Sharing a van is simple, smart | Editorial

At a time when public resources for those in need are declining, how refreshing it is to see five Vashon agencies work together to obtain a van for their clients. And how smart.

The joint effort — a collaboration among Seeds4Success, the Interfaith Council to Prevent Homelessness, Vashon Youth & Family Services, Vashon HouseHold and the Vashon Senior Center — makes sense on so many levels.

Each agency has some need for a large passenger van, but not quite enough to justify the entire expense of ownership. By working together, they’re recognizing the way their missions overlap, their shared needs, their common interests.

It’s frugal, smart and creative. And it means a population of Islanders — from home-bound seniors to disabled young adults — will be able to see their doctors, get to a free dinner, enjoy an outing in Seattle or make it to a job site.

The agencies agreed to work together at Hilary Emmer’s suggestion. An Island activist with a keen interest in social services and a good head for numbers, Emmer could see the logic of a joint proposal. She convinced the agencies it made sense, and then in turn convinced the county that these Island agencies — working collaboratively — could deliver a lot of good with that one van.

As a staffer in Councilmember Joe McDermott’s office put it, the application “was very persuasive.”

But luckily for Emmer, she wasn’t making her pitch for collaboration in a vacuum. For a few years now, Vashon’s social service agencies have been coming together on a regular basis to figure out ways they can join forces and better serve the Island. The van is a tangible sign that their efforts are paying off.


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