Regarding RV parking enforcement and equity in Bellingham / Letter to Bellingham City Council

March 15, 2022 Dena Jensen

Click the screenshot of text describing the IChange Justice podcast, “One Crisis Away from Homelessness” to access the description and podcast on Google Podcasts

Sent: Tuesday, March 15, 2022, 06:25:35 PM PDT

Subject: Regarding RV parking enforcement and equity in our community

Dear Bellingham City Council:

Yesterday I was able to listen to most of your March 14, 2022 Committee of the Whole meeting, and your entire discussion related to the “Update on RV’s and the 72 hour Rule.”  

First, I would like to mention the part of the committee discussion on enforcing parking code for RVs where Bellingham Police Department Lieutenant Claudia Murphy responded to Bellingham City Council Chair Hannah Stone talking about the challenge of packing up camping gear increasing in relation to how often people might have to do that. It was apparent in the discussion that most of the community members undergoing code enforcement were living in their RVs as their primary shelter. 

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No room at the inn: current homeless strategies in Whatcom County / Noisy Waters Northwest

February 13, 2022 Dena Jensen

What’s encouraging

Three years have passed since the City of Bellingham and Whatcom County governments held a joint discussion that broached the subject of advance planning for severe weather shelters without action being taken to do so. But on Tuesday, February 8, 2022, Whatcom County Council finally authorized an interlocal agreement between the two government bodies to provide winter shelters during severe weather emergencies.

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Calling for more sheltering and services and less policing / Letter to Mayor Fleetwood and the Bellingham City Council

Click the image of two unmasked security officers in black jackets walking together in downtown Bellingham’s commercial district to access the Cascadia Daily News article, “Bellingham hires security to patrol downtown”

February 3, 2022 Dena Jensen

Sent: Thursday, February 3, 2022, 01:11:02 PM PST

Subject: Calling for more sheltering and services and less policing

Dear Mayor Fleetwood and Bellingham City Council:

I don’t know what question was asked by the reporter or what the exact statement was that Mayor Fleetwood made, but the following acknowledgement of the mayor’s that was highlighted in the February 2, 2022 Cascadia Daily article,  “Bellingham hires security to patrol downtown,”

(https://www.cascadiadaily.com/news/2022/feb/02/bellingham-hires-security-to-patrol-downtown/) is a position that I imagine a lot of community members are getting a strong sense of through the supporting actions that are described throughout the article:

“Fleetwood acknowledged that part of the security team’s job is to reduce the visible population of homeless people in the city’s commercial areas.”

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COB contract with Risk Solutions Unlimited for downtown Bellingham security personnel

January 31, 2022 Dena Jensen

On Friday, January 28, 2022, I submitted a records request for the contract the City of Bellingham has entered into with Risk Solutions Unlimited related to currently providing security personnel who, the City has said, “are scheduled 24 hours a day, 7 days a week as part of an initiative to support a safe, clean, welcoming downtown.” I received a copy of the contract today, of which people can access a copy at this link: https://noisywatersnw.files.wordpress.com/2022/01/rsu_contract_-_downtown_security.pdf

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Bellingham plans for emergency winter shelters: a spring to spring timeline / Noisy Waters Northwest

January 16, 2022 Dena Jensen

March 3, 2021

In a communications document from early last year, with the header “Winter Into Spring Communications Strategy,” shared in an email by Bellingham Parks and Recreation Director Nicole Oliver, there was an outline point that stated, “Health Dept. recommends no government-run emergency winter shelters in future.”

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So far, Whatcom County winter season sheltering options are Scrooged / Noisy Waters Northwest

Click the image to access the most recent information on Lighthouse Mission Ministries’ emergency sheltering availability

December 8, 2021 Dena Jensen

At the December 2, 2021 Whatcom County Coalition to End Homelessness (WCCEH) meeting that took place over Zoom, Whatcom County Human Services Supervisor Ann Beck prefaced her update on Whatcom County winter sheltering efforts by saying it had been a bad day at work for her. She explained that would be the reason, should she tear up at any point during her presentation. Beck also shared that she was due to attend another meeting related to the heavy flooding that has displaced unprecedented numbers of people in the County.

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Homefullness in so-called Whatcom County: Can we get a witness?

Click the image of the POOR Press store webpage displaying the cover of the Homefulness Handbook for ordering a copy of the handbook. The page provides additional information about the book

November 15, 2021 Dena Jensen

Bellingham City Council held their November 15, 2021 Special Meeting – Public Comment session tonight. These sessions are not recorded. I have been trying to record each of them, myself, so I have a record of what our community members want their representatives to know. And I keep and submit a written copy of my comments via EngageBellingham, because over half of Council Members do not attend the public comment session each week that they occur, so they apparently never get to hear what has been said.

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November Bellingham events: A Homeless People’s Solution to Homelessness…/ Press release, POOR Magazine

Image – included with the press release – of mural on the side of a building displaying the word Homefulness at the top, in orange and yellow graduated tones. Images of Indigenous people, Black people, and people of color are painted below the lettering, some shown speaking, some shown with drums, some shown with masks, some hold posters. One poster says ‘We Are Not Trash – Stop Sweeping Us.’ The other poster says ‘Land Back so Houseless Indigenous Peoples Can Build Homes.’

October 25, 2021 Press release, POOR Magazine

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

A Homeless People’s Solution to Homelessness…

POOR MAGAZINE, a collective of Poor, Homeless, Indigenous, Black and Brown writers and activists, hit the road to share an innovative model to solving homelessness called Homefulness. Members of POOR Magazine will share their innovative “Homefulness Handbook,” accompanied by a series of writing/poetry workshops in encampments, community centers, schools and jails with other homeless and formerly homeless communities. Leading a tour on stolen land and hoarded resources, they share the template of Homefulness via storytelling and spoken word performance with fellow houseless and housed residents of so-called Bellingham, WA., Bend and Eugene, OR. 

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