West Seattle, Washington
In addition to providing shelter for more than 50 people, Camp Second Chance on the city-owned Myers Way Parcels in southeast West Seattle has been contributing to other tiny-house encampments by hosting a space for building more of the small structures (after replacing all the tents at CSC, as we reported last year). The volunteer-powered operation, Sound Foundations Northwest, which sprung from the efforts of West Seattle’s Alki UCC and Fauntleroy UCC, has found a new home of its own.
Sound Foundations NW has announced a new partnership with the Low Income Housing Institute, which operates Camp Second Chance and other tiny-house encampments. A LIHI warehouse space in SODO will be the new home of the tiny-house-building operation. The announcement says, “This new partnership will help meet the demand of building several more tiny homes while getting homeless residents who are transitioning to permanent housing the essential services that have made this model a success.” No one living in a tiny-house encampment, for example, has tested positive for COVID-19, the organization says, while 440 people in other kinds of shelters have. Also, they cite a higher success rate of tiny-house encampment residents exiting into long-term or permanent housing.
Along with moving to a bigger space – 6,000 square feet, double the CSC space’s size – as of November 3rd, Sound Foundations NW is redesigning its building process to speed it up. Currently, they’ve been able to complete two tiny houses every three weeks. With an assembly-line system, Sound Foundations NW says, they could eventually build up to two a day – something they don’t believe anyone else in the country is doing. The operation is needed because while the city has supported the operation of tiny-house encampments like CSC (the only one in West Seattle), the city does not fund the tiny houses themselves – it’s all donation- and volunteer-supported, and hundreds more will be needed. (They have a fundraising campaign going to support the move.)
Once the operation is moved from what’s known as “The Big Tent” at CSC, Sound Foundations NW will donate the tent to the encampment to serve as its new community center.
The Community Advisory Committee for West Seattle’s only city-sanctioned tiny-house encampment is back to its regular first-Sunday meeting date this month, which means the Camp Second Chance CAC meets this Sunday (October 4th). It’s an online meeting, 2 pm Sunday, all welcome to bring questions/concerns. You can join via teleconference at this link, meeting ID 858 5523 4269, pw 9701. You can also use those codes if you listen by phone – 253-215-8782.
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.
#1 – The one-week-delayed (because of the holiday) Camp Second Chance Community Advisory Committee meeting is tomorrow (Sunday, September 13th), 2 pm, online. If you have questions or concerns about West Seattle’s only city-sanctioned tiny-house encampment, or if you want to hear updates firsthand, be there. Link here; password 9701; access code 858 5523 4269; or, call 253-215-8782.
#2 – No West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting this month, says WSCPC president Richard Miller, because precinct leaders are unavailable. (The meeting otherwise would be this Tuesday; instead, next meeting is October 20th.)
Just wrapped up online: The August meeting of the Community Advisory Committee for Camp Second Chance (map), West Seattle’s only city-sanctioned tiny-house encampment. No major news, but here are the toplines:
CAMP UPDATES: Site coordinator Eric Pattin said the camp has 56 residents now, 17 women, 39 men, including three new residents; one person recently exited to housing. New case manager Mario said several other residents are about to leave for housing, too. … Sound Foundations Northwest‘s tiny-house building on the site, with distancing and other health precautions, continues. The camp itself has been fully converted to tiny houses, so the newly built ones go to other encampments. … Asked if the camp has any needs, Pattin suggested wipes, disinfectant spray, and disposable masks would be helpful. He was also asked about COVID testing; still no positive tests, and no residents with symptoms, Pattin said.
COMMITTEE MEMBER UPDATES: Chair Willow Fulton said that aside from the city work next to the camp, things have been quiet.
That site is being used to filter wastewater from Seattle Public Utilities work – we inquired too after it was first brought up as a mystery last month, and the explanation from SPU was that it’s being used as a “decant” facility:
SPU Source Control conducts annual storm drainage line cleaning within the Lower Duwamish Waterway to remove accumulated pollutants from our pipes prior to these pollutants reaching the river. The work is conducted by a contractor using a vacuum-like Vactor truck and high pressure water hoses to rinse and capture materials from inside of the pipes. The material removed from these pipes is trucked to a decant facility where the solids are separated from the water used for cleaning by screening larger particles and settling out finer material.
The solid material is trucked off site for disposal at appropriate solid waste landfills and the liquids are sampled to ensure they meet allowable discharge limits, then disposed of to the sanitary sewer system.
Fulton was told it would be removed by fall, but the CAC agreed they have some environmental concerns to ask the city about … Elsewhere along Myers Way, some illegal dumping has continued and neighbors keep reporting it to the city … Committee member Grace Stiller says the project to remove noxious weeds near the camp “is going really, really well … making amazing progress.” Some wetland willows will be planted after the clearing is complete – that’s a “native butterfly plant,” Stiller said. … Aaron Garcia from the White Center Community Development Association and Judi Carr from nearby Arrowhead Gardens were in attendance too.
CITY: No city rep in attendance for a second consecutive monthly meeting.
COMMUNITY CONCERNS: An Arrowhead Gardens resident wondered how COVID prevention is going; Pattin explained their procedures, including mask-wearing. The resident also said there’s a problem with streetlight outages along Myers Way. … There was also some discussion about the lack of a safe crossing on Myers Way in the camp vicinity.
NEXT MEETING: Since the regularly scheduled “first Sunday” will be during the Labor Day weekend, the CAC might cancel or move it – that’ll be announced later this month.
Next Saturday will mark exactly 4 years since Camp Second Chance arrived on Myers Way, originally an unauthorized tent camp, eventually a city-sanctioned tiny-house village. The anniversary was mentioned briefly during this afternoon’s meeting of the CSC Community Advisory Committee. The committee usually meets on the first Sunday of the month, but pushed the date back a week because of the holiday.
CAMP UPDATE: Camp co-founder and site coordinator Eric Pattin said the camp currently has 55 residents – 37 men and 18 women; 2 people have exited to housing, and 6 new residents have moved in. Camp operator LIHI and Operation Sack Lunch is bringng hot food to the camp. … Josh Castle from LIHI said the new business tax approved by the City Council will help fund affordable housing and services. They’re advocating for budget measures next Wednesday to cover tiny-house encampments as well as permanent affordable housing. There are public-comment opportunities (online) next Monday and Wednesday. … We asked if there had been any COVID-19 cases at the camp; no, said Pattin. Everyone was tested “a month or two” back. Do new arrivals get tested before being referred? No one was certain whether that was part of the Navigation Team’s referral process; camp co-founder Eric Davis said it should be. … LIHI and Fauntleroy UCC are still talking about the official role the church will have with the camp, Castle said, since the recent change in city law means the original plan for partnership is no longer necessary to keep the camp from having to move,
CAC MEMBERS’ UPDATES: Chair Willow Fulton, who lives near the camp, reports “some activity on Myers Way” near the camp that appears to be city equipment storage on a site the size of the camp. No city rep was in attendance so no one was available to clarify; LIHI’s Castle will investigate. Meantime, she along with dumping on the east side of that street, noise, and racing problems. …Member Cinda Stenger thanked the camp for donating an oveerflow of donated men’s clothing, which she says has been given to the King County Drug Court‘s rehab program … Member Grace Stiller says the Myers Way weed-removal project is under way and “going terrifically well,” removing mostly blackberry and tansy after an online training session. The project, funded by a grant, is likely to continue through Saturdays in August.
COMMUNITY QUESTIONS/CONCERNS: In addition to the aforementioned COVID-testing discussion, there was a question about how LIHI is preparing for a possible surge in homelessness when the eviction moratorium expires. Advocating for the city to extend the moratorium, and to spend more on affordable housing, is something community members can do, Castle said. The King County Council meeting on Tuesday afternoon is another policy-advocacy opportunity, he said.
NEXT MEETING: The CAC will meet again at 2 pm Sunday, August 2nd.
The first Sunday of the month usually brings the monthly Community Advisory Committee meeting for Camp Second Chance, West Seattle’s only city-sanctioned encampment. Because of the holiday, the CAC meeting is delayed a week to next Sunday, July 12th, 2 pm. Here’s how to join:
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 858 5523 4269
By phone: 253 215 8782
Our coverage of past meetings, and the encampment itself, is archived here.
The Camp Second Chance Community Advisory Committee met this afternoon via videoconference and phone, for updates on what’s happening at the tiny-house encampment in southeast West Seattle. Here are our toplines:
CAMP UPDATE: Camp co-founder and site coordinator Eric Pattin says 53 people are living there right now – 20 women, 33 men (the village has 49 tiny houses); referrals come from the city’s Navigation Team … 2 residents have moved out to affordable permanent housing … 2 new tiny homes have been placed … No cases of COVID-19 at the camp; they’ve had one round of testing (as noted last month) so far. … Two 911 calls this month, one for a disruptive resident who wound up being transferred to the encampment at Lake Union (which has behavioral-care services on site), one for a person who was having trouble with a seizure disorder. … The camp’s been getting so much food donated, including some it can’t use (baking mixes that require oven access, for example) that they’re working to get unneeded items donated in turn to the White Center Food Bank.
CAMP OPERATOR/SPONSOR UPDATE: Josh Castle of LIHI said two more tiny houses are being finished by Sound Foundations NW and Fauntleroy UCC volunteers. They’re building 2 houses every 3 weeks for other LIHI sites. Volunteers are still able to work at the site via a separate entrance in the back. “Weather, pandemic, whatever, they’re always there,” camp co-founder Eric Davis said in appreciation. A church representative wondered if the camp needs more fire extinguishers. Pattin said they’ll discuss, though they do already have at least 15 on site, in the residential and community areas. In Q&A, it emerged that the church/LIHI paperwork has not yet been finalized due to changing city ordinances regarding encampment sponsorships. They might instead enter into a Memorandum of Understanding regarding a partnership. …LIHI will be organizing advocacy for at least two upcoming City Council meetings related to funding for homelessness response, one this week, one on June 24th.
CITY UPDATE: Shawn Neal from the Human Services Department was on the call but had no specific CSC notes.
OTHER COMMITTEE UPDATES: Chair Willow Fulton keeps watch on her Myers Way neighborhood and noted there’s an illegal-dumping site that hasn’t been addressed lately … Cinda Stenger of Alki UCC/Westside Interfaith Network says the West Seattle Helpline – with which she also volunteers – needs men’s clothing, so the camp will go though its excess donations … Aaron Garcia of White Center Community Development Association says a project with “70-80 units of affordable housing” in WC is reaching the design phase and they are launching a small community group that will be meeting multiple times during the summer… Judi Carr of Arrowhead Gardens had nothing to report as they’re “staying quarantined” at the senior-living complex that’s just a few blocks north of Camp Second Chance … Grace Stiller said that she’s hoping to work with LIHI on getting the camp involved with grant-funded Weed Warriors and is ready to start scheduling training; Castle said they’ll make it happen. “It’s a pretty exciting thing … to do this work,” he said.
The Camp Second Chance Community Advisory Committee usually meets the first Sunday of the month; its members will confer soon to decide if they want to stick with that for July 5th, or reschedule.
Everyone at Camp Second Chance – the city-sanctioned tiny-house encampment in southeast West Seattle – got tested for COVID-19 when a mobile testing team visited last week. That was part of the news at this mnnth’s meeting of the CSC Community Advisory Committee, held online this past Sunday afternoon.
Camp co-founder/site coordinator Eric Pattin said the testing van from Swedish visited on Friday, and they’re expecting results later this week. No one has been showing symptoms, he added.
In his general camp update, he said 49 people are at Camp Second Chance right now, 17 women and 32 men. 1 person moved out to permanent housing this past month.
Another milestone for the encampment was shared by reps from Fauntleroy UCC, the camp’s new sponsor: It’s taken over oversight of tiny-home building from Alki UCC, which had long been wrangling that. (CSC has a large area where volunteers have built tiny houses for other sites, too.) Otherwise, the church is still working on what kind of programming to provide, as well as still finalizing documents with LIHI, which manages CSC.
No major updates from CAC members; no one from the city participated, nor was there any community comment from non-committee members.
As for the camp’s needs, Pattin expressed gratitude for community donations and asked that no one bring clothing – they have far more than they need. Food is always welcome, though, especially cans (chili, ravioli, etc.).
The meeting only ran about 20 minutes; the CAC will continue meeting at 2 pm on first Sundays, so the next meeting will be June 7th.
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.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Pedestrian safety and coronavirus concerns were two of the topics when the Camp Second Chance Community Advisory Committee met Sunday afternoon for updates on and discussion of the city-sanctioned tiny-house encampment on Myers Way.
CAMP UPDATE: Eric Davis, camp co-founder and special projects manager for operating organization LIHI, said CSC currently has 49 people – 17 women and 32 men. This past month has seen two move into permanent housing.
As city leaders consider loosening the rules to allow more tiny-house encampments, West Seattle’s lone authorized encampment Camp Second Chance continues to do well, according to updates at its monthly Community Advisory Committee meeting on Sunday afternoon.
CAC UPDATES: A larger group than usual was present at the front of the room, and each offered an update at introduction time:
The Community Advisory Committee for Camp Second Chance usually meets the first Sunday afternoon of each month, but instead of this Sunday, the February meeting will be on the second Sunday: 2 pm February 9th, in the community room on the east side of Arrowhead Gardens (9220 2nd SW). If you have questions or concerns about West Seattle’s lone city-authorized tiny-house encampment, that’s the place to bring them. Our past coverage is archived here.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
2020 will be the fourth full year on the Myers Way Parcels for city-supported tiny-house encampment Camp Second Chance.
The year’s first monthly meeting of the CSC Community Advisory Committee happened this afternoon at Arrowhead Gardens, a few blocks north of the encampment. Here’s what happened:
CAMP UPDATES: Co-founder/site cooordinator Eric Davis said 51 people are now at the camp, occupying 45 houses with five more being replaced. No one has exited to housing this past month, but Davis said at least four people are likely to be moving out soon, as they just got vouchers. Five of the 50 tiny houses are being replaced; Davis explained that they’re the oldest ones, donated to CSC from another village, Davis said, and had mold and other safety issues.
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.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The tiny-house encampment Camp Second Chance will stay on the city-owned Myers Way Parcels at least one more year beyond the end of its current permit extension next March – with one big change:
The city will lease the land currently being used for the camp to Fauntleroy Church, which will take on the camp as what its pastor Rev. Leah Bilinski describes as a “missional outpost.”
This was announced at tonight’s public meeting about the encampment’s future, held at the city Joint Training Facility, a few blocks north of the site the camp’s been on for more than three years. (We recorded video of the meeting and will add it when it’s ready – update, both clips added inline below.)
The church and city reached a deal earlier this week – after the Fauntleroy congregation voted on Sunday to move ahead – but would not confirm it until tonight’s announcement; we had an embargoed conversation with Rev. Bilinski in advance. This had been months in the making, and the city had made no secret – as we reported back in June – that finding a faith-based sponsor would be an option. (CSC got its start at a church in unincorporated King County before moving to West Seattle in the summer of 2016.)
As explained by both the pastor and the city, the agreement is a draft right now, to be finalized within the next few months. LIHI remains the camp operator, with a contract with the city (we have a request out for the current amount of city money it receives), and “the city will continue to monitor the village for compliance and performance.” LIHI will also have an agreement with the church, spelling out who’s accountable for what in the partnership.
Speaking to the meeting tonight, Rev. Bilinski said, “We’re doing this because our faith calls us to follow Christ” – to stand with people in need, including those who are homeless, and -“we believe in the residents of Camp Second Chance … I don’t know a person who has walked into Camp Second Chance without being impressed,” and hopeful. It’s a strong community, she declared, “and we’re delighted to be a part of that.” Read More
If you’re interested in the city-sanctioned “tiny house village” encampment on the Myers Way Parcels, Camp Second Chance, tomorrow night is the first major city-convened meeting about it in more than a year. In September, the city announced it had extended the camp’s permit another 6 months; what happens after that is expected to be discussed at tomorrow’s meeting, which was announced a month ago. It’s happening 6:30-8 pm Thursday (November 21st) at the Joint Training Facility (9401 Myers Way S.), a few blocks north of Camp Second Chance, which has been on Myers Way almost three and a half years. As of the most-recent Community Advisory Committee meeting, 33 men and 17 women were living at CSC.
Short meeting this afternoon for the Camp Second Chance Community Advisory Committee – two members were there, along with, one camp rep, three community members (including John Walling, who records all the meetings on audio). The designated city rep was ill but sent committee chair Willow Fulton a reminder of the November 21st meeting the city is convening to discuss the camp’s future.
CSC site manager/co-founder Eric Davis brought an update on the camp status: 50 residents, down 5 from last month, 33 men and 17 women. Three people “transferred” (to different tiny-house villages in the city), he said, and two left to reunite with their families. He said the camp had one 911 call this past month, for “a medical issue” (records show that was on October 27th, while there was one call from outside the gate on October 13th). No one was “permanently barred” for violations during October.
Asked whether the impending closure of a tiny-house village in Northlake will affect CSC, Davis said they would probably take in “five or six” people to help ensure no one winds up on the street.
In community updates, Fulton also mentioned the kitchen project at the camp, as well as fast city response to illegal dumping at other sites along Myers Way … Committee member Cinda Stenger from Sound Foundations NW said the nonprofit is undergoing a leadership transition but has money available to build more tiny houses where/when needed. … Davis was asked what the camp needs and he says the community’s been very generous but if you are wanting to help, hand warmers, blankets, and canned goods are always useful.
AUDIO: You can listen to the meeting recording here:
WHAT’S NEXT: The city meeting about CSC is at 6:30 pm Thursday, Nov. 21, at the Joint Training Facility (9401 Myers Way S.) … the next Community Advisory Committee meeting is at 2 pm Sunday, December 1st, in the community room at Arrowhead Gardens (9200 2nd SW).
The city’s long-promised meeting about Camp Second Chance‘s future has finally been announced: 6:30 pm Thursday, November 21st, at the Joint Training Facility (9401 Myers Way S.), a short distance north of the encampment. CSC is now in its fourth year on the city-owned Myers Way Parcels. In September, shortly after announcing another six-month extension for its permit to be there, the city said that if they don’t reach an agreement with a potential “faith-based sponsor,” they’ll start planning to dismantle the camp. But in the meantime, there’s also a city proposal to dramatically increase the number of this type of “tiny-house village” encampments citywide. CSC started with tents, but with donated materials and labor, its dwellings were all converted to “tiny houses.” As of last month, 55 people were living at CSC.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The city permit for sanctioned West Seattle encampment Camp Second Chance has been extended six more months, to March 2020.
The city quietly announced in an online update Friday afternoon. We learned about it today at the start of the monthly C2C Community Advisory Committee meeting.
Lisa Gustaveson from the city Human Services Department was at the meeting to elaborate. The city is still talking with a possible faith-based “sponsor” for the camp, she said (as also mentioned in the city-website post) but if that doesn’t come through, the city will start moving to dismantle the camp: “We would work very closely to find places for every person to go to … to find permanent housing or be referred to another program that works for them.”
Tom Van Bronkhorst of the city Department of Neighborhoods said the city is working toward an October community meeting at the Joint Training Facility, which is just north of the camp, to talk about C2C’s future.
When the Community Advisory Committee for city-sanctioned West Seattle encampment Camp Second Chance met earlier this month (WSB coverage here), they expected the city would call a wider community meeting about C2C’s future, so they canceled the September committee meeting. But now it’s back on – a week later than usual – because the city so far hasn’t organized a wider community meeting. So the CAC meeting (usually on 1st Sundays, but that falls during the holiday weekend) is set for 2 pm Saturday, September 7th, with this focus: “This month we will have representatives present from the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods and the Human Services Department providing a status on the permit for Camp Second Chance.” (Its previously announced six-month extension is about to expire.) The committee will meet in the usual location, the Arrowhead Gardens (9200 2nd SW) community room, all welcome.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
On the way to today’s Camp Second Chance Community Advisory Committee, we were in an Arrowhead Gardens elevator with former camp resident Zsa Zsa, who remarked that she’d just visited C2C and noticed a lot of new faces – because others had exited to housing, as had she.
How many? At the meeting, the city-sanctioned camp’s manager/co-founder Eric Davis announced the latest numbers:
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The east side of Myers Way is being resettled by unauthorized campers, for the first time since last fall’s major sweep, the Camp Second Chance Community Advisory Committee heard today.
While that side of Myers Way is not part of the camp, nor is it an official part of the CAC’s scope, it’s a frequent topic at the committee meetings.
Chair Willow Fulton, who lives near C2C, was first to mention it during the Sunday afternoon meeting.