have an opportunity to meet with Village residents.
is this temporary or permanent housing? will there be rules?
The Village will be permanent housing and will not provide emergency shelter beds. Some residents may use the Village as a stepping stone an move on to other housing options. Others - generally those whose disabilities preclude economic independence - may stay at the Village for a long time. All residents will pay 30% of their income in rent and sign a lease agreement in which they agree to abide by Village rules, including not using marijuana, alcohol, or illegal drugs on the campus. If a resident violates his or her lease, staff will work with the residents to prevent future infractions or may move to terminate the least.
WHO WILL RUN ORITNG VETERANS VILLAGE? WHO IS IN CHARGE?
Panza, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization doing business as Quixote Communities, will be the owner and manager of the Village. The Village will have two full-time staff, a program manager and a resident advocate. The program manager will collect rent, enforce rules, arrange for maintenance repairs, and manage the facility. The resident advocate will link residents to services, arrange for educational and therapeutic programs at the site, and coordinate transportation to American Lake VA Hospital or other locations for services.
HOW WILL CONSTRUCTION OF THE VILLAGE BE FUNDED?
The Village will cost approximately $3,850,000 to build. The Puget Sound Veterans Hope Center (PSVHC) has a $600,000 direct allocation in the state capital budget. Additionally, the Washington Department of Veterans Affairs has committed to providing the land to the project at no cost through a long term lease. Other proposed capital funding is:
how will the operation of the village be funded?
It all began when Camp Quixote, a tent city, was established in downtown Olympia in 2007 to protest a city ordinance that banned lying or sitting on sidewalks in the downtown core.
When police threatened to break up the camp, the homeless residents and their activist supporters, The Poor People’s Union and Bread and Roses, asked the Olympia Unitarian Universalist Congregation to provide space for the camp on the church's property. In February of 2007, the campers moved to OUUC, the first of seven local churches that would host the camp over the next six years.
Eventually Olympia, Lacey, Tumwater and Thurston County were all convinced to pass ordinances permitting the camp on church properties, but requiring 24 hours a day monitoring by church members, strict adherence to health and safety rules, and limited stays at each location. Inhabitants of the camp elected a Resident Council that defined the rules of residency, made sure they were being followed and was in charge of admissions.
Overseeing the camp and moving it from one church parking lot to another every three to six months was no easy task! Hundreds of volunteers helped with donations, security, finances, and transportation. We are forever grateful to them and to the faith communities that offered the camp support, including sanctuary on their land. Along the way Panza, a nonprofit organization, was created to support the camp.
The founders of Camp Quixote hoped to find land and build a permanent village for themselves, consisting of tiny houses and a shared building that would house showers, laundry, and cooking facilities. In time, with support from the City of Olympia and Thurston County, as well as our many volunteers and the camp residents themselves, Panza began to advocate for a permanent solution. A LOT of hard work ensued: a campaign for funding was launched, a search for a site undertaken, changes in city code were needed (because there was nothing written in policy for single units that share a common space!) and a conditional use permit obtained. We held multiple open forums to educate the community on who we are and what they could expect. Eventually Panza cobbled together funding from federal, state and local sources to make this vision a reality on a site provided by Thurston County for $1 a year, for 41 years. Construction began.
On December 24, 2013, the 30 residents of Camp Quixote left their tents behind and became residents of Quixote Village.
STAY TUNED...MORE INFOrmation ONCE WE GET CLOSER TO MAKING THE ORTING VETERANS VILLAGE A REALITY!