February 18, 2021 Dena Jensen
Whatcom County Homeless Strategies Workgroup meets tomorrow, Friday, February 19, 2021, 1:30-3:00 p.m. Here is the Zoom link: https://zoom.us/j/91936129280?pwd=QmZYaVdFMm1SZW5hcmpBdHcyVHkxQT09
Things to note:
Public comment is scheduled at 2:40 p.m. and it is now being stressed that the comment period “will be no longer than 20 minutes.” So folks that have their comments written up may want to send their comments to firstname.lastname@example.org in case a lot of speakers have raised their hands and time runs out. Written comments will be forwarded to workgroup members and will be entered into the public record.
A large section of the meeting this week (while it is still winter and there are no emergency winter shelters available) is again being devoted to discussing the scope and purpose of the workgroup, this time apparently focusing on what long and short term goals the group wants to focus on, even though in the draft summary of the last HSW meeting it was recorded that
“Anne Deacon reviewed overarching ideas the HSW wants to look at
– More tiny homes (short term)
– Specialty shelters (long term)
– Interim housing for families with children (long-term)
– Communications (short term)
– Health and medical issues (short term)
– More qualitative data to determine how to move forward. Also look at Point-In-Time count.”
Meanwhile, one of the other things discussed at the last meeting was “community healing that needs to happen as a result of the Camp 210 event.” However, during the interim, Ms. Deacon, and fellow HSW member Guy Occhiogrosso have been casting aspersions on the efforts of community volunteers and advocates at Camp 210. (Here’s a link to their recent appearance on KGMI, https://kgmi.com/podcasts/whatcom-report-feb-14-2021/?fbclid=IwAR3fmRO67LWKDIVj0M1YC2-0M1XfvtDUzNIl-mQKTIRA2Rv6jrWkUsU5rh0 ) Mayor Fleetwood appeared on the show, as well and did not dispute the portrayals by Ms. Deacon and Mr. Occhiogrosso.
It will be good for folks to weigh in with their ideas on community-driven solutions to provide prompt, ample, and diverse sheltering options for our friends and neighbors who have been left with no choice other than to sleep outside tonight and the other winter nights to come, and which can “help heal the community.”
Here is a link to the HSW meeting materials page: https://www.whatcomcounty.us/2748/Homeless-Strategies-Workgroup-Meeting-In