Camp Second Chance updates @ September’s Community Advisory Committee meeting

People at West Seattle’s only city-sanctioned tiny-house encampment are doing OK with the two current health crises – air quality and COVID-19 – so far.

So said Camp Second Chance‘s site coordinator during the monthly Community Advisory Committee meeting, held online Sunday afternoon.

Participants included, from the committee, chair Willow Fulton and members Cinda Stenger, Grace Stiller, Aaron Garcia, and Judi Carr. From Camp Second Chance, site coordinator/co-founder Eric Pattin was in attendance. But for at least the third month, no one was there to represent the city.

COMMITTEE MEMBER REPORTS: Fulton, who lives near CSC, said the Seattle Public Utilities temporary worksite just south of the camp on Myers Way (explained in last month’s report) seems to be expanding. “Other things on the street have been fairly quiet,” she added, and noted that dumping issues she reported in the past month were handled promptly. … Stenger noted that Alki UCC continues to organize twice-monthly food/clothing drives so if the camp finds itself with excess donations – as it has in the past – it can repurpose them. … Stiller said the grant-funded weed-removal project she’s organized, with camp residents’ participation, removed 33,000 square feet of invasive weeds and now has a pile of them that can be composted into mulch. She’s pursuing another grant to get the blackberry roots out and replant the area. … Garcia subsequently noted that Stiller won Burien’s “Citizen of the Year” award. He also said the King County Subarea Plan for North Highline is looking for residents’ input on issues that could include more support for affordable housing to help more people out of homelessness. … Carr said Arrowhead Gardens, the senior complex a few blocks north of the camp, has remained virus-free and is loosening its lockdown a little bit, recently bringing in a flu-shot clinic.

CAMP UPDATE: Pattin reported that 53 people are there – 15 women and 38 men. Four people have moved out into permanent housing, while four new people have arrived. “Spring cleaning” is starting, to get out some unneeded items like plywood that are cluttering the camp. Camp operator LIHI has provided a wireless security-camera system but CSC needs to find help installing it, so committee members will put the call out. He also said LIHI is planning to install a washer/dryer at the camp.

DISCUSSION/Q&A: Fulton asked.about COVID-19 testing at the camp, which was a question last month; Pattin said 16 people were tested “about a month ago” but he hasn’t heard anything about the results. No one’s shown any symptoms. The wildfire smoke hasn’t led to any health problems so far, either, he added. (It did lead to some cancellation of tiny-house building at the site, though.) They had one camper a few weeks back with an ongoing respiratory issue and got her an air purifier. … Though the original plan for Fauntleroy UCC to lease the camp site is no longer needed because of the change in city encampment rules, Rev. Leah Atkinson Bilinski said the church is still working on a Memorandum of Understanding with the city regarding ongoing support for the encampment. … Arrowhead Gardens reps say they had some crime problems – a break-in that affected more than a dozen storage units, plus a recent auto theft in the garage, so they wanted to give the camp a heads-up of trouble in the area.

NEXT MEETING: 2 pm Sunday, October 4th.

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