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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Letter to Whatcom County’s Homeless Strategies Workgroup RE people being turned away from shelter during hostile weather / Noisy Waters Northwest

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Click the graphic to access the Meeting Information page for the Homeless Strategies Workgroup on the Whatcom County website

February 14, 2020  Dena Jensen

Here is the email I sent this evening to Whatcom County’s Homeless Strategies Workgroup:

Subject: Regarding 1. make-up of HSW membership 2. People being turned away from shelter during hostile weather

Dear Homeless Strategies Workgroup:

I listened to the February 14, 2020 Homeless Strategies Workgroup (HSW) meeting and wanted to offer some thoughts on a couple of issues that came up during the meeting. During one portion of the meeting there was discussion about adding additional members to the workgroup. There had been a suggestion that possibly DVSAS should have a designated position on the workgroup. And then it was suggested that category be more broad, so as to not single out one particular organization but to represent the type of population they serve. 

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Whatcom County Severe Weather Shelters will open starting Sunday night, January 12, 2020 / Noisy Waters Northwest

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Click the graphic to access Whatcom County’s Winter Emergency Shelter Options page

January 10, 2020  Dena Jensen

Emergency Winter Shelter Hotline: (360) 788-7983

The big storm that weather services have been predicting for the last couple weeks is here.  People without shelter will be getting soaked, with extremely chilling temperatures closing in during the weekend. Whatcom County has posted Severe Weather Shelter openings starting Sunday night when lows are predicted to be 18 degrees according to the National Weather Service forecast specifically for Bellingham.

At this point, Whatcom County has said shelters will be open until Wednesday and that,
“The need for severe weather shelters to operate after Wednesday night will be reevaluated as forecasts are updated next week.”

Note that two shelters will be open January 12, at Garden St. United Methodist Church, serving families with children, and at Christ the King Church serving adult men. Seventh Day Adventist Church will open their shelter on Monday January 13 and it is projected to remain open until January 15, serving adults. Fountain Community Church, serving adults, will open on Wednesday January 15.  Continue reading

Letter to the Whatcom County Homeless Strategies Workgroup RE the scarcity of access to severe weather shelters / Noisy Waters Northwest

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Click the graphic to access the Homeless Strategies Workgroup Meeting Information page on the Whatcom County website

January 8, 2020  Dena Jensen

To: Barry Buchanan <bbuchana@co.whatcom.wa.us>; Michael W. Lilliquist <mlilliquist@cob.org>; Daniel C. Hammill <dchammill@cob.org>; Ann Beck <abeck@co.whatcom.wa.us>; michael_parker@whatcomhsc.org <michael_parker@whatcomhsc.org>; Carol Frazey <cfrazey@co.whatcom.wa.us>; Michael Shepard <michaels@portofbellingham.com>; Mike Hilley <mhilley@co.whatcom.wa.us>; Cathy Halka <chalka@co.whatcom.wa.us>; Tyler Schroeder <tschroed@co.whatcom.wa.us>; rileysweeney@cityofferndale.org <rileysweeney@cityofferndale.org>

Cc: mayorsoffice@cob.org <mayorsoffice@cob.org>; Satpal Sidhu <ssidhu@co.whatcom.wa.us>; hahuthman@cob.org <hahuthman@cob.org>; laanderson@cob.org <laanderson@cob.org>; hestone@cob.org <hestone@cob.org>; Pinky T. Vargas <ptmvargas@cob.org>; Gene R. Knutson <gknutson@cob.org>

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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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Jim Peterson is stoked: Winter Haven is a go! / Facebook post, Noisy Waters Northwest

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Click the graphic to access this video in the Homes NOW! Bellingham Facebook group

November 3, 2018  Dena Jensen (Thanks to Jim Peterson’s video)

Jim Peterson of HomesNOW! Not Later. is stoked!:

“Winter Haven, our temporary emergency encampment for the winter, is a go. We got a green light today. We met with the City. We don’t have a site yet, but there will be a site…Not this coming Monday, but two weeks from this coming Monday, the site will be announced publicly.

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