Chapter One: The County Executive – Whatcom Barriers to Equity, a review for 2021 candidates / Noisy Waters Northwest

July 10, 2021 Dena Jensen

From Introduction – Whatcom Barriers to Equity, a review for 2021 candidates :

Materials that were responsive to a number of recent public records requests obtained from the City of Bellingham, and one request from Whatcom County, provide insights into notable communications strategies of existing City staff, the mayor’s office, and some City Council Members regarding many of the winter’s events related to homelessness. On some of these matters, communications were being coordinated between the City and County executive branches.

Based on information contained in those materials, an important question arises regarding future actions of folks newly stepping up to run, or those continuing on to serve their community in public office: will they take action to eliminate government approaches that view or portray individuals and community organizations serving people in crisis as adversaries?

Chapter One: The County Executive

July 14, 2021 Dena Jensen

After the unsheltered community members who had been camping at Bellingham City Hall were swept from the area known as Camp 210 on January 28, 2021, City of Bellingham Mayor Seth Fleetwood and Bellingham Police Chief Flo Simon held a press conference that same day. They presented their points of view regarding their actions related to the militarized sweep of around 100 unsheltered individuals and their belongings. In his statement, Mayor Fleetwood asserted, “Our civic center was becoming the target of agitators far more intent on mayhem than working toward any social good.”

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Whatcom Housing Advisory Committee gets brief presentation on sheltering recommendations / Noisy Waters Northwest

June 20, 2021 Dena Jensen

Draft minutes have been posted to the June 10, 2021 Whatcom County Housing Advisory Committee meeting on the County website. This is the Whatcom County government committee that has been given responsibility by the Whatcom County Council to oversee the carrying out of long and short term sheltering recommendations that were assembled by Health Department staff.

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Base Camp, or sweeps: City used Lighthouse Mission sheltering capacity to limit their emergency options last season

May 14, 2021 Dena Jensen

In public records obtained from the City of Bellingham, emails revealed that leading up to the 2020/2021 winter season, City Planning and Development staff told emergency winter shelter providers, with whom they had partnered the previous cold weather season, that the City would not be operating or funding such operations in the coming season.

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Take a hard look at Whatcom County’s Severe Weather Shelter history / Letter to the Homeless Strategies Workgroup

Click the graphic image presenting Recommendations for Consideration by the Homeless Strategies Workgroup discussed at their April 16, 2021 meeting to access a text version on the Whatcom County website

April 21, 2021 Dena Jensen

Below is my email, sent today, to Whatcom County’s Homeless Strategies Workgroup:

Subject: Regarding the presentation related to severe weather shelters at the April 16, 2021 Homeless Strategies Workgroup meeting

Dear Homeless Strategies Workgroup:

Near the end of the the April 16, 2021 Homeless Strategies Workgroup meeting discussion, a motion was approved by the workgroup to recommend to Whatcom County Council a recommendation from Health Department/County staff. This guidance was a short term action step to establish a data collection process to assist in ongoing analysis and planning. 

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Our community members in crisis must not be treated as expendable / Letter to the Homeless Strategies Workgroup

Click the graphic to access Whatcom County’s Homeless Strategies Workgroup meeting materials webpage

March 4, 2021 Dena Jensen

Dear Homeless Strategies Workgroup:

I really appreciate the questions and points raised in recent letters sent in by Carmen Gilmore and Arrissia Owen Turner, and I hope the workgroup will use these to help cement focus and progress on primary goals. 

I also call for one of the primary goals of this workgroup being that of addressing the needs of unsheltered community members in crisis, and feel it will become easier and quicker to make progress on this goal by staying grounded in an approach that views people falling through the cracks of existing solutions – or lack of them – as unacceptable. 

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Regarding topics from today’s 8/21/20 Homeless Strategies Workgroup meeting / Letter to Whatcom County’s Homeless Strategies Workgroup

Click the graphic image of the 8/21/2020 Homeless Strategies Workgroup meeting agenda to access the agenda, and links to other Meeting Materials on that page, for the Homeless Strategies Workgroup on the Whatcom County website

August 21, 2020 Dena Jensen

Here’s the link to access the agenda and meeting materials, for today’s August 21, 2020 Homeless Strategies Workgroup meeting: http://whatcomcounty.us/2748/Homeless-Strategies-Workgroup-Meeting-In

I was able to remotely attend the last 45 minutes. I will view the first half of the Zoom meeting after the recording gets posted. Below is my email to the HSW regarding what was discussed during the period of the meeting for which I was present. I had tried to make a public comment, but today was a technical difficulty day for me. When I was unmuted in the Zoom meeting, alas, workgroup members still couldn’t hear me.

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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

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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