Local leaders seek to establish coalition to tackle homelessness

Western Washington County – An invitation to local civic, business, nonprofit and faith-based leaders to attend a forum on forming a coalition to tackle homelessness in local communities is being circulated by leaders of Forest Grove’s Temporary Emergency Shelter (TES).

The forum will be held on August 8 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Sonrise Church, located at 2835 19th Ave in Forest Grove. Registration to attend the meeting is not required.

According to Brian Schimmel, one of the organizers of the forum, the leaders of TES are hoping to draw community leaders from the cities and communities of Gales Creek, Banks, Forest Grove, Cornelius, Gaston, and surrounding areas.

The forum will feature Darla Tillman-Samuelson, board chair for Just Compassion, a homeless services coalition and non-profit organization that serves the homeless population in Tigard, Tualatin and Sherwood.

According to Schimmel, the forum organizers are hoping to walk away from the initial meeting having learned about the experiences of Just Compassion in forming a coalition, and develop an interest list of groups who wish to participate in a similar coalition – a list he says already includes two Forest Grove city councilors, the Mayor of Forest Grove, Peter Truax, the Cornelius city manager, and the Forest Grove/Cornelius Chamber of Commerce, among others.

Forest Grove City Councilor Malynda Wenzl is one of those interested councilors. She was hesitant to say what the role of the city council might be in a potential coalition, but had praise for the efforts of Forest Grove’s Temporary Emergency Shelter leadership.

“I’m very excited about the outreach and initiative our FG TES are taking to help people dealing with homelessness,” said Wenzl

Wenzl hopes that the city council will hold a work session in the future to address the city’s stance on homelessness.

Sources and more information:

Brian Schimmel, spokesperson for TES.
Just Compassion website.
Malynda Wenzl, Forest Grove City Councilor