Update on previous email related to information and activation for accessible severe weather sheltering / Letter to Whatcom County officials

November 27, 2022 Dena Jensen

Sent: Sunday, November 27, 2022, 07:30:34 PM PST

Subject: Update on previous email related to information and activation for accessible severe weather sheltering

Dear Whatcom County Health Department, Whatcom County Council, and Whatcom County Executive Sidhu:

Below my signature line, I am including a copy of the email  I sent you earlier today regarding information on the County website and various social media pages related to severe weather shelters being available. 

I wanted to write again on a related matter having to do with the recording on the night by night shelter hotline, at 360-788-7983.

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Displacement creates a stronger need for increased emergency sheltering options / Letter to Bellingham and Whatcom County officials

Click the screenshot of a NEWS webpage on the website of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness to read the statement from USICH Director Olivet, “Collaborate, Don’t Criminalize: How Communities Can Effectively and Humanely Address Homelessness”

October 31, 2022 Dena Jensen

On Friday of last week, I had posted on Facebook about a recent article in Cascadia Daily News, “Bike lanes to displace homeless campers on Cornwall. At the time of my post, I was just responding to information in the article. Since that time, I have had a chance to listen to a recording of the Bellingham City Council Members’ October 24, 2022 Committee of the Whole discussion of the proposal to eliminate parking on portions of four Bellingham streets, including the section of Cornwall Avenue that is near the Bellingham waterfront.

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Services needed to address more regular occurrence of severe smoke events / Letter to Whatcom County officials

October 18, 2022 Dena Jensen

Keep sharing the things you learn and observe with our officials that will help result in more and better services for our community members who are in crisis or are in danger of being so.  

Here is an email I sent this evening to the Whatcom County Council and the County Executive:

Sent: Tuesday, October 18, 2022, 05:31:04 PM PDT

Subject: Services needed to address more regular occurrence of severe smoke events

Dear Whatcom County Council, and County Executive Sidhu:

I have been watching the rapid increase today in poor air quality due to wildfire smoke. I am including a couple screenshots. 

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Calls for action regarding 2022 plans for Whatcom County severe weather shelters / Letter to the Whatcom County Council

Click the image of a screenshot of a chart that is included in the Whatcom County Coalition to End Homelessness 2022 Annual Report to access the chart in the report on the Whatcom County website

October 14, 2022 Dena Jensen

I sent the following email to the Whatcom County Council this afternoon related to the presentation on severe weather sheltering that was given on September 27, 2022 by the Whatcom County Health Department Human Services Manager to members of the County Council’s Committee of the Whole at their meeting that day. Here is a link to a transcription of that presentation along with some highlights from it: https://noisywatersnw.com/2022/10/05/transcript-update-from-the-whatcom-county-health-department-on-severe-weather-shelter-plans-noisy-waters-northwest/

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Transcript: update from the Whatcom County Health Department on severe weather shelter plans / Noisy Waters Northwest

Click the still frame of a video recording of the 09/27/22 Whatcom County Council Committee of the Whole meeting to access the recording via the Whatcom County website

October 4, 2023 Dena Jensen

At Whatcom County Council’s September 27, 2022 Committee of the Whole Meeting, committee members received an update on severe weather shelter plans for the upcoming cold weather season from the Whatcom County Health Department’s Human Services Manager, Ann Beck. I am providing a written transcript of that presentation in this blog post.

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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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Chapter Four: The City Council Members – Whatcom Barriers to Equity, a review for 2021 candidates / Noisy Waters Northwest

October 19, 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 – Whatcom Barriers to Equity, a review for 2021 candidates

Chapter Two: City Staff and the Mayor – Whatcom Barriers to Equity, a review for 2021 candidates

Chapter Three: The Police Department – Whatcom Barriers to Equity, a review for 2021 candidates

Chapter Four: The City Council Members

[Editor’s note: all redactions in this chapter are provided by the editor in the interest of not providing specific names of private persons considered unnecessary to the integrity of this review.]

During the Bellingham City Council’s public comment period at their February 22, 2021 regular Council meeting, a community member read the demands that were current at that time, that had been posted on social media by Bellingham Occupied Protest Mutual Aid, also known as BOP Mutual Aid.

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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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