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LIFRC Community Updates                    
October 16, 2020
From the Executive Director

During COVID-19, community-based organizations like LIFRC have assumed an enhanced dual role. One obligation is expanding our critical safety net services. With your generous support, we have been able to offer a range of increased services: food security, housing stabilization, essential utilities, health care supports, youth development programs, care coordination and peer support for mental health services.  
 
Our second imperative is to build a community with greater equity for all. If we believe that people’s basic needs must be met, this includes social justice. Systems that marginalize or take advantage of others must be changed. This requires actively working together to address inequities in our community.
 
Lopez is a small community without a great deal of institutional resources. These days it can be a lot to emotionally metabolize what is happening around us. The depth of our personal relationships here presents us with powerful opportunities to share and hold positive conversations about our collective future. We know that the choices we make today may not bear fruit immediately, but will affect our island for many years. We take this responsibility seriously. 
 
LIFRC believes that honoring the talents and leadership of the people we serve, and listening and following their ideas is essential to achieve equity. “Voices and Vision” groups are gathering to build stronger relationships and let LIFRC listen to and implement the ideas of people who have lived experiences with mental health, poverty, youth, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) and other marginalized community members.  

One of our new VISTA volunteers, Erin Lee, introduced LIFRC to a simple but meaningful action designed to address JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion). Each week, a staff member shares a short article or video to discuss at our next meeting. We then spend the first 10-25 minutes discussing as a team. Consider doing this with your family or group of friends. And please share your ideas with us.  We all grow stronger by learning together.  

This update presents some statistics and links that may help inform what we hope will be an ongoing community conversation about how COVID-19 has impacted our county, and the growing disparities that must be addressed with Lopezians’ creativity, compassion and commitment. And please be on the lookout for our next Community Conversation invitation. We need your voice to make Lopez strong.  
— Barbara Schultheiss
Please join us: 
Help Lopez continue to thrive by supporting LIFRC! 
Donate Today
Community by the Numbers
 COVID-19 Economic Recovery Dashboard
Unemployment Rates                           Taxable Retail Sales
- 8.4%  Statewide                                   -5% Statewide
- 25%  San Juan County                    -25% San Juan County
Learn More
Many Lopez households rely on seasonal jobs, extra hours during the summer or a second (or third!) part-time gig during warm weather. Savings from “high season” jobs are often enough to see a family through the slow winter months. The pandemic this past summer diminished many earning sources. In addition, parents with kids now in virtual schooling have cut back on work outside the home to prevent their children from falling behind in their education. 

San Juan County has lower wages and higher rents than most of Washington (see graphs below for details). Many Lopez households spend more than 33%—often up to 50%—of their income on rent. These households are operating in a stressful survival mode wondering how they will get through. LIFRC is working to support people who are used to being self-sufficient but now find themselves struggling due to the cascading effects of COVID-19.
Wage Earnings
Statewide average wage in 2018: $66,195.
San Juan County's 2018 annual wage: $36,668.
San Juan County ranked 37th out of 39 counties for wage earnings. 
Learn More
Affordable Housing
Fair Market Rent (FMR) in San Juan County, compared to the national average: VERY HIGH.   

San Juan County FMR is more expensive than 80% of the rest of the Washington State.
Learn More
AmeriCorps VISTA Zoë Gregozek is a member of LIFRC's food security team and the Lopez School LIFE Garden. Zoe graduated from Reed College in Portland, Oregon, with a degree in environmental studies. After a broken foot landed her back in her hometown of Santa Cruz, California, she volunteered as a field researcher at the Long Marine Lab. On Lopez, Zoë has enjoyed rediscovering her love for throwing pottery and sailing. She hopes to continue to learn from the skilled craftspeople of the island.

Zoë is currently looking for a place to rent on the island. She has no pets and a small budget. Please reach out if you hear of anything!  zoe @lifrc.org 
AmeriCorps VISTA Erin Lee joins the LIFRC team and Housing Lopez. At LIFRC, she’ll be working on capacity building (setting up systems to help LIFRC function at its best) and supporting LIFRC's efforts to become more diversity/equity/inclusion-minded. Erin is originally from Redmond, Washington, and graduated from Whitman College with a degree in politics. Ask her about her senior thesis — she would be glad to tell you about it! She also enjoys sketching, embroidering, playing guitar, and listening to all kinds of music. Erin is already feeling at home on Lopez and would love to learn more about the art scene on the island.
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PO Box 732  Lopez Island  WA 098261
t: 360.468.4117  e: email@lifrc.org 


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Lopez Island Family Resource Center · PO Box 732 · Lopez Island, WA 98261-0732 · USA

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