Camp Second Chance doing OK in virus crisis

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

No cases of COVID-19 are reported at southeast West Seattle’s tiny-house encampment Camp Second Chance, but the pandemic has affected life at CSC in a few ways.

That was part of the discussion as the Camp Second Chance Community Advisory Committee met by videoconferencing and phone on Sunday afternoon.

The camp’s status was presented during the 40-minute meeting by site coordinator Eric Pattin.

50 people are there now – 17 women and 33 men. Two moved out to permanent housing in the past month, while two new arrivals were welcomed. Pattin said they had been working out a way that volunteers could safely continue working on tiny houses in the CSC tent set up for building them, with proper social distancing in place. Josh Castle from LIHI, the nonprofit that has a city contract to operate CSC, said there’s a separate entrance at the back of the site as well as a separate porta-potty and hand-washing station for volunteers. They have built two more tiny houses recently.

Overall, Pattin said, campers are in “very good spirits.” They have the supplies they need to stay healthy, including a donation of washable face masks. Rev. Leah Atkinson Bilinski from Fauntleroy UCC, the camp sponsor, said she had put out a call for paper plates and bowls for the camp, so those were likely to start showing up soon.

Other committee members provided quick updates:

Committee chair Willow Fulton urged the camp to reach out if any help is needed, because she and other neighbors have a “good community network.” The neighborhood, she noted, has seen an uptick of crime recently, like the dumping of stolen cars.

Aaron Garcia from the White Center Community Development Association mentioned the $250,000 grant WCCDA is getting from the Seattle Foundation for COVID-19-related community assistance. He said the organization would be launching a form for people to apply if they needed help, such as rent and utility payments.

Grace Stiller said Bakery Nouveau is continuing to donate food to CSC, though it’s cut back a bit since it currently is open fewer hours. She also said she has applied for a grant from the Rose Foundation for weed removal behind C2C, on the west side of the Myers Way Parcels, and expects to hear a decision by month’s end.

Judi Carr from Arrowhead Gardens, the senior-living complex a short distance north of CSC, said she and other residents are “figuring out how to stay in and stay sane” with so many things closed down because of the pandemic, including the lobbies and community rooms.

The meeting also yielded a few side notes that we reported on Sunday. The CAC’s next meeting will also be virtual, at 2 pm Sunday, May 3rd; we’ll have the call-in info in our calendar.

2 Replies to "Camp Second Chance doing OK in virus crisis"

  • Sillygoose April 8, 2020 (7:56 am)

    Truly wonderful to read local business owners helping those in need.  BRAVO!!This story states that no reported cases of COVID-19 do they have the means to get tested?  Have they been tested? 

    • WSB April 8, 2020 (8:10 pm)

      I asked about access to testing during a media briefing this afternoon about homelessness response and COVD-19. Short answer, yes, there are a variety of ways someone living in a tiny-home village, or shelter, or on the streets can get tested. Some busy downtown shelters have given tests to all, including staff.

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