Tuesday, January 3, 2012

LC Shelter - Meeting Minutes from 12/13/11

Lake City UGM Shelter Advisory Committee
Meeting Minutes
  1. Call to order
Terry C. Pallas called to order the regular meeting of the Lake City Shelter Advisory Committee at 4:09pm on 12/13/2011 in the Lake City Community Center Meeting Room.
  1. Roll call
The following persons were present: 
  • Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission – Terry C. Pallas 
  • Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission – Paul LaRose
  • Cedar Park – Elena Earle
  • Lake City Task Force on Homelessness – Melanie Neufeld 
  • At Large Business Member and Resident – Annie Stocker
  • At Large Resident Member – Janet Arkills
  • At Large Resident Member – Chuck Dickey
The following persons were absent: 
  • Lake City Development Council – Joe Simmons
  • At Large Business Member – Suzy Smith
  • North Council – Cheryl Klinker 
  • UGM Shelter guest - (not yet determined)
  1. Approval of minutes from last meeting
UGM clarified a specific format they require for reporting minutes. Discussion ensued regarding what should be included in minutes:  Committee members Chuck, Elena and Janet expressed their understanding that meeting is to report problems and work on solutions, Janet requested that minutes specifically record what is discussed in the meeting. UGM representative Terry requested that resident testimonials be included for the purpose of conveying life-changing events; stated UGM will continue to include statistics of services offered. 
Minutes from 12/6/11 were approved.
  1. SUGM Statistical Report
    • 88 registered guests to date, UGM reports 90% are local. UGM noted it is difficult to determine exact geographical ID, defines “local” as anyone in the area prior to the shelter opening, with input from other homeless in determining this.
    • Committee Member Elena questioned these numbers, said she doesn’t see many folks being served at the shelter. UGM reiterated statistics and noted their open door policy so neighbors can come see guests who may not be visible from windows.
    • UGM reported 10% of shelter guests are transient with various methods of arrival (word of mouth, etc.). Committee Member Annie shared about a local resident referring a hospital patient to LC shelter from NW Hospital. Committee Member Melanie shared that LC Taskforce on Homeless is also referring people to LC shelter.
    • UGM Representative Terry reported 1,003 meals served from Dec. 1 - Dec. 12
(84 meals/day average), 
    • UGM Representative Terry reported 364 bed nights from Dec. 1 - Dec. 12: 298 men, 66 women (25 men, 5 women per night average).
    • Concern expressed that numbers will affect decision about long-term shelter. UGM responded that they do not have a say in the City of Seattle’s decision-making process regarding long-term development of site.
    • UGM Representative Terry shared a quote from LCS staff member: “A male guest that was able to get a job while staying at the Lake City Shelter. He works every day as a bell ringer for the Salvation Army. While he stays at the LCS his is saving money to get an apartment. He has been very respectful and appreciative for the services offered.” 
    • Committee Member Janet asked how many LCS guests have enrolled in recovery programming. UGM responded that no male residents have registered for recovery programs yet, suggested it is too early to record success of recovery program entrance as it will take time to build needed trust with guests.  UGM indicated several women have been referred to (Hope Place Women and Children’s Shelter), including one with four children.  
    • Committee Member Chuck questioned UGM on support policies for guests seeking work or housing. UGM Representative Paul clarified LCS does not provide money for residents seeking housing, but can provide referrals to other resources, including bus tickets for guests to use.
  1. Open Issues
  1. Status update regarding memorial. NW corner of Bartell’s parking lot. Douglas Park Co-op reports picking up trash and beer cans weekly. Memorial there since August, Committee Member Melanie noted Women in Black program and possibility of implementing sidewalk memorial there. Committee Member Annie has seen patrol cars parked there.
Group clarified that memorial itself not the issue - area has ongoing loitering and drunkenness, even before memorial in August. UGM Representative Terry asked what could be done about loitering. Unresolved question about whether loitering needs to be tolerated until relationships are built and UGM staff can influence shift in guest behavior. 
  1. Status update for safety patrol. Committee Member Melanie reported that she has safety walk planned for 12/14/11. A few shelter guests will join and possibly a few from LC Taskforce for Homeless’ network. Melanie indicated they will try to continue this on some type of regular basis.
  1. Status update for litter clean-up crews. Committee Member Chuck has been coordinating this and indicated 9 LCS guests have signed up to help.
  1. Opportunities for LCS guests to participate in community efforts. 
Committee Member Janet reported that Zoe Jenkins, principal of Olympic Hills Elementary, would appreciate assistance with litter pick-up and/or garden work on weekends. Any plans must be scheduled directly with Ms. Jenkins.
  1. New Business:
  1. Committee Member Chuck reported drunken shelter guest in front of Papa Murphy’s Pizza. Asked how to break up groups loitering and drinking. Group discussed issue of loitering -  
Summary: Issue is about how guests spend their time. Committee Member Janet asked what the expectations of shelter guests are.  UGM Representative Paul responded that shelter guests are to clear cot area in morning, keep facility clean. UGM provides TV black-out times to prevent guests from watching TV all day. TV off from 9:00am-12:00pm and guests encouraged to go outside when weather is sunny.  Paul clarified UGM does not “contain” residents, they are free to come and go unless they exhibit behavior that bars them from shelter; UGM cannot force guests to participate in programs. Continued discussion regarding whether nuisance behavior should be tolerated until there is time to develop relationships with guests to influence shift in their behavior.
Committee Member Melanie noted that some communities deal with this by providing public drinking areas to give homeless an area where they have permission to drink, keeping them inebriated enough to avoid withdrawal behaviors.
  1. LC Library staff indicate no new problems since shelter opening. (Heavy computer & library usage was issue for library with past Nickelsville encampment.)
  2. Committee member Chuck reported drug use behind Grocery Outlet - younger persons, probably not shelter residents.
  3. Committee member Annie reported positive influence of neighborhood groups organizing their own safety/litter walks. Indicated that communicating effectively between groups will help gather and disseminate info.
  4. Committee member Elena reported loitering shelter guests. Laundromat owner had to intervene in fight outside Laundromat between two shelter guests. UGM responded that when problems occur, please contact UGM directly with guest names. UGM has discretionary services they can use to help shift guest behavior, such as not giving bus tickets to shelter residents who’ve caused problems in the community.
Several Committee Members responded that finding out guest names is difficult and not their responsibility. UGM Representative Paul stated that names make it easier for him to hold guests accountable. Identifying information, such as description of clothing or shoes would also be helpful.
  1. Committee Member Janet reported overzealous UGM canvassing. Her spouse reported being approached by UGM vehicle and offered “a ride somewhere or a free breakfast” 200 yds from home on his way to a commuter bus line.
  2. Neighbor reported 3 drunk shelter guests on commuter bus from Univ. Dist. lost on their way back to shelter.  UGM responded they do not turn anyone away, but do evaluate intoxicated guests for the safety of the community, referring them to detox services. If guest refuses referral, they are given blanket and food and refused entry to shelter. 
  1. Action Items:
  1. (Janet) Will give Paul contact information for Olympic Hills Elementary principal so he can pursue community service opportunities there.
  2. (Melanie) Will conduct safety walk 12/14/11 and report back to group.
  3. (Chuck & Melanie) Will coordinate garbage pick-up and report back to group.
  1. Adjournment
Terry C. Pallas adjourned the meeting at 5:16pm.

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