N. Beacon Hill Council Announcement

Anitra Freeman (anitra@speakeasy.org)
Wed, 12 Aug 1998 16:06:00 -0800

You may all be interested in how much different Roger pence, the President
of the North Beacon Hill Community Council, is sounding these days.  This
was the announcement that he sent out to the community about the
SHARE/WHEEL proposal hearing.  Except for one little snipe, it is
remarkably positive.

I have hope.


   Subject: RFP on Beacon Hill

         On July 14th, the North Beacon Hill Council voted unanimously to
  solicit a proposal from the Share/Wheel organization to establish a new
  six-month encampment on Beacon Hill, one that would be well-managed and
  operated according to S/W's strict code-of-conduct.
          This vote occurred two days after the Sunday Forum convened by the
  Council, which included a panel of speakers representing the Council, S/W,
  and the City. Most of the approx. 50 forum attendees supported the
  encampment. Camp opponents on Beacon Hill may have concluded the problem
  was over when the City removed the second camp (in Jose Rizal Park) a few
  days earlier.

          We expect to receive the S/W proposal this week. I am sure there
  will be much informal discussion in the community, and then we will discuss
  it at the next regular meeting of the Council, which will be on Tuesday,
  August 11th, at 7:00 PM. This meeting will be in a large room at Asa Mercer
  Middle School, instead of its usual location at the community center.

          Why are we soliciting a proposal for a new encampment, when the
  previous two were so controversial? Several reasons.
          -A major part of the concern about the first camps was the stealth
  and intrigue used by S/W in setting them up and their problems
  communicating with the people of the host community.
          -The camps themselves operated for 3 weeks with no apparent
          -There is an apparent need for this type of facility, as part of a
  continuum of services for the homeless.

          There is no guarantee that the Beacon Hill community will accept
  the S/W proposal. Amendments may need to be negotiated. Opponents may show
  up this time and fight it. We also need to figure out how the community's
  acceptance can be determined (it will need to be something more than simply
  a vote of the North Beacon Hill Council).

          City policy is that tent camps for the homeless are unacceptable
  anywhere under any circumstances. The City has been very inconsistent in
  enforcing that policy, however. After hearing opposition to S/W's two
  formal encampments on Beacon Hill, the City forced their removal. But the
  City has been remarkably tolerant of the dangerous, informal camps that
  have existed for years in the Jungle. Only once or twice a year when the
  garbage gets too high, the City cleans out the Jungle. But campers are
  always free to return, and they do.

          If the Beacon Hill community can decide that a peaceful, safe,
  well-operated encampment is welcomed here, then I hope the City will change
  its policy, at least with regard to this one experiment.
          About all the City can offer in the way of additional facilities
  for the homeless is more mats on the floor. They opened the Municipal
  Building for sleeping between 10 PM and 5 AM. When morning comes, people
  leave with all their belongings.
          The S/W camps are available 24 hours a day, people can leave their
  things behind when they go for meals or to work (yes, a significant percent
  of the homeless actually have jobs). (Imagine how difficult it would be to
  get or keep a job if you had to take your bedroll to work with you!)

          Anyway, the S/W people have made a good argument for their cause.
  This time, they want to do it right by working cooperatively with the host
  community. We'll see what happens.

          What do you think? Am interested in responses from everyone.

          Please redistribute this message to people who are, or should be,
  interested. Thank you.

  -Roger Pence
  President, North Beacon Hill Council


Anitra L. Freeman, for SHARE/WHEEL
Seattle Housing and Resource Effort http://insideshare.hypermart.net/
Women's Housing Equality and Enhancement League
Tent City 2  http://insideshare.hypermart.net/tc2.html