Q&A on SHARE/WHEEL Encampment Proposal

Anitra Freeman (anitra@speakeasy.org)
Wed, 12 Aug 1998 16:22:53 -0800

Some of the Questions & Answers that have already taken place by email on
the Encampment Proposal:


Several of you have already taken the time to send questions about the
SHARE/WHEEL Encampment Proposal submitted to the North Beacon Hill
Community Council. We hope that circulating these questions and answers now
will help make the discussion at the next Council meeting, 7PM on August
11th at Asa Mercer High School, more productive.

I have combined all sets of questions.

>1. What is the projected start date?

We want to start the encampment as soon as it has a good expectation of
success. The best hope of success will be if the encampment has the support
and cooperation of both the Beacon Hill neighborhood and the City of
Seattle. The concrete aspect of that support and cooperation will be a set
of protocols we can all agree on and a standing committee to implement
them. As soon as that is in place, we can start. Good faith efforts on the
part of all of us will speed that day. Beyond that, we can't name a start
date at this point. Physically, we could set up August 12th.

>2. Where did the majority of the folks go when tent city 2 was moved?

Some went to SHARE shelters: the Bunkhouse stretched its capacity to allow
extra people. Some got vouchers from the City or went to other City
shelters. Some are back in the Jungle, and the rest back in alleys,
doorways, or under bridges esewhere.

>3. Are the monitors "residents" of tent city 2?


>4. How often will the city pick up the trash? How often will the
>sani-can's be cleaned?

During Tent City 2, SHARE picked up the garbage daily when coffee and food
were delivered. We expect to continue this.

The Sani=Can was cleaned by the company we rented it from, on their regular
maintenance schedule.

>5. What type of security will the "residents" have when they leave the site?

The residents of all of our shelters outside of the downtown core get bus
tickets to travel to and from the shelter and are directed not to loiter in
the area when they are not using the shelter.

>6. Where do the "residents" conduct their personal hygiene?

There are a small but well-known number of places where people without
homes can take showers and do their laundry. These hygiene facilities will
be expanded next spring. In the meantime, the Tent City residents will use
the same hygiene facilities that everyone else does, downtown.

If the Beacon Hill community wants to make other facilities available --
various neighbors made suggestions about local churches, the community
center, etc. -- that would be a great asset.

(7) How many people will be living in encampment?

Our capacity estimate has been 100 people. If we have a problem maintaining
order and self-management at that level, we would decrease it: we have at
times lowered the numbers in other shelters to keep the shelter working.

(8) Why did other encampments in Eugene, OR and Hawaii,work , when
apparently so many others did not?

I do not know anything personally about the Hawaii encampment. I know
something of the Eugene encampment; I know it was started by a very
dedicated group of people with highly developed skills in non-violence,
consensus, and community-building -- in a very liberal and supportive

But while I think we can learn a number of things from studying encampments
elsewhere, I also think that it is very difficult to accurately evaluate
sutuations from a distance. I think that the factors that are going to be
most important for the success of an encampment in Seattle are right here
in Seattle.

(9) Why does the trial encampment have to be for six months; why not three
months, for example?

In our experience, it takes at least six months to determine if a new
program is going to work. In the first few months there are inevitably some
changes and adjustments to be made. By six months, you have a better idea
of what things are going to look like for the long haul.

10.	Please provide some basic information about both the Share and
Wheel organizations. Please provide dates of incorporation, tax status,
names of directors and officers, names of senior staff, and location of
offices. Please indicate your principal funding sources. Please submit
copies of form 990 for the two most recent years available. Please describe
the contractural relationship between the two organizations as it pertains
to the establishment and operation of the proposed encampment.

SHARE is the incorporated entity. WHEEL is, for tax and legal purposes, a
program of SHARE. SHARE is a 501(c)3, an IRS-recognized non-profit
corporation. The SHARE Board of Directors has nine members, but by the
nature of the population, there is a high rate of turnover. We have no
"senior" staff, being a Our funding comes from all levels of government and
also private contributions.

*** NOTE: This was sent out incomplete.  I have been given a "standard
package" that we send with grant apps, etc, and I'm taking it tonight to
the meeting, but I'm not going to try to put it in email unless I get LOTS
of chocoalte.

11.	Financial responsibility. If a person becomes injured due to
negligent operation of the encampment by Share and Wheel, how would that
person be compensated?

We do have insurance for any accidents in the shelters. Whether or not this
insurance would cover accidents in an outdoor camp is a point to check

We are not overly concerned about it though, simply because we ar *not*
negligent, and we have never had a perso. become "injured due to negligent
operation" in eight years.

12. (a) How does this encampment fit in with Share/Wheel's other plans for
facilities for the homeless?

We see the encampment as a missing bottom rung in the continuum of care. In
addition to the encampment, we continue to operate and to expand other
emergency shelters (indoors) and an internal employment-with-housing
program, SHARE2. We are working with the City and other service providers
to support the development of other programs, such as Dorothy Day House,
permanent housing for women. WHEEL is campaigning for the development of a
Women's Empowerment Center, a day center that would include facilities for
job skill development, job search, and work preparedness.

12. (b) When and where do you propose to build your next encampment?

That would be decided when we could point to this encampment as a success
-- after six months of operation.

12. (c) Do you recognize the need to initiate such facilities in the
suburbs and other communities beyond the City of Seattle?

We do recognize that need. We have, at present, four shelters in the main
Seattle area and eight in the suburbs.

We are also not a service agency; we are poor people ourselves, organizing
to solve our own needs and problems. We do not have cars and trucks and we
usually have to work where we are, which is Seattle. When all the homeless
in Seattle have shelter, of course, those who still want to organize new
projects will go elsewhere.

13. (a) Encampment security arrangements (Sec. IIIC) appear pretty good.
The rules forbid entry to residents or guests under the influence of drugs
or alcohol. How do camp monitors determine if residents are so influenced?

Experience and common sense.

13. (b) The availability of a cell phone in the camp at all times is
important. The number of that phone should be given to members of the
standing committee, so that concerns can be quickly responded to, and
rumors squelched.

It has been our practice wherever a shelter has a phone that memebrs of the
coordinating committee (resident-staff-hosts) all have the number, for the
purposes you cite.

14.	You have indicated that Share/Wheel has core rules are for all
shelters -- no alcohol or drugs, no fighting, etc., etc. "Beyond those
guidelines, each shelter sets its own rules..." Please indicate what
further rules were adopted by the residents of Tent City 2. During the life
of Tent City 2, please indicate if any guidelines or rules were violated
and what steps were taken in each incident.

The residents of Tent City made special rules for the locations: beside the
Reservoir, residents were specifically forbidden to climb the fence and
enter the Reservoir itself; below Jose Rizal Park, they made a special rule
to control residents loitering in the Park. Because Tent City would include
families with children, the residents felt the need to strengthen the rules
about physical and verbal abuse.

There were violation of the rules, but such occurrences were handled
without incident. Nothing occurred of such note that it has entered SHARE
permanent records, so that I can report it to you.

15.	Beyond agreeing to abide by the code of conduct, what criteria are
used to admit, or to refuse to admit, new residents (assuming space is

Our only criteria is agreement to abide by the code of conduct, not being
on the bar list, and common sense. If someone is falling down drunk at the
time of the screening interview, or perceptibly unclean, or unable to
complete the interview without becoming violently angry, we don't admit

16.	You indicate that Tent City 2 residents were "people who were
making efforts to overcome their hardships and move ahead, and we expect
that those who come into any future encampment will be the same." What
services are offered and available to camp residents to help them get
ahead? Please be as specific as possible because I believe this is an
important issue with many Beacon Hill people. What happens to those
residents who decline to take advantage of opportunities to get ahead? Can
they continue to stay indefinitely, or at some point are they asked to

We have no madatory program or time limits. Our practice is the same as
WHEEL urged on the City recently in setting up a new women's shelter --
make services and counseling available, but not mandatory. In our
experience, this is the most productive approach in the long run.

Our "services and counseling" are all by referral -- we can steer people to
what's available, but we cannot afford to run treatment or training or job
programs ourselves. We do, however, have a number of volunteer
opportunities where people aquire uselful skils, including computer skills,
and we have SHARE2, a program in which shelter residents are hired to
assist in the downtown shelters in return for a room in a shared house.
WHEEL is also working on a Women's Empowerment Center, to provide job
training, job preparedness and job search facilities. All of these,
however, are made available but not mandatory.

17.	Where do camp residents bathe, get their meals, and do their
laundry? For a six-month encampment, piped water should be provided, with a
faucet over a rock-filled drain hole.

The camp residents would use the same hygiene facilities presently
available downtown. In addition, Health Care for the Homeless provided, and
will provide, water, washing-up basins and supplies, help and consultation.
If the piped water you suggest could be provided, we'd love it.

18. Your Section V, Emergency Encampment Civility Code, goes beyond the
scope of a proposed new encampment on Beacon Hill and is a topic for
another day. It should be deleted from this proposal.

We disagree. The City of Seattle is currently stating as its objection to
an encampment that "bad encampment follow good ones"; that if they allow
the SHARE/WHEEL encampment, they will have to allow every other encampment,
even disorderly and unclean ones. If the Beacon Hill Council chooses to
recommend and encampment, both Beacon Hill and the City will need a tool to
say "This encampment is following acceptable standards" or "This encampment
does not follow acceptable standards." The Emergency Encampment Civility
Code is a tool for that.


We thank all of you for the time and interest you have shown, for making
the effort to understand another reality than yours. We look forward to
many more conversations.

[end forward]

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