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They would be right to some extent a large part of the people who live here are connected with the military one way or another. The jets would be misleading if one did not know the town. There is also a low income pouplation and even a homeless pouplation. The Gazebo in the picture is one that many of the homeless will sleep in when it is raining. We have a place called Spin Cafe which is hidden and if you do not know what it is the door front with no sign it could be misleading. This place is a place for the lowincome or homeless to come get a meal or access other resources. We also have a North Whidbey Family Resource Center, there is also a South Whidbey resource Center on the south end of the island which is a totally different type of community, at this center the low income familes can get things like energy assistance, connected with Washington State medical insurance, Veterans services and
emergency housing or rental assistance. There are many strengths within the diverse community. The military members help the community in many ways such as through community projects. The town does offer some community services or at least the ability to connect someone with those services.But as a social worker there are challenges to. One being because of the large military pouplation many of the community resources that a non military community may have are not available here because it is not seen as something that is needed. The military has their own resources they can access. The cost of living is higher so helping a client find affordable housing can be a struggle because many of the rents arebased on housing allowance given by the military. Being an island in itself causes struggles because even though there is a bridge, which I did not get a picture of, that leads off the island or the ferry boat on the south end the resources that some of the low income families may need are not that accessible if they do not have a way to get to them. In some areas such as child protection services working in this community can be difficult because if the family you are working with is connected with the military the social worker not only has to be able to follow the requirements and address the challenges governed bythe state but also by the military which can add another layer to being able to help that family.One way as a social worker that I could help the challenges become strengths is by educating those who do not know about the community. The best way to turn the challenges into strengths is by making sure everyone is on the same page and are aware of the resources available to both the military but also the low income and homeless community. Helping to bring everyone together for discussions could help bridge the gaps that are there between the communities within Oak Harbor.