Change the encampment time-limit rules? That and more @ Camp Second Chance Community Advisory Committee

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

While the decision on another year for Camp Second Chance at the Myers Way Parcels is pending, sentiment is swirling about changing the city rules that currently limit encampments to two city-sanctioned years.

That was one of the notable side issues that arose during the monthly meeting of the C2C Community Advisory Committee on Sunday afternoon.

The camp, you might recall, is currently waiting to hear from the city on whether its permit to be at the city-owned Myers Way Parcels will be extended for what the city will consider a “second year,” though the first year didn’t start until the camp had already been there nine months. The one-year-with-one-possible-year-of-renewal was a promise made before the city funding was finalized last year, and it’s the current rule for all of the city’s sanctioned encampments.

When Sunday’s meeting got to open-discussion time, a resident of Arrowhead Gardens – the senior-living complex where the committee meets, a few blocks north of the encampment – asked who “absorbs the expense” if and when the camp has to be relocated.

Josh Castle from camp operator Low-Income Housing Institute (LIHI) said it would be a combination of the city and LIHI – the city handles operational costs, LIHI handles set-up costs. He added that the cost of moving a camp could run to about $140,000.

“Where’s the logic in that?” the AG resident asked. Castle said that’s why they’re “looking at the ordinance” that currently requires encampments to move after two years in the same spot. Committee member Cinda Stenger from the Westside Interfaith Network said that she also agrees the camp should stay and the ordinance should be changed, ostensibly to remove the limits, and she urged other camp supporters to advocate with the City Council. “It’s outdated,” she declared.

The meeting’s regular city rep, Tom Van Bronkhorst from the Department of Neighborhoods, clarified that indeed, changing the ordinance would be up to councilmembers, but the current decision that’s being made is about – under the ordinance as it exists now – renewing the camp’s permit for another year.

Could decisionmakers regarding the bigger issue attend the CAC meeting? asked the AG resident. Van Bronkhorst said he expected that for one, Councilmember Lisa Herbold likely would attend the meeting if invited (and pointed out that she was at the recent renewal-related meeting at the Joint Training Facility). Another community member asked about the most-effective way to advocate – going to a City Council meeting? Setting up a meeting with a City Councilmember? E-mailing a councilmember? Van Bronkhorst said that e-mail and/or phone calls can be effective, and if you don’t reach a councilmember, you could talk with one of their legislative assistants.

The renewal-related meeting, meantime, was one of the first things to come up at Sunday’s meeting, which had no formal agenda. Committee chair Willow Fulton, a Top Hat-area resident recapped the recent meeting on . She said she was a bit taken aback that city officials didn’t first present “the status of things” before taking public comment (which as you might recall from our coverage, was itself a bit of a change – the city tried to tell people to go mingle with the city staffers and maybe then offer comments at the microphone, but the reaction to that suggestion changed their minds). “Because we’ve had so few community meetings in this area and people are kind of hungry fo that, it was great to have all those people there but people weren’t able to utilize them” as much as she would have liked to have seen.

Other brief updates:

CAMP UPDATE: Currently 54 residents, including 16 women, 38 men, 23 houses, 22 tents, “zero barred people,” no new placements in housing. “The camp is basically running so smooth, you can walk by, stop in, it’s like a regular community, no drama, no noise,” camp manager Eric Davis summarized.

FOOD: Stenger is still working on getting a hot meal weekly for the camp’s Wednesday night meetings, dealing with some “red tape.” … CAC member Grace Stiller says her husband is picking up bread from Bakery Nouveau three times a week for the camp … The camp fed 233 people from outside the camp during March, Davis said.

GARDENS: Stiller is soliciting interest for container gardens to grow food, or maybe even a community garden for campers and other neighbors.

TINY HOUSE: Stenger says 20 or so volunteers built a “tiny house” for the camp last month. “There’s something really powerful about building on site, building in the camp,” seeing the camp “and how well it’s run, how clean it is.” She said they’re “continuing the momentum” and just yesterday laid foundations for seven more tiny houses that they’re hoping to build in the months ahead. They’re committing to smoke alarms and an electric heater in each tiny house, as soon as a power connection is available; that gets away from propane, which has exhaust and other dangers, including moisture that leads to mold and mildew.

LIHI UPDATE: Castle said they’ve hired a new case manager (the previous one left after a short time), Richard Horne, who’s been working at LIHI’s Licton Springs Village, where he’s been “very successful,” Castle said. Horne will be at the next CAC meeting.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING: Committee member Aaron Garcia from the White Center Community Development Association says a community group continues meeting to talk about the upcoming affordable housing and more project at the White Center Food Bank/former Public Health (currently Mary’s Place shelter) site at 8th and 108th. They’re hoping to have representation on the group with “people who have experience with homelessness.”

CLEANUP: Garcia hopes that Myers Way will be part of the WCCDA’s upcoming spring clean project, which will be rebranded ReFresh this year.

TRASH: Fulton says she’s seen a lot more trash piled up in the pickup areas along Myers Way, which is a partly good sign, but would still like to see containers. She says she’s observed the pickups happening at least twice a week.

CITY UPDATE:Human Services Department will post the renewal decision (and a summary of the comments) on the city’s website once it’s been made.

MEETING MINUTES: Fulton said the notes from past meetings are all now caught up online, and from hereon out they will live up to their commitment for notes being posted “within 10 business days of (each) meeting.”

OTHER COMMUNITY QUESTIONS: In addition to the ordinance discussion as reported above – first with questions was a camp representative said that there’s a problem with the LIHI corporate account with U-Haul, in getting propane for the camp. They also need to get housing for an expectant couple at the camp. LIHI’s Castle responded by asking that they work closely with their staffer who works on the propane accounts for camps – there’s some kind of credit-card issue. Regarding the couple, “they’re at the top of the list,” Castle said, but getting people into housing is just difficult. The camp rep also asked about transparency from LIHI; Davis had noted that LIHI hadn’t had an on-site meeting with campers for a few months. Castle said the new case manager should be able to set one up. … Another camp resident noted that their website is now up and running at campsecondchance.org … A resident from 1st Avenue South, some distance south of the camp, talked about a recent break-in.

PARTY: Camp resident Krystle Peterson said the public is invited to an anniversary party at the camp, noon-8 pm April 14th, potluck with entertainment and tours.

The Camp Second Chance Community Advisory Committee meets monthly, usually the first Sunday, 2 pm, at Arrowhead Gardens’ community room (9200 2nd SW) – next meeting will be May 6th.

16 Replies to "Change the encampment time-limit rules? That and more @ Camp Second Chance Community Advisory Committee"

  • Question Authority April 9, 2018 (1:46 pm)

    I don’t believe feeding others from outside the camp is a wise choice because it only perpetuates the un sanctioned mess across the street on WSDOT/COS property.  If you want the benefits of sanctioned camp life then join it and come up out of the woods, the continued condoning of that disaster is just getting more ridiculous by the minute.

  • WS Taxpayer April 9, 2018 (2:16 pm)

    I would think that the purpose of the 2-year limit was to enable some stability for the residents while providing an “out” for the city or surrounding community.  I would think it could be incorporated into the ordinance to be “at least 2 years” at which the term is renewable in X-month increments with a clause for a notice to vacate should the city find an alternate use for the space being occupied by the encampment, or the surrounding community asking for some sort of relief.   

    If the city had alternative uses for a parcel of land that would serve the best interests of the community we would want them to be able to excercise those options!   If the surrounding community was inconvienenced to a great degree, we would want them to share the burdens with the broader population of the city!  

    • CAM April 9, 2018 (6:49 pm)

      Agreed. I think I’d also like to understand the impact that the 2 year limit has on camper’s ability to move forward in securing more permanent resources. It is possible that extending the limit might lead to people being less successful making that transition or making that transition more slowly. I think there’s definitely a happy medium somewhere along the way that would provide the necessary time for stabilization but would also not allow for the camp and it’s resources to become a handicap to people moving forward. I’m definitely not for pulling the rug out from anyone though. I think I’d like to see some of the non-profits or the city dedicating some resources to investigating what that optimal time period is. 

    • 98116 April 9, 2018 (8:31 pm)

      Well said, I completely agree.        

  • flimflam April 9, 2018 (5:22 pm)

    not a shock that they’d extend the camps. A) the city has already decided to make up rules as they go along with little concern for the community B) the camps have a pretty dismal success rate  of getting people into housing or self sufficiency….of course they’ll extend the limits.

    the camp in ballard overstayed its 2 year limit by about 4-5 months; the city’s word on these things id pretty weak.

  • Givemeabreak April 9, 2018 (7:56 pm)

    Out dated?   Maybe your position is out dated…    I agree with WS Taxpayer and would argue as many have that it is grossly unfair not to share the burdens associated with homeless encampments.   Highland Park and Top Hat deserve a break. 

    $140,000 to move a handful of temporary structures?   How does that break down?   

    • Concerned April 10, 2018 (4:50 am)

      Well considering the city has spent about a billion dollars in the last decade on the homeless and has essentially nothing to show for it, that’s how it breaks down

      • Mickymse April 10, 2018 (11:55 am)

        The City of Seattle as an entity has NOT “spent about a billion dollars in the last decade,” even if you agree with the analysis that we have probably spent that much as a region collectively on people experiencing homelessness.

        And we have PLENTY “to show for it.” Just because more people are homeless today doesn’t mean money has been wasted. And if there are 10,000 homeless people at the start of the year and 10,000 at the end that doesn’t mean money has been wasted either. That’s not how it works.

        It sounds like what you want to know is the answer to better questions like:

        –How many people were moved into housing this year?

        –How has money been spent, and is that the most efficient way to address the problem?

        –What is causing more people to become homeless every year?

        Etc. For some of these details, I recommend visiting http://www.allhomekc.org

        • Mark Ufkes April 10, 2018 (10:32 pm)

          Thank you MickyMse for being so thoughtful and smart!  “Concerned” is negative, generalizes, and does not do his homework.   Must be a Republican.  

          Mark Ufkes 

          • Patrick April 11, 2018 (10:48 am)

             Mark Ufkes,

            Mickymse may be thoughtful and respectful in their response.  You however, in your comment on ‘must be a Republican’, are both disrespectful and  ill informed.   You have no idea of Concerned’s political stance but since you disagree/dislike his comment, you become insulting.  Your intolerance is shining bright.   

  • John Walling April 9, 2018 (8:05 pm)

    Residents at Arrowhead Gardens spoke in favor of  extending the two year limit on C2C’s permit.   One resident saw the expense of moving C2C as unnecessary. Based on a comment from LIHI representative, Josh Castle, it could easily cost $200K to move and set up C2C at a new location. The move would also disrupt services. I like having C2C in the neighborhood and hope they stay as long as they are needed.  I report on C2C activities on the AG resident’s web site here.

    • Question Authority April 9, 2018 (8:27 pm)

      The residents of Arrowhead Gardens live in a secure and monitored facility with communal outdoor space so security is not an issue.  Elsewhere in the neighborhood the residents who have “or” had anything not tied down tell a different story about the impacts of the camp and it’s tag alongs across the street on the crime impacts.

      • Parent April 10, 2018 (11:03 am)

         

             My parents are residents at Arrowhead Gardens. The buildings may be “secure” but  I know that I know longer visit during evening hours or even at dusk,  because of the added riff raff that I assume are coming from somewhere down the hill and not from Camp Second Chance. They come to bum smokes from residents who are standing in the street smoking. Due to the parking issue for visitors,  I no longer feel safe visiting my own parents at their home. 

      • John Walling April 10, 2018 (7:09 pm)

        Arrowhead Gardens has outside security issues, but I don’t consider C2C to be a security issue. It puzzles me why people knowingly conflate C2C with other homeless people, unless it’s a tactic to obfuscate.

  • Mark Ufkes April 9, 2018 (10:53 pm)

    Let’s see; 


    We have over 50 people living in a clean and sober Second Chance community.  At least  for this moment, they feel successful and are part of something positive.  And many members of the broader community are pitching it to build homes, on-site, no less!  So all these good folks are getting a chance to count blessings and build empathy.  


    I know that some of you will find this hard to accept, but  statistically,  using a psychological well-being profile,  I  would wager that the unmonitored hillside squatters across the street is much more likely to be the source of petty crime in the area, (a major, unacceptable problem I agree) than residents in Camp Second Chance.  Residents at Camp Second Chance are at least trying to reconnect with society.  Two or three years there is fine, and then restore the area and turn it into a safe, well monitored park.  

    Those unmonitored hill side areas along the west side of 509 are a mess.  A police officer told me not to go down there unless I was armed.  Instead of worrying about Camp Second Chance, we should ramp up the pressure to get the dangerous Hillside Squatter camps out of there.   They look unsanitary, unhealthy, piles of trash everywhere; they are inhuman.    Message to Hillside Sqatters; either let us help you get organized and clean, or move to Idaho, and see how you do there.   Tough love is the only thing that works for some people.   


    Mark Ufkes

    White Center of the Universe 

  • Patty April 14, 2018 (12:48 am)

    Perhaps the “Expectant ” couple at CSC could get into Mary’s Place in White Center ?

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