Is a tiny-house encampment emergency shelter or housing?
That question has posed some problems for Camp Second Chance, according to discussion at this week’s monthly meeting of CSC’s Community Advisory Committee.
Camp staff said they’d been trying to kick out one person who had refused to follow requirements for staying at CSC – including chores and working with case managers – and who also had parked several derelict vehicles in and around the 9701 Myers Way South site. Two of them were towed hours before Tuesday night’s online meeting. “Four or five” others had been tagged by Parking Enforcement. The person had been the reason for three of the five 911 calls made by the camp in the past month (the other two were medical), said CSC manager Scott Harris, but he has holed up in a tiny house and refuses to leave. That’s where the question of “shelter or housing” came in – Harris said police were contending the camp was housing and so trying to remove the person would be a form of eviction. We’ve asked the city’s homelessness-response spokesperson for clarification on what tiny-house encampments are considered to be, and are still awaiting the answer.
CSC currently has 73 people – all its tiny houses are occupied, and any that become open are immediately filled. Case manager Marjorie Johnson said 17 of them are awaiting permanent housing at the buildings now owned/operated by LIHI, which also runs CSC and other tiny-house encampments. Ten are awaiting units at Dockside in Green Lake, four have applied to Boylston on Capitol Hill, and three elsewhere. Johnson hopes they will all be housed by the end of November. The day before the meeting, two people who had been at the camp since 2019 left for Dockside, and she said that was such a happy departure that she cried. She also finally has help – newly hired case manager Jenn Hunt was introduced.
Longtime CAC member Grace Stiller said her program Weed Warriors is continuing its work at the Myers Way Parcels – the city-owned land that includes CSC’s site – and again will have grant-funded stipends for campers to join in the restoration work.
The camp’s shower trailer is not yet connected to the sewer system, apparently because of a design issue with the trailer. They’re also working to get the trailer electrified, as the fire marshal frowns on the current use of propane.
NEXT MEETING: Online, 6 pm November 8th. All are welcome – this is a city-mandated forum for questions or concerns about CSC.
-Tracy Record, WSB editor
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