(UPDATED Thursday night with a second city response to the data question)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Just before the first blast of snowy weather hit our area Sunday, the latest updates on West Seattle’s city-sanctioned encampment were shared at the Camp Second Chance Community Advisory Committee meeting.
In attendance were C2CCAC chair Willow Fulton, members Aaron Garcia, Cinda Stenger, Judi Carr, and Grace Stiller, camp manager/co-founder Eric Davis, and Shawn Neal, a grants/contracts specialist with the city Human Services Department.
STATUS REPORTS: Davis provided the monthly report on the camp’s status via this one-sheet:
Later in the meeting he shared an anecdote about the camp helping reunite a lost dog with its owner
From committee members: “Everything seems to be going pretty well” in and around the camp, reported Fulton. She mentioned a camper (minus vehicle) that had been abandoned along Myers Way and was a magnet for odd roadside activity for a while but said it’s since been removed, as has some roadside trash. Fulton also mentioned the two January meetings about the camp’s hopes of an extension to stay atthe site, Westside Interfaith Network (WSB coverage here) and Highland Park Action Committee (WSB coverage here); she spoke at both meetings. She also reported going to Burien to see “Trickle Down Town,” the documentary that features C2C, and hopes to get a screening arranged at Arrowhead Gardens (which is where the CAC meets, a few blocks north of the encampment). … Garcia said he was heartened by the “civil dialogue” at the HPAC meeting, which he attended … Stenger reported that tiny-house building has resumed in the “special tent” on site at C2C.
CITY REP: Shawn Neal, who handles grants and contracts for sanctioned encampments, said he talked to the city colleagues who attended the aforementioned West Seattle meetings, and described them as “happy” with the expressions of support. He said some other community events will be scheduled by the city related to the proposed extension of C2C’s stay at the Myers Way Parcels, but he didn’t have dates yet.
CAMP NEIGHBOR’S QUESTIONS/CONCERNS: Garcia read email with questions/concerns for the city, sent by area resident Carol (who also copied WSB the same day, so we have cut/pasted below):
How can the mayor of Seattle, HPAC, NHUAC or the surrounding communities make an informed decision on CSCs third permit extension with no current data ?
We feel that there is a lack of transparency on housing data & the details of exactly how people are being helped.
This has been an ongoing problem with CSC, LIHI & the city regarding the nonprofits that they contract with.
As of Friday February 1st 5 pm CSC still has not produced any Community Advisory Committee meeting minutes or data since August 2018 !
There is no current data for how many individuals have been housed, exited, barred or connected with services.
On the Seattle.gov Homelessness Response page under Permitted Encampments / CSC… It states that the city has only requested the minutes from October and November 2018.
Garcia asked Neal if he had any response. Garcia said the committee is not bound to submit a formal data report. Fulton said she has submitted minutes as of midweek and was awaiting city posting. (We checked the city website just before publishing this story; the C2C section now has minutes linked through January, with only October missing.)
Fulton also noted that WSB usually covers the meetings (archived here but note that we did miss the January meeting) and publish reports for anyone interested. As for camp status, Davis’s reports, he said, are unofficial. Neal said that the city does track how many people from C2C are exiting to permanent housing. “We have that information.”
So, asked Stenger, where would that be accessible? It’s in a database, Neal said, but not necessarily someplace easy to access. We followed up, asking, does that mean someone could access it simply by asking, or whether a public disclosure request would be required. Neal said he didn’t know but would find out. (We have not heard back but are following up.) Fulton said access to the official reports would be helpful so that committee members could help in their role as unofficial community liaisons.
ADDED 12:57 PM THURSDAY: Lily Rehrmann of HSD replied to part of our followup inquiry:
For the third quarter of 2018 (representing data from January 1 – September 30, 2018), Camp Second Chance had a rate of exits to permanent housing of 48%, meaning that of those households that exited CSC 48% entered permanent housing. This is the highest rate for all the permitted villages in the third quarter. The percentage represents 21 households entering permanent housing in the first 9 months of 2018.
ADDED 8:51 PM THURSDAY: That didn’t answer the question of how a citizen would routinely access the data, so we repeated it. Rehrmann’s response:
The best place for a constituent to ask a question about homelessness results and data is by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. There is some data that HSD queries in the regular course of business when we report quarterly results, including the below question about exits to permanent housing that we can answer fairly quickly. Some data we don’t pull automatically each quarter and that may be best accessed through a PDR request. We can offer that advice through email@example.com.
We report quarterly results at a system level to the Council and on our blog, but I realize that may not be the level of data that folks are interested in.
Q1 Report to Council:
(back to original report) FUNDING FOR TINY HOUSES: Arrowhead Gardens resident Diane asked Stenger to clarify the money that’s being spent on tiny houses at C2C. Reply: The church raised $21,000 starting in spring 2016, then through “momentum” of community and church, that “ballooned to $40,000, and we’re kicking off a campaign to raise another $60,000.” One house generally costs $2500 to $3000, Stenger said, depending on what kind of material donations are available, or how much is available at reduced prices.
MEETING AT ARROWHEAD GARDENS: Sometime in the next week or so, they’re expecting City Councilmember Lisa Herbold for a meeting, and they want reps from SDOT, Parking Enforcement, Parks and Recreation, to talk about the situation on both sides of Myers Way. That includes an update on where the development of the cleared east-side property stand, since Parks had said xxx). “This is our front yard” and they want to be partners in determining what’s done with it.
NEXT MEETING: The committee meets on first Sundays, so it’s scheduled to convene again at 2 pm Sunday, March 3rd, again in the Arrowhead Gardens community room (9200 2nd SW).