Updates from Camp Second Chance, plus a look inside new tiny-house-building ‘Hope Factory’

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Camp Second Chance, West Seattle’s only city-sanctioned tiny-house encampment, remains COVID-free.

That was one of the updates heard by the camp’s Community Advisory Committee in its monthly online meeting Sunday afternoon, which also featured a look inside the new tiny-house-building site in SODO that replaced the “big tent” at Camp Second Chance where volunteers built them previously.

CAMP UPDATE: Site coordinator Eric Pattin reported 53 people are now living at CSC (9701 Myers Way S.), 14 women, 39 men. Two people exited to affordable housing and two others left; all four were replaced by new arrivals.

COVID testing was done for the encampment in December and everyone tested negative, he said. (But they haven’t yet heard anything about vaccine availability, he said in response to a later question.) Six 911 calls were made from CSC during December, mostly for “medical reasons,” he said, but he confirmed in followup questioning that one was the incident reported here three weeks ago. He said the woman arrested in that incident is one of the two people who left. The camp’s drug/alcohol-free policy is currently complicated by COVID-related eviction restrictions, Pattin also said – someone currently can’t be booted just for being under the influence. But city rep Shawn Neal said prospective residents still should be getting screened for “clean and sober” status before getting referred to CSC. He said that clarification of this will be brought up at an upcoming meeting involving camp operator LIHI and the city’s new homelessness-response HOPE Team. Committee chair Willow Fulton voiced a hope that resources are and will be available for campers working on sobriety.

COMMITTEE MEMBERS’ UPDATES: Cinda Stenger of Alki UCC and the Westside Interfaith Network reported hot Christmas breakfast was delivered to the camp along with Fauntleroy UCC, and Christmas dinner was delivered too … Judi Carr of Arrowhead Gardens reported the complex is still “closed down” and looking forward to COVID-19 vaccination, though no details have been announced … CAC chair Fulton helped deliver Christmas dinner. She showed committee member Grace Stiller‘s video tour of the HOPE Factory, the new tiny-house-building site in SODO, which is hoping to build one tiny house per week and looking for volunteer help:

(More info is here.) … Fulton also reported some “random dumping” continues on Myers Way, including piles of dirt that have turned up near Arrowhead Gardens. “It’s so disappointing to see.” … Stiller said her grant-funded weed-removal project in the camp vicinity is moving to Phase 2, though she’s not sure how many campers will be able to participate as many have outside-the-camp jobs. … Stevi Hamill from Fauntleroy UCC reported electric blankets and cleaning equipment were purchased for CSC with donated funds.

CITY UPDATES: Human Services Department rep Neal said the city has new housing/shelter options in the works, including new tiny-house villages. He said in response to a question that no locations have been chosen yet and any site selection would be preceded by community discussions.

NEXT MEETING: 2 pm February 7th, online; if you want to join the announcement list, email c2ccacchair@gmail.com.

3 Replies to "Updates from Camp Second Chance, plus a look inside new tiny-house-building 'Hope Factory'"

  • Sillygoose January 4, 2021 (2:24 pm)

    I appreciate the updates on this successful camp, I see the mention of electric blankets does that mean the houses have electrical outlets in them?

  • John Nuler January 4, 2021 (3:38 pm)

    Housing First is my mantra, so anything along those lines is needed and appreciated.  Thinking of donating my time and construction skills. I followed the links of this story, Laudable in concept, this Tiny House program is admittedly a Band-Aid triage action.  It does  little to address the homeless situation. Sound Foundation’s optimistic report, ”  Seattle City Council has approved funding for establishing the infrastructure for three additional tiny home villages (for a total of 105-150 homes) within the next six months.  Seattle City Council has also passed an ordinance (without funding) to develop up to 40 more tiny home villages.  That is between 1400-2000 new tiny homes!”Kaning County recently announced plans to buy hotels  and nursing homes.   Due to COVID, many hotels are empty  and their owners going broke, which means that it is a “buyers’ market” for the County.“The county hopes to eventually house 45%, or 2,000 people, out of its chronically homeless population of 4,500. The goal for 2021 is to create housing units for 1,500 people countywide, in former hotels and nursing homes throughout the county.” https://www.newsobserver.com/news/article248256045.htmlThe County’s program will immediately house homeless people in hotel units that are permanent and fully equipped.  All of the costly infrastructure is in place.    The Tiny Homes are designed with a 20 year lifespan (basically disposable) and rely on the City to fund costly infrastructure (sewer, hard surface runoff, electricity and water) for each new Tiny House Village.   All of this infrastructure and building material consumption (most of the Tiny House materials are not recyclable and will end up dumped in land fills) for a less than fully equipped small stand alone one-room-shack not efficient energy wise, not economical, and not  environmentally sensitive.Another issue of this particular program as noted above is their abstinence requirements (drug and alcohol) that are a eliminate many homeless for housing. Housing First is the only proven program to address the needs of those most at risk, welcoming all.

    • Willow January 5, 2021 (6:52 pm)

      I agree that housing first is the best solution – that takes time.  I think the other efforts that are being pursued are definitely needed, and am glad that the tiny house villages are helping shelter people and assist them in meeting basic human needs until the rest is ready.

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