Sunday, March 4, 2012

LC Shelter_Meeting Minutes from 02/07/12

The UGM LC Shelter Advisory Council is meeting every other week now. Below are minutes from early February.

Of note:

Bank of America confirmed that they hired a security guard 2 weeks after the UGM shelter opened due to panhandling and loitering around their ATMs. 

The One Night Count in Lake City counted 14 people in the Lake City area (145th to 95th / 15th to the Lake ) sleeping in cars or outside. To put this in context, there were 1,898 total unsheltered homeless counted that night in the City of Seattle. The count last year in Lake City was 22.

The shelter guests want to help with clean ups and were disappointed when a weekly walk was canceled. 

Jonathan Neufeld answered a question about the function of the Valor Apartments that he is working with Community Psychiatric Clinic on. The Mennonites are selling the property that God's Little Acre is on for CPC to put in a 21 unit apartment with psych services for vets with dual diagnosis ( addiction and mental problems ). The early design guidance for this project happened last Monday, February 27th. DPD gave less than 3 weeks notice on their site. 

A UGM rep mentions in the minutes that some of the shelter guests "hang out" at the drug house on 25th and 127th.

See comments in red below regarding responses to the question of dealing with "service resistant" individuals.

Lake City UGM Shelter Advisory Committee
Meeting Minutes
  1. Call to order
Paul LaRose called to order the regular meeting of the Lake City Shelter Advisory Committee at 4:04pm on 2/7/2012 in the Lake City Community Center Meeting Room.
  1. Roll call
The following persons were present: 
  • Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission – Paul LaRose
  • At Large Business Member – Suzy Smith
  • Cedar Park Senior Housing Authority Group (SHAG) – Elena Earle
  • At Large Resident Member – Janet Arkills
  • At Large Resident Member – Chuck Dickey
  • Mennonite/Lake City Task Force on Homelessness (LCTF) – Jonathon Neufeld
  • At Large Business Member and Resident – Annie Stocker
The following persons were absent: 
  • Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission – Terry C. Pallas 
  • Lake City Community Council – Cheryl Klinker 
  • Lake City Development Council – Joe Simmons
  • UGM Shelter guest
  1. Approval of minutes from last meeting
Chuck Dickey motioned to approve minutes, Elena Earle seconded. Minutes from 1/24/12 were approved.
  1. SUGM Statistical Report
    • 207 registered guests to date (number represents guests who have stayed at least one night)
    • Bed nights from January 2012 1770 (47 men average, 11 women average) 
    • Meals served from Jan. 10th- Jan. 22nd is 4509 (146 meals a day average)
    • No new sign-ups for recovery program (2 to date)
    • UGM Rep. Paul shared a quote from LCShelter Guest Bruce: “From day 1 I started downtown, but was able to return to Lake City. That was my only option. I find myself having the possibility of being employed and the LCShelter has helped me in a very significant way. I depend on the good meals and a place to sleep. I see people needing help getting on their feet and joining the program SUGM offers.”
Discussion ensued re: Recidivism rate of homeless & how it’s tracked.  UGM Rep Paul and Mennonite/LCTF Rep Jonathon noted statistics are available nationally, but not locally. Jonathon noted it is unusual for first-time homeless to utilize shelter services.
    • UGM Rep Paul shared that Officer Kip Strong told the Lake City Development meeting on 1/25/12 that he has not seen an increase in criminal activity in Lake City since the LCShelter opened. 
    • Committee Member Suzy noted that while there may not be an increase in criminal activity, there has been an increase in nuisance behaviors, to the point that local businesses are hiring security. UGM Paul LaRose requested meeting minutes note that Lake City businesses are having to hire security.
    • One Night Count results for Lake City for 1/27/12 were 14. Mennonite/LCTF Rep Jonathon noted the previous year’s count was in the 20’s. UGM Rep Paul noted 54 were in LCShelter that night.
  1. Open Issues:
  1. Dispersing LCShelter contact info - LC Chamber of Commerce unresponsive. Advisory Committee agreed to table contacting Chamber for assistance.
    1. Committee Member Suzy requested that businesses experiencing ongoing nuisance behaviors be individually contacted by UGM representative. 
    2. UGM Rep Paul stated he will instruct UGM Staff to distribute LCShelter contact info, (noted arrival of new intern at LCShelter helpful in relieving staff to achieve such tasks), asked which areas to target. 
    3. Advisory Committee members agreed Bartell complex, Grocery Outlet complex, both sides of Lake City Way between 120th & 130th should be contacted.
    4. Committee Member Janet requested Bank of America and Lake City Library be included as well. Noted conversation with Bank of America manager who stated BofA had to hire a security guard 6 weeks ago to deal with panhandling/loitering issues near ATMs and outlets on northwest side of building.
  2. Mennonite/LCTF safety patrol - None last week. Committee Member Chuck requested litter patrol bags be sorted, (recyclables separate from garbage) and returned to him for counting. Mennonite/LCTF Rep Jonathon noted future litter pick ups will concentrate on Lake City Way, unless otherwise requested.
  3. UGM Rep Paul asked what the perception of garbage in Lake City area is since LCShelter opened. 
    1. Committee Member Suzy noted overflowing canisters, business owners having to clean up storefronts upon arrival at their storefronts. 
    2. Committee Member Janet noted she sees more garbage on daily walks through LC core than during summer. 
    3. UGM Rep Paul noted that the Thurs. garbage patrol was missed last week, asked if there could be a make-up litter patrol if Thurs. patrol is missed. 
    4. Mennonite/LCTF Rep Jonathon amenable to leading make-up litter patrols dependent on his schedule.  
    5. UGM Rep Paul noted several LCShelter guests expressed disappointment over canceled litter patrol because they enjoy receiving incentive cash cards for participation.
    6. Committee Member Chuck noted he leads a Lake City litter patrol with Community Court workers on Wednesdays, requested litter pick-up scheduling not overlap with that.
  4. Network of Churches - 
    1. Mennonite/LCTF Rep Jonathon noted involvement of local churches with homeless. Cited Lake City Baptist Church offering spa days for homeless women and Boundless Grace Ministries offering Bible studies.
Discussion ensued, re: Update on Niko.
  • Mennonite/LCTF Rep Jonathon stated that Niko is progressing on paperwork/returning to Fiji; Niko’s family and church pastor involved.
  • Mennonite/LCTF Rep Jonathon noted that Niko’s friend Ken, is submitting application to Westgate Chapel recovery program in Edmonds. 
  • Committee Member Janet asked how Westgate recovery program is different than UGM’s recovery program, since UGM’s program is available.
  • UGM Rep Paul noted that people either like or dislike UGM’s recovery program; can be selective in choosing a recovery program to suit them.
    1. Committee Member Janet asked Mennonite/LCTF Rep Jonathon about construction of Valour Apartments (Community Psychiatric Clinic is purchasing two properties from Seattle Mennonite Church to build housing for veterans, to be opened in 2013, 12517 and 12513 33rd Ave. NE). Janet asked if that housing will absorb any of the people left when LCShelter closes.
      1. Mennonite/LCTF Rep Jonathon stated Valour Apartments is specifically for particpants in Community Psychiatric Clinic’s THRIVE program (THRIVE serves veterans with a background of mental health and addiction issues). 
      2. Mennonite/LCTF Rep Jonathon stated he is unaware of any homeless in Lake City who participate in THRIVE program, noted he’s made many referrals but no one has stuck with programming.
    2. UGM Rep Paul stated One Life Church is planning a dinner for LCShelter in March.
    3. Clark Jennings is hosting a pastors’ meeting at LCShelter on 2/8/12. UGM Rep Paul and 10 other pastors will attend. Paul stated he will broach idea of churches sponsoring individuals (as LCShelter closes) at this meeting.
    4. UGM Rep Paul noted Hunger Prevention will provide lunches for LCShelter on Tuesdays and Fridays.
  1. Drunken/loitering issues. 
    1. Committee Member Suzy reported Seattle Police had detained two homeless on hood of police car on her way to Advisory Committee meeting. 
    2. UGM Rep Paul reported Ace Hardware called & requested LCShelter send staff member to deal with loiterers, loiterers had already dispersed when UGM staff arrived. Paul asked if there are any other “hotspots”, noted new addition of UGM intern frees up staff time to deal with these issues.
    3. Committee Member Suzy noted Chevron.
    4. SHAG/Cedar Park Rep Elena noted Laudromat (by 99 store)
    5. Committee Member Janet noted Post Office
    6. Committee Member Annie noted group of homeless loitering on south side of Elliot Bay Brewery construction fence and littering.
    7. Mennonite/LCTF Rep Jonathon noted ramp behind Value Village, indicated that Seattle police visit that area 2 or 3 times a day.
    8. Committee Member Chuck reported woman by bus stop by Bartells with bags looked like she was going to camp there. Said he’d never seen her before.
    9. Committee Member Annie noted activity on 25th where there’s a known drug house with prostitution (police are pursuing civil abatement of property).
Discussion ensued re: Activity at drug house on 25th 
  • UGM Rep Paul noted he’s aware of drug house, Committee Member Annie asked how he is hearing about it. 
  • UGM Rep Paul stated several LCShelter guests have mentioned the house; some who “hang out” at the house, and others who would like to see activities at house stopped.
  • Mennonite/LCTF Rep Jonathon stated he knows several people who’ve stayed at the house, indicated he just helped a woman move out of that house and into McDermott Place. 
  • General consensus on detrimental effects of house on surrounding area.
Discussion ensued, re: Homeless encampments on 5th & 12th at 145th.  
  • Committee Member Chuck noted he regularly sees homeless walking from encampments on 145th towards LCShelter/Lake City Way (past Olympic Hills Elementary) and vice versa. Noted there’s a lot of people encamped there, many he’s never seen before. 
  • Mennonite/LCTF Rep Jonathon noted size of encampment determines whether city will provide resources (case managers from Reach program) if encampments are reported.
  • UGM Rep Paul stated he would send UGM Staff Member Alex to these encampment areas to introduce himself. Jonathon suggested Alex bring CJ or someone with “street cred” to help with introductions.
Discussion ensued, re: Is City of Seattle aware and does City have plan for dealing with different types of homeless (“service resistant” versus “service accepting”)
  • UGM Rep Paul noted city is aware and Seattle offers many programs for homeless. 
  • Group discussed rights of homeless to choose homelessness, rights of residents affected by nuisance behaviors, lack of legislation to deal with chronic inebriety, etc.
Discussion ensued, re: Housing & homelessness
  • Mennonite/LCTF Rep Jonathon postulated that homelessness can be solved with radical housing options, “political will”, public generosity, and use of “harm reduction” models. Cited example of City of Seattle building McDermott Place to house chronically homeless veterans. Theorized that publicly funded housing sets people up for success and saves taxpayers money.
  • Committee Member Janet noted that housing still brings issues and costs taxpayers.  Cited hidden costs of McDermott Place, including: residents who frequent nearby Chevron station for alcohol consumption, police involvement with inebriety issues, and effects of inebriety on businesses and neighbors.
  1. Survey of Lake City neighborhood. UGM Rep Paul requested discussion be tabled until UGM Rep Terry Pallas is in attendance. Noted complexity of survey, potential for contention and division. Committee Member Chuck noted that a thorough survey would take 6 months to a 1 year to conduct. Several committee members agreed survey was not viable idea.
  2. Survey of LCShelter guests. UGM Rep Paul stated UGM will conduct internal survey of LCShelter guests. Stated that survey would be used internally for UGM data gathering and would not be used externally to advocate for extension of shelter in the Lake City area.  Several Committee Members requested survey results be shared with Advisory Committee and Paul agreed. 
  3. Newsletter. UGM Rep Paul stated LCShelter newsletter is in progress, noted LCShelter guests don’t like telling their stories, indicated newsletter will be used internally, not externally.
    • Committee Member Suzy suggested adding a section to UGM survey so respondents can indicate how Advisory Committee can provide support as LCShelter closes.
  1. Action Items:
  1. (UGM Staff) Will distribute LCShelter contact info as discussed.
  2. (Jonathon/Chuck) Will coordinate scheduling of litter patrols.
  3. (Paul) Will survey LCShelter guests and share survey results with Advisory Committee.
  1. Adjournment
Paul LaRose adjourned the meeting at 5:03 pm. Next meeting 2/21/12.

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