(First published on partner site West Seattle Blog)
By Tracy Record
White Center Now editor
For the first time in the pandemic, Camp Second Chance – the City of Seattle-authorized tiny-house encampment just outside North Highline – has reported COVID cases.
That was one of the updates the CSC Community Advisory Committee heard during its monthly meeting, held online this afternoon.
None of the three were seriously ill, said camp manager Scott Harris; two are a couple. and all three were quarantined at county facilities set aside for that purpose. Camp Second Chance also has another mobile vaccination clinic visiting this week, on Wednesday, with flu and Hepatitis A shots as well as COVID vaccine.
CAMP TOPLINES: Harris said 56 people are currently living at CSC (9701 Myers Way S.). August saw nine arrivals and five exits – three “abandonments” (including a mother and son who were reported to have won a casino jackpot that enabled them to get housing) and one person who transferred to another tiny-house encampment because he wasn’t getting along with people. The camp logged four 911 calls in August, three for medical reasons one call to police for a disruption involving a former resident who had to be trespassed as a result.
CAMP STAFFING: Harris also mentioned LIHI – which holds the city-funded contract to run the camp, and employs him and other paid staffers – is hiring a village organizer, a “security plus” position that is already on board at LIHI’s other tiny-house encampments. Security will be part of the VO’s job, 4-8 pm Wednesday-Sunday, but camp residents will still take turns working security as well.
CAMP MAINTENANCE: Harris is looking for a new 40′ x 60′ tarp for the kitchen structure’s roof. Also, the security shack will be leveled – it sits crookedly on its site, he explained. He’s also hoping to add one or two tiny houses to the site.
NEW CASE MANAGER: A highlight of the meeting was the update from new case manager Marjorie Johnson, the first permanent case manager hired for Camp Second Chance in many months. She said 16 of the residents are working on housing applications; she’s working with three to clear previous eviction debt so they can qualify for apartments. Four are on a list for emergency housing vouchers. One person has joined the Fare Start training program and three more are applying. Two veterans at the camp have “reconnected with the VA.” She has a new relationship with a Burien organization that’s potentially going to help with housing and jobs. In all, she said she has engaged with all but 7 of the campers so far; relationship-building has its challenges, she explained, telling a story of how she managed to bond with one camper because of her dog Diamond – “rapport is one of the #1 things in building trust with people.” All this in just one month on the job. “Marjorie rocks!” enthused Harris.
COMMITTEE MEMBERS’ CONCERNS: CAC chair Willow Fulton and member Grace Stiller both brought up the continuing issue of pedestrian dangers along Myers Way, where in some places a fence along the west side of the street forces people on foot further into the street. No city staffer was in attendance again this month, though, so they couldn’t raise the concern directly.
NEXT MEETING: A new monthly meeting date hasn’t been worked out yet so at this point they’re continuing with the first Sunday (pushed back a week this month because of Labor Day weekend), 2 pm – that means October 3rd. Connection information is in our ongoing calendar listing.