Patacara Community Services is honored to announce that the nonprofit will be contracting with the City of Seattle to manage Camp Second Chance, a clean and sober encampment for unhoused neighbors located at 9701 Myers Way S. Seattle, WA 98108. Patacara has been the fiscal sponsor for Camp Second Chance since June of 2016.

“The city contract will allow us to improve camp services, and also expand the number of camp residents from 25 to 60,” says Polly Trout, Founder and Director of Patacara. “Our primary goals are to provide a safe, healthy, supportive community for people experiencing the trauma of homelessness and to move people as quickly as possible into suitable indoor housing.” The city contract will allow the camp to add garbage service, water service, city electricity, case management, and client assistance.

The camp would like to thank their neighbors in Top Hat, White Center, South Park, Highland Park, and South Delridge for their compassion and neighborliness. “We are looking forward to continuing to be good neighbors here,” says Eric Davis, Camp Site Coordinator. “We are committed to doing our part to reduce litter and crime and to provide kindness and care to those who are in need.” Patacara working with the Department of Neighborhoods to establish a Community Advisory Committee representing community stakeholders. The committee meetings will be public and the meeting minutes will be posted online.

George Scarola, The City of Seattle’s Director of Homelessness, says: “Patacara has built a strong program at Camp Second Chance. I’m looking forward to working closely with Patacara to help more people experiencing homelessness secure stable housing.”

The city contract will work on a reimbursement basis, which means that Patacara will need to raise $30,000 in seed money by March 1 in order to ensure good cash flow for the project. So far, private donors have invested $14,000.

Patacara Community Services is a 501(c)3 nonprofit. Our mission is to offer compassionate service to those who are suffering. Currently, our programming focuses on providing compassionate service to our unhoused neighbors in King County.

Camp Second Chance is now located at 9701 Myers Way S. Seattle, WA 98108. This is unused City of Seattle property, on what is known as the Myers Parcels. The camp is not permitted, but we are hoping to move it back to a permitted site asap. If your group has a site to donate let us know! This is an outstanding group of people and the camp is sober, clean, safe, and ethical. While we continue to search for a permitted site we are asking the city to refrain from sweeping the site. Please contact your city councilperson and ask them to stop ALL sweeps until every person has a safe and legal place to sleep.

Last Monday, July 18, was the camp’s final day at Riverton Park United Methodist. The camp moved to 9502 Myers Way S. thinking that this site was part of the Myers Parcels, but it turns out that it was privately owned. It was not the intention of the camp to use private land without permission, and the camp has now relocated to public land.
When they first moved to Myers Way last Monday, a handful of Top Hat residents were distressed about it. A few were harassing the camp. However, over the course of the week there has been a huge outpouring of public support and generosity from the neighbors. The camp wants to thank all of the neighbors who have stopped by to get to know them, to drop of donations, and to give words of encouragement and support.
One neighbor has set up community group advocating that the city grant the camp a permit to stay legally on the land.
Another has set up this gofundme campaign to help a camp family move into housing: https://www.gofundme.com/2fpabvcw
The camp can be reached at 206-578-6551 or campsctg@gmail.comCamp Second Chance Myers Site

Dear Community:prayer flags

Our camp continues to be peaceful and productive. Currently there are 16 residents at our encampment, temporarily located at the intersection of East Spring St and 24th Avenue in Seattle’s Central District. We are the guests of Umoja PEACE Center and Omari Tahir-Garrett, who has been graciously caring for the community. All the current residents are former residents of Nickelsville’s Dearborn site. We have a wait list of homeless people who have asked to join the encampment, but we are full and need more land to expand our program.

Living in community takes a lot of work and time and skill, and I have been inspired by the continued commitment to self governance. We enjoyed making prayer flags last weekend with Love Wins Love and are looking forward to meeting with Call of Compassion NW for a community conversation next week.

We are working on getting all of the residents on wait lists for housing and our goal is to have all of the current residents living indoors by November 1. I have been interviewing residents about their goals and needs, and working to find each one a housing solution that works for them. Eight of our current residents are either working or on disability. Others are looking for work, planning on returning to school, applying for disability, or dealing with health issues. We are also linking residents to other services and resources.

All of the residents are committed to upholding our shared community agreements, which includes not using intoxicants at our present site. We have not had to bar anyone from the site. Some participants have left voluntarily, either because they found a better living situation or because the camp was not a good fit for them.

Right now our biggest needs are land, money, and volunteers.

Land: our current site is temporary, and we need multiple new sites to run our program. Any snippet of land in Seattle that is near a bus line can be used. Ideally, we would like three lots big enough for 20 tents and twelve additional sites big enough for one or two people. We are also hoping to rent houses or other structures to run indoor shelters. If you have ANY land or structures that can be used to keep houseless neighbors safe until they find a safe place to live indoors, please contact us. Let me say that again. Tonight, people will be sleeping in scary, awful, dangerous, miserable places and if you have any scrap of space, indoor or outdoor, we can convert that into something that is better than where someone is suffering tonight. Anything.

Money: we need money for trash removal, food, camping gear, shower passes, bus fare, and supplies. We need to keep emergency money in the bank to rent a U-Haul in case the site is swept, and also would love to have a bus or truck donated for this purpose. We are also raising money to rent land. We also need money for our housing fund to use for rental application fees and first/last/deposit on housing rentals. You can give three ways!

We need these volunteer to:

  • Cook and donate dinner through our Meal Train
  • Garden
  • Build tent platforms
  • Scout for new sites
  • Help residents search for housing
  • Fundraise

Thank you all for your continuing support. May we all be blessed with generosity, courage, and determination. May we all be safe, fed, and housed. May we all cultivate community, friendship, neighborliness, compassion, and peace.

Best wishes,

Polly

Please donate if you can and share widely!

 

https://www.generosity.com/community-fundraising/camps-with-heart/x/8167772

http://www.seattleweekly.com/news/963459-129/a-new-encampment-is-challenging-the

Africa Town Site

Dear Community:

Camp Dearborn is safely settled in to a new temporary site, after having been swept on Friday 3/11. The circumstances surrounding the sweep were heartbreaking. The camp had been evicted from the Dearborn site on 2/20 but had not yet found a new site. Both I and the camp leadership had been talking to the SPD about the situation, and SPD officers had told us that they would give us notice before the sweep. We knew that the encampment was unauthorized, but the residents did not have a safe and authorized place to relocate to. Our efforts at locating a new site were being hampered by malicious and untrue gossip about the camp. We also continued our efforts to locate alternative solutions for individual camp members that would work for them, and advised the camp members that those who would feel safe and supported there should go to the newly opening Camp Othello.

On Thursday 3/10 we were told that the sweep would be Monday, 3/14. We reserved a U-Haul truck for Saturday 3/12, lined up volunteers to help vacate the site, and began packing. On Friday morning, I received a call on from a camp leader saying the sweep was happening. 16 camp members were on site; additional community members were off site, some at work. Campers grabbed what they could but the eviction process ended up being unnecessarily chaotic and cruel, with a much more suffering and waste than there would have been if we had been given noticed and allowed to pack and move on Saturday. I was at my rent paying day job during the sweep and unable to be there.

We are in the process of replacing survival resources that were confiscated and thrown away during the sweep. Currently we need tarps, clothing, hygiene supplies, food, and camping gear.

The camp is currently being hosted by a local community group on private property. Our plan is to stay there temporarily while we continue our search for a permanent site. If your community group or religious group can offer us temporary sanctuary for a few days or weeks while we continue that process, please let us know. Also, we need volunteers to help us scout for a new site. We are hoping to rent a vacant lot of about 5,000 square feet where we can stay for at least 3 months; 12 would be better. The lot needs to have good drainage and be near a bus line.

Our current camp policy is that no illegal activity is allowed in camp and everyone commits to working together to treat each other like human beings, with the respect and kindness each person deserves. We are emphasizing safety, civility, health, wellness, compassion, and neighborliness. I am praying that we can secure everyone’s immediate survival needs quickly so that we can turn our full attention to meeting long term needs: housing, education, employment, supportive services, counseling, and medical care. Harm reduction supplies are being made available to camp members who need them and we are in the process of updating the camp’s program model to align with best practices and contemporary research for substance abuse treatment and counseling. My vision is to cultivate a community where people who use intoxicants responsibly, people who are struggling with addition, people in recovery, and people who choose sobriety ALL feel safe and supported together.

It has been a sad and difficult week but I’m so inspired and uplifted by the heroic efforts of camp members to get through this together, respecting each other and staying in community. Also, we so much appreciate the outpouring of support from the community, and want to thank SAFE, SeaSol, Rising Tide, and Africa Town for their support and for everything they do to promote justice and compassion. If you want to support Camp Dearborn, you can donate online at Patacara’s website, http://patacara.org/how-to-help/. We also have lots of volunteer opportunities! Let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work creating a safety net for ALL of our neighbors who are suffering that honors our shared values and makes our city a beacon of compassion in the world.

Best wishes,

Polly

CAMPFIRE

Dear Beloved Community:

I want to give you an update on Camp Dearborn. We have not had any success in convincing the Board of Nickelsville to address the very real and substantial grievances of the residents of Camp Dearborn. As a result, the residents have voted to disassociate themselves with Nickelsville and have chosen Patacara Community Services as their new sponsoring nonprofit. We are now in the process of choosing a sponsoring religious organization, finding a new site to move to, and creating a community of volunteers and donors to support the camp.

The camp is running smoothly and safely. The camp continues to self organize security and we are working to bring in case management services and make sure the camp is a free of theft, violence, intoxicants, racism, homophobia, and any other behavior that prevents the residents from focusing their energy and effort on moving from the camp to housing. We are removing the trash, keeping the property clean, and reorganizing the camp kitchen. The Honey Buckets are still being serviced weekly; it would be really great if I could find out who has the contract with them, so I could arrange to take over the service contract if/when whoever is paying for it stops doing so, as it is a vital need of the residents. The staff at LIHI and Nickelsville have declined to respond to my emails concerning this.

We are working with a team of volunteers to find a new site for Camp Dearborn; I have been unable to reach the property owners, but would love to talk with them to negotiate staying on for a few more weeks while we secure a new site. I hope I can talk to city officials about any recommendations they may have for a new site. I hope that everyone who wants to see us succeed can send me leads on sites. Most likely, we will need to move to the property of a religious organization for a few months while we continue our search for a site where we can stay for 12 months. Ideally, we will be able to open a more permanent, city sanctioned site that we can garden on.

There has been an outpouring of support for Camp Dearborn and our vision for keeping it open and legal with new management and values. We are building up a team of volunteers and donors who agree with us that homeless people need immediate access to the basic survival services that legal encampments provide, and that these services need to be delivered with respect, compassion, dignity, and kindness. We believe that by offering an alternative model is both kinder and better organized, we can show Seattle how much can be accomplished with a well run encampment.

We agree that we should be focusing our collective energy on getting everyone who is homeless into housing. However, people are going to need toilets while we are figuring that out. Legal encampments are better than illegal encampments because they are safer and cleaner and more humane, and that makes it easier for people to focus on the next steps they need to take to get housing. Before you start thinking about tomorrow, you need a safe place to sleep tonight.

We want to thank the SPD for not evicting us and giving us a chance to find a new site to move to in a peaceful and organized fashion that does not disrupt the safety and services that the camp residents are currently receiving.

 

Best wishes,

 

Polly Trout

Executive Director

Patacara Community Services

206-465-6342

polly@patacara.org

Gabriella Duncan, beloved community member and activist, recently wrote this opinion piece for the South Seattle Emerald, Southern Seattle’s only non-profit, reader supported, and community operated media and news outlet. At Patacara, we believe in meeting all people where they are at, treating them like human beings and neighbors, and to helping them find the resources they need to be liberated from suffering.

http://southseattleemerald.com/2016/02/26/op-ed-addressing-homelessness-begins-with-addressing-addiction/

Patacara is proud to be the new fiscal sponsor of Camp Dearborn, a self governing homeless encampment in Seattle.

To learn more: https://www.facebook.com/OccupyCampDearborn/?fref=ts&ref=br_tf

The beautiful online journal Buddhistdoor Global just published this article about our work!

 

http://www.buddhistdoor.net/features/the-lesson-of-patacara-reaching-out-to-seattles-downtrodden-and-dispossessed