Calling on Whatcom County officials to protect those exposed to extreme climate impacts/ Letter to Whatcom County Council and Executive Sidhu

Click the screenshot to access a Facebook post by Community to Community Development displaying a video of Skagit Farmworkers out in the pumpkin fields during smoky conditions in early September 2022

September 18, 2022 Dena Jensen

Many of our friends and neighbors are put in a position to feel they have to work, without critical protections under severely smokey or hot conditions. There are currently no sufficiently protective provisions from our local, state, and federal governments for farmworkers and certain groups of people whom we have left to live or work outside during dangerous weather conditions.

I am including below an email I sent to Whatcom County officials today to call on them to take action locally and use their influence to urge state and federal governments to take action, as well.

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Transcription of remarks about barriers to homeless sheltering and housing for veterans in Whatcom County / Letter to Whatcom County Council

Click the screenshot of a summary of the HUD VASH program for supportive services for homeless Veterans to access it on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website

August 18, 2022 Dena Jensen

Sent: Thursday, August 18, 2022, 06:32:14 PM PDT

Subject: Transcription of remarks made about barriers to homeless sheltering and housing for veterans in Whatcom County at the August 4, 2022, Whatcom County Coalition To End Homelessness (WCCEH) meeting

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Whatcom County Council Members need more education related to homeless services / Noisy Waters Northwest

Click the still frame of the recorded 8/02/22 virtual meeting of Whatcom County Council meeting as the Health Board to access that recording on the Whatcom County website

August 2, 2022 Dena Jensen

Our Whatcom County Council Members continue to need additional education and oversight on their positions regarding homeless services in Whatcom County. You can contact your Council Members with your input regarding the following information with contact information provided at the bottom of this post.

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Some relevant perspective regarding Whatcom County concerns related to 22 North / Noisy Waters Northwest

To access the full set of slides for the presentation “22 North Stabilization Progress Report,” click the image of a slide from a presentation to Whatcom County Council’s Finance and Administrative Services committee on June 21, 2022, provided by representatives of the Opportunity Council

July 13, 2022. Dena Jensen

I was not able to attend the Whatcom County Council meeting last night in order to give public comment, but I did manage to send off an email I’m including in this post, right before the meeting started.

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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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