By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The city permit for sanctioned West Seattle encampment Camp Second Chance has been extended six more months, to March 2020.
The city quietly announced in an online update Friday afternoon. We learned about it today at the start of the monthly C2C Community Advisory Committee meeting.
Lisa Gustaveson from the city Human Services Department was at the meeting to elaborate. The city is still talking with a possible faith-based “sponsor” for the camp, she said (as also mentioned in the city-website post) but if that doesn’t come through, the city will start moving to dismantle the camp: “We would work very closely to find places for every person to go to … to find permanent housing or be referred to another program that works for them.”
Tom Van Bronkhorst of the city Department of Neighborhoods said the city is working toward an October community meeting at the Joint Training Facility, which is just north of the camp, to talk about C2C’s future.
This is the second six-month extension of the camp’s permit beyond the two years originally promised by the city. In all, the camp already has been on the city-owned Myers Way Parcels (map) for more than three years, originally occupying the site without authorization shortly after leaving its original site on church property in South King County. Over its time at this site, the camp has evolved into an all-tiny-houses “village” with community donations and volunteers buying and building the houses.
At today’s advisory committee meeting, we asked about how/if C2C would be affected by this week’s announcement of a regional homelessness strategy; Gustaveson replied that it won’t affect them at least at the start, but the camp beds are now considered as shelter beds, so they will be administered by the regional entity.
Today’s meeting also included the monthly camp update: C2C has 55 residents right now and has placed 8 people in permanent housing in the past 3 months, with 3 more moving out in the next 3 days, director Eric Davis told the committee. He also said 5 people from the camp – which is supposed to operate drug- and alcohol-free – were referred to inpatient treatment for “overmedicating and/or use of meth and/or heroin.” 3 availed themselves of the treatment option, he said (and confirmed on our followup question that the other 2 are no longer in the camp).
One resident of Arrowhead Gardens, which is a few blocks north of the camp (and where the C2CCAC meets), was one of two members of the public to speak at the meeting. She said she is happy to hear about the extension and believes that the camp’s presence cuts down on unauthorized camping and other illegal activity in the area. Another commenter also said that “destroying (the C2C) community” would be senseless.
Also at the meeting:
COMMITTEE UPDATES: Chair Willow Fulton says that offsite, there’s evidence of more unauthorized camping. There’s also evidence of illegal dumping in the area, not related to camping. … Member Aaron Garcia noted that his employer White Center Community Development Agency continues to work on the affordable-housing project for 8th/108th. WCCDA also is planning the annual White Center Summit for November 9th.
WHAT’S NEXT: While awaiting the date of the promised community meeting on C2C’s future, you can send any comments/questions to the city at firstname.lastname@example.org … The advisory committee’s next meeting, always open to the public, is at 2 pm Sunday, October 6, in the community room at Arrowhead Gardens (9200 2nd SW).