Fall, wind, and rain are here; legal homeless camping or emergency shelters aren’t

Click the graphic of the agenda for the 9/25/2020 Homeless Strategies Workgroup (HSW) meeting to access the HSW meeting materials page on the Whatcom County website

September 24, 2020 Dena Jensen

Fall, wind, and rain are here. Late-November, (which is the last time severe weather shelters were offered) is two months away. At Friday’s 1:30 p.m. Homeless Strategies Workgroup meeting, 5 minutes are scheduled for discussing Winter Shelter (temporary and emergency) and 5 minutes are scheduled for discussing Encampment clean-up/sweeps. How are these critical topics not a priority topic when people who are unsheltered are in positions -right now – to have their tarps and tents either blow away or be flooded, and freezing temps are weeks away? 

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‘She comes and goes addressing the camps’: Who decides homeless camp ‘clean ups’ for the City of Bellingham? / Noisy Waters Northwest

Click the screenshot of a HomesNow. Not Later. Facebook post with text and picturing a Zoom meeting still frame of the 9/11/20 Homeless Strategies Workgroup meeting in order to access a recording of that meeting


September 12, 2020 Dena Jensen

On Friday, September 11, 2020 Whatcom County’s Homeless Strategies Workgroup (HSW) held their most recent meeting. Many critical issues were discussed and people should watch and listen to the whole meeting. Homelessness is an emergency for many members of our community.

In this blog post, however, I am providing a transcription of a discussion during the meeting, which began shortly before public comment was taken and continued throughout some of the public comments later on. The discussion focused on Bellingham Police Department (BPD) policy/procedure related to City of Bellingham unauthorized homeless “camp clean ups”, as they are referred to by COB.

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Attending sweeps of unsheltered residents during pandemic sounds alarms for better solutions / Letter to Whatcom County Council & Bellingham City Council

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Click the graphic of a portion of a recent listing of Bellingham Police Daily Activity displaying four different items regarding Illegal Camp clean ups and notifications to access this information on the COB website

July 9, 2020  Dena Jensen

Sent: Wednesday, July 8, 2020, 07:47:20 PM PDT

Subject: A call for providing funding and land for tiny home communities

Dear Whatcom County Council and Bellingham City Council:

I am writing to call on you to support the request of community members and members of HomesNOW! to act quickly to reappropriate funds from things like unauthorized tent site clean-ups toward the creation of tent, tiny home, or cottage communities.

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Markis Dee calls for COB to reallocate funds from homeless camp sweeps to sheltering people who are homeless / Noisy Waters Northwest

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Click this graphic with an image of Markis Dee looking toward the Whatcom Museum in downtown Bellingham to access his 6/21/20 video posted on his Facebook page

June 22, 2020  Dena Jensen

Markis Dee is calling on social justice advocacies to join together to take more powerful action to address crises we are facing. Along with that, he reminds us that individuals who care can demand action regarding defunding the police and he has a specific call for reallocating funds from homeless camp sweeps to sheltering.

Contact info for Bellingham City Council, ccmail@cob.org, and Whatcom County Council, council@co.whatcom.wa.us

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Drop-in Center shelter in pursuit of move; more sheltering solutions needed / Email to the Bellingham City Council and Mayor Fleetwood

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Click the screenshot of a headline, photo of the Public Market building on Cornwall Ave. in Bellingham, and small section of text to access the full June 10, 2020 Press Release on the City of Bellingham website.

June 12, 2020  Dena Jensen

Here’s a summary before I move on to the text of my email to the Bellingham City Council and Mayor Fleetwood.

A couple articles have come out recently – a commentary in Northwest Citizen, and a news story in The Bellingham Heraldabout the potential move of Lighthouse Mission Ministries’ Drop-In Center, from it’s temporary location at Bellingham High School while the school was off session due to COVID-19, to the vacant Public Market building in downtown Bellingham. The relocated Drop-In Center would conceivably remain in that building for a period of up to four years. Continue reading

Restricted brainstorming during the May 29, 2020, Whatcom County Homeless Strategies Workgroup meeting / Letter to the Homeless Strategies Workgroup

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Click the graphic of members of the Homeless Strategies Workgroup, each shown in their own video squares during a virtual meeting, to access the video recording of the May 29, 2020 Homeless Strategies Workgroup meeting on the Whatcom County website

June 1, 2020  Dena Jensen

On May 29, 2020 Whatcom County’s Homeless Strategies Workgroup held its first meeting since March, 13, 2020, shortly after Governor Inslee declared a State of Emergency regarding COVID-19. Here is a link to the meeting agenda: http://whatcomcounty.us/DocumentCenter/View/47558/Meeting-Agenda-24—2020-05-29

Below is an email I wrote to the Homeless Strategies Workgroup regarding that May 29 meeting.

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Where are our Severe Weather Shelters during nights with below-28-degree low temperatures? / Noisy Waters Northwest

Click the graphic to access Whatcom County’s webpage for Winter Emergency Shelter Options for Individuals Experiencing Homelessness

February 21, 2020  Dena Jensen

Nighttime lows in Bellingham have been under 28 degrees for the last three nights, according to the National Weather Service. Here is an email I sent to the Homeless Strategies Workgroup tonight:

Subject: Where are our Severe Weather Shelters during nights with below-28-degree low temperatures? Continue reading

Severe weather homeless strategies: picking up the pace to come from behind / Noisy Waters Northwest

Click the graphic of Bellingham City Council Member Dan Hammill wearing a gray and white plaid shirt sitting in a black chair in Bellingham City Council chambers to access video of the 8/26/19 Bellingham City Council Committee of the Whole meeting

August 30, 2019 Dena Jensen

“Okay, I’ll just take a quick point of privilege just to say that we absolutely recognize we have the need for shelter, especially – we have it all year round – but especially in the winter months. The group I believe, that Council Member Lilliquist is referring to, is the Homeless Strategies Workgroup. Council Member Barry Buchanan from the County’s side of the street organized that group. Stakeholders, several of us, attend that every two weeks. We take that issue very seriously and we want to come to a resolution on providing safe shelter for our most vulnerable neighbors. So, we absolutely take it very seriously.” – Bellingham City Council Member Dan Hammill

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County Executive takes no immediate action to provide additional shelter space under extreme weather conditions / Facebook post, Sj Robson

February 14, 2019 Sandy Robson

For almost two weeks now, advocates for unhoused people have been asking Whatcom County and City of Bellingham officials to open up additional shelter during the severe winter conditions our county has been enduring.

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ShowersNOW! by HomesNOW! / Noisy Waters Northwest

jim video shower truck

Click the graphic to access this video posted in the Homes NOW! Bellingham Facebook group about day 2 of the Shower Truck work party

May 13. 2017  Dena Jensen

Jim Peterson, president of HomesNOW!, posted another Facebook video at about noon today, Sunday, May 13. Jim has recorded what must seem like countless videos in his past busy year, steadily keeping Whatcom County informed on the many issues effecting members of our community who do not have houses.   Continue reading