Wednesday, March 7, 2012

UGM Shelter Advisory Council - Minutes - February 21st

Lake City UGM Shelter Advisory Committee
Meeting Minutes
  1. Call to order
Terry Pallas called to order the regular meeting of the Lake City Shelter Advisory Committee at 4:05pm on 2/21/2012 in the Lake City Community Center Meeting Room.
  1. Roll call
The following persons were present: 
  • Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission – Paul LaRose
  • Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission – Terry C. Pallas
  • At Large Business Member – Suzy Smith
  • Cedar Park Senior Housing Authority Group (SHAG) – Elena Earle, Jim Hicks
  • At Large Resident Member – Janet Arkills
  • At Large Resident Member – Chuck Dickey
  • Mennonite/Lake City Task Force on Homelessness (LCTF) – Sally Kinney
  • Lake City Development Council – Joe Simmons
The following persons were absent: 
  • Lake City Community Council – Cheryl Klinker 
  • At Large Business Member and Resident – Annie Stocker
  • UGM Shelter guest
  1. Approval of minutes from last meeting
Terry Pallas motioned to approve minutes, Joe Simmons seconded. Minutes from 2/7/12 were approved.
  1. SUGM Statistical Report
    • 229 registered guests to date (number represents guests who have stayed at least one night)
    • Bed nights from February 1-19:825 (36 men average, 7 women average) 
    • Meals served from February 1-19:  2186 (115 meals a day average)
    • UGM Rep. Paul shared, “In the last two weeks we have been able to assist 4 people in their pursuit of relocating back to family. These individuals have been stuck in the area and are now out of town and back in the presence of their family.” 
    • UGM Rep Terry noted the downtown UGM facility is opening an additional 32 beds in its recovery program in response to increased need (county-wide) over the last 18 months, hopes guests at LCShelter will opt into this programming.
    • SHAG Resident Jim Hicks noted that Veterans’ Affairs has inverted its policy of mandatory drug and alcohol rehabilitation before housing vouchers. Pointed out that any guests at LCShelter who are veterans should be able to access housing via the VA, given this new policy.
    • UGM Rep Paul noted he has dispersed LCShelter contact information to several Lake City businesses and received varying levels of interest.
    • Committee Member Janet asked how many calls LCShelter receives from local businesses, how are calls handled.  UGM Rep Paul said he has received a few calls per week. When he does, he sends UGM staff to engage persons. Janet asked about police involvement and Paul noted police are only involved when there is an incident onsite at LCShelter. 
      1. SHAG Resident Jim, noted he lives across the street from LCShelter, has observed increased incidents in the last three months, many that are not reported to LCShelter or to police. Cited example of 2/20/12 a group loitering and drinking by Blockbuster at 4pm, 2/21/12 group of 8-9 men in front of Sporthaus Schmetzer loitering and drinking. Stated it wouldn’t have mattered if UGM staff addressed these groups or not, believes they wouldn’t go to LCShelter because they wouldn’t be allowed to drink there.
      2. UGM Rep Paul noted police respond to reports of drinking loiterers by asking them to leave (citations not usually given).
Discussion ensued re: police handling of loiterers and its efficacy 
  • Committee Member Chuck noted group of homeless men blocking crosswalk by post office noon on (2/18/12) called police, men were back at 3:10 - called police again. Chuck noted he stopped at LCShelter at 4:10 and asked UGM staff to speak with loiterers, staff said it was not their job.  UGM Rep Paul responded he would discuss this with his staff.
  • Committee Member Janet cited similar experience with drinking/loitering on 2/11/12 with two people in front of post office, four blocking newsstands across the street from post office and three directly across from LCShelter (behind Papa Murphy’s).
    • Committee Member Chuck noted discrepancy of church involvement -  noted he does not see church involvement during the day in engaging homeless and intervening in nuisance behaviors, but does see avid homeless advocacy from churches via emails.
    • Mennonite/LCTF Rep Sally responded that churches do a lot to help people in Lake City.
    • SHAG Resident Jim noted conversations with police about inefficiencies with citations for public drinking. Is working to identify loopholes to enable police, businesses and residents to better manage nuisance situations. Suggested alternatives to the existing $27 citation that would provide more accountability, such as community service.
      1. Mennonite/LCTF Rep Sally noted that City Municipal Court has alternatives to paying citations, but doesn’t have ability to enforce this option.
    • SHAG Rep. Elena asked if LCShelter guests were involved in last week’s stabbing at 99Cent Store (across the street from LCShelter). UGM Rep Paul said he was unaware of any - no one came to speak with him or LCShelter guests regarding it.
    • Sally asked if UGM enters data into Safe Harbors. UGM Rep Terry said no, they are not required to, UGM has considered voluntary participation but not implemented it.
  1. Open Issues:
  1. UGM Rep Terry asked how UGM can help Lake City neighborhood as LCShelter closes in March. 
    1. Committee Member Joe noted that UGM’s model of service does not seem fit the needs of the service resistant homeless causing problems in Lake City. Also noted that the Mennonite/LCTF model of service has been ineffectual in addressing problem behaviors.
Discussion ensued re: UGM’s model of service versus Lake City Taskforce on Homelessness model of service
  • Mennonite/LCTF Rep Sally stated how helpful churches have been to Lake City community, noted how Melanie & Jonathon Neufeld helped place veterans into McDermott Place. Some disagreement between committee members ensued.
  1. Terry suggested UGM provide its “Morning Watch” and “Search and Rescue” programs in Lake City after LCShelter closes.  (Both programs aim to engage homeless and invite them to UGM facilities to receive services.)
  2. SHAG Resident Jim noted there was some nuisance behavior prior to LCShelter opening, but it was non-violent. Noted a “new” group of 5 or 6 violent individuals who pose danger to community. (Cited assaults in Bartell’s parking lot, at Fred Meyer, and groups of men engaged in fights.) Noted some are homeless, some are residents of McDermott Place. His concern is how to isolate these individuals who pose a threat to personal safety from those causing nuisances. 
Discussion ensued, re:“Jesse”: 
  • SHAG Resident Jim heard Jesse had been kicked out of LCShelter, asked UGM about this. 
  • UGM Rep Paul said he lives in area but has issues at home, utilized the LCShelter early on, but not lately, noted his behavior is escalating and indicated there may be mental health issues. 
  • Conversation ensued about cross-dressing homeless man who has approached SHAG residents for sex. 
  • UGM Rep Terry noted the advantage of having UGM Rep Paul available as a resource because of his relationship with homeless in the area, noted Paul will be unavailable after LCShelter closes. Recommended Morning Watch program or calling UGM’s mental health chaplaincy number to address issues.
  1. Committee Member Suzy discussed North Precinct safety meeting to address the idea that “crime doesn’t land in one lap”. Second meeting is called for 2/23/12. Invited UGM Rep Terry to come. Terry indicated UGM Rep Paul could attend.
  2. Committee Member Chuck stated his appreciation for LCShelter guests who have positive attitudes about helping with litter pick-up, contributing to community. Expressed frustration with homeless who do not work or help. Cited example of group of 8 people at Standard Station loitering & drinking.
  3. Committee Member Joe asked SHAG Rep Elena about SHAG facility, re: How are residents feeling about their security? Elena noted that building is locked down - all common areas are locked from 10pm to 8am. Noted that before LCShelter opened, SHAG regularly had homeless entering facility and sleeping in common areas. Stated the facility has not had more problems, but because lockdown and opening of LCShelter were simultaneous, it’s hard to determine cause/effect.
  4. UGM Rep Terry noted SHAG residents expressed safety concerns walking in neighborhood prior to LCShelter opening, asked if that’s changed. SHAG Rep Elena noted resident concerns are about the same, mostly because of loitering. Cited examples of loiterers congregated around post office, at Grocery Outlet, by Bartell’s and behind Papa Murphy’s. 
  5. SHAG Resident Jim described interaction with young woman in distress. Said she was afraid to go to LCShelter because of bad behavior of both male & female LCShelter guests. Jim asked about separation of men & women at LCShelter.
    1. UGM Rep Paul explained separation of men & women after 7:00pm until 6:00am (LCShelter day room is not separated). Notes there’ve been some complaints from women about men, but none this severe. UGM Rep Paul asked Jim to send her to Paul if he sees her again, noted many homeless females have inherent mistrust of males due to domestic violence issues.
Discussion ensued, re: Guest awareness of LCShelter closing. 
  • UGM Rep Terry noted it has been an ongoing conversation with guests for some time.
  1. Committee Member Janet noted the precedent of mistrust and tension established by the lack of forthright communication from UGM, the City and the Mennonite/LCTF prior to LCShelter opening. Requested UGM consider this in future dealings with Lake City or other neighborhoods.
    1. UGM Rep Terry stated that UGM wasn’t allowed to say anything to the community until Mayor McGinn put information about the LCShelter on his blog. Terry stated that UGM wanted to engage in conversations with community, but couldn’t until proposal was officially approved.
  2. Committee Member Chuck asked about the pastor’s meeting led by Clark Jennings. UGM Rep Paul noted it seemed very preliminary - sharing info about what they’re doing. Noted he broached idea of “adoption” of LCShelter guests, but has not been approached by churches for recommendations.
  3. Committee Member Suzy asked for list of what LCShelter needs. UGM Rep Terry referred her to wishlist at (type in “seattle union gospel mission”).
  4. Committee Member Janet noted quantity of empty beer cans collected directly across the street from LCShelter on 2/6/12. (Majority of cans found on east side of 30th Ave from Elliot Bay parking lot to back of 99Cent store on Penos properties.)
  1. Action Items:
  1. Adjournment
Terry Pallas adjourned the meeting at 5:10 pm. Next meeting 3/6/12.

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