By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Turnout was light as usual, and no major community concerns surface. The meeting yielded some updates, though:
SPONSOR UPDATES: Fauntleroy Church’s pastor Rev. Leah Atkinson Bilinski was at the meeting, telling the committee, “My church is really excited to enter into this important relationship” with the camp. She said the church has launched an Implementation Task Force to decide what sort of “programming” it can provide for the camp.
Members already have met “a couple times” with encampment reps to talk about what would be helpful. “Fauntleroy’s really good at community, and food,” the pastor said, so those are possibilities. She reiterated that the church won’t be proselytizing or evangelizing – they’ll be “acting from a base of faith” but not preaching it.
CAMP UPDATES: As presented by manager/co-founder Eric Davis, the update said 50 people are living there now, 17 women and 33 men. In the past month, the camp has not had to call 911, and hasn’t barred anyone. Big news: Its new kitchen is complete. He was asked about past flooding trouble and what’s being done to hold that off. They’ve done sealing work and “it’s dry” now, Davis replied. He also mentioned some outside piping that needs to be insulated – including the shower trailer – and says that’s scheduled for tomorrow. Those doing the work include “skilled (camp residents),” he noted. Another question he answered: Mold problem in sone of the tiny houses. He said that was only a problem in some older ones that are being used for storage. Otherwise, they’re inspecting at least once a month to check for that kind of problem.
COMMITTEE MEMBERS’ UPDATES: Chair Willow Fulton, who lives nearby, says things have been fairly quiet on Myers Way outside the camp too – some illegal dumping but it’s called in and handled pretty quickly. She’s seen some evidence of people hiking into the greenbelt on the east side of Myers but no significant evidence of illegal camping there, which last year was very evident once the trees went bare for the year, but this year is not in view …Cinda Stenger from Alki UCC /Westside Interfaith Network said tiny-house building ccontinues … Grace Stiller offered gratitude that things were going well … Judi Carr, a resident of Arrowhead Gardens (where the committee meets), said she’s glad the camp will be staying … Aaron Garcia from the White Center Community Development Association said the WCCDA’s presenting its annual WC Summit next Saturday (December 7th, 9 am-1:30 pm at Evergreen High School), and housing is the major topic.
CITY UPDATES: Lisa Gustaveson from the city Human Services Department was there to field any questions about the new partnership with Fauntleroy Church. She handed out a copy of the city ordinance (see it here) that governs an arrangement like thi. She noted that three other encampments are sponsored by faith-based organizations, but this is the first one on city land.
One question was about parking for CSC; the city rules don’t require parking for a “transitional encampment.” That has been an issue for this camp – there’s some parking just outside the gate but it’s not an official parking area. Gustaveson said they’ll work on that and noted “this has the most cars of any encampment” – many residents drive to and from their jobs. The church’s lease for the current camp footprint does not currently include the area used for parking but Gustaveson said they’ll figure something out. Fulton asked if there’s any time limit on the camp aside from annual lease renewals. “No,” but, Gustaveson noted, the camp is meant to be a “temporary solution” and the city funding – or lack of it – will be determined on an annual basis. (There is no money involved in the agreement with Fauntleroy Church; LIHI continues to be the camp operator and receives some city funding [added] = this year’s contract is for $363,000.) The ordinance calls for a “site plan” to be filed with the city; that needs to be updated to reflect the added tiny houses, Gustaveson said. Garcia asked her about the regulation section that allows for up to 100 people at encampments. She and Davis have had “many conversations,” she noted; Davis said in his view, “50 to 60 people” are about the maximum manageable limit for a camp. Even with 50, he said, he would like to have more management help, at least two part-time people. He and a case manager (both paid by LIHI from the contract funding) are the only two staffers right now, though he said another case manager is “on the way.”
WHAT’S NEXT: The next CAC meeting will be Sunday, January 5th. usual time/place, 2 pm at Arrowhead Gardens’ community room (9220 2nd SW).