Updated March 19,2015 3:34pm
Dear Friends of WHEEL/Church of Mary Magdalene Women in Black:
From noon to 1 PM next Wednesday (March 25th) we will stand vigil AGAIN outside the Seattle Justice Center (5th/Cherry), this time for Margaret Pitka, 41. She is the woman who was shot to death in her ad hoc tent encampment at 8th/Yesler early this past Saturday morning. No suspect has been apprehended in this murder. Margaret was an Alaskan Native woman, and she leaves behind at least one child. She was beloved. This vigil also will be for Albert No Heart, 59, beloved Chief Seattle Club member who was found dead in Victor Steinbrueck (Market) Park on March 7th. The cause of his death is pending.
The King County homeless community has experienced unprecedented, horrible death and loss in 2015. Just in the first 10 weeks of the year, at least 16 homeless women and men have died outside or by violence, many of terrible causes like murder, fire, and death-on-the-freeway. Emergency shelters—especially shelters for women and families—are over-full.
Our vigils are silent, respectful memorials and acts of witness, but they also are a cry for justice, and a Call to Action. We ask you to stand vigil—and to take action—with us.
Below are our current Women in Black “Action Items" during this time of crisis. These are specifics of what we've been working on outside of our vigils, and they are steps we urgently ask you, our supporters, to act on, today, for the sake of our homeless community's survival:
SHARE/WHEEL's Tent City 4 AGAIN Submits Permit Application to King County (for New Present Location). Call Dow Constantine Now to Grant New Permit Application!!
1) SHARE/WHEEL'S TENT CITY4: King County must act NOW to support and to host SHARE/WHEEL’s Tent City4, currently encamped on public land in Issaquah (off I-90, exit 20). King County Executive Dow Constantine must grant Tent City4’s permit application for the County land they are currently using: firstname.lastname@example.org, (206) 263-9600. For more info or timely updates, visit www.sharewheel.org or call (206) 448-7889.
2) SEATTLE ENCAMPMENT ORDINANCE AND ALL-ZONE AMENDMENT: The Seattle City Council must vote to approve additional Organized Encampments on public land, and to open up the potential of siting them in ALL ZONES of the City, since homeless people are living, and dying, all over our City. The vote on the City Encampment Ordinance has been delayed to 3/30, giving us more time to assure its passage with the crucial All-Zone amendment proposed by Councilmember Sawant (and now supported by Councilmembers Licata, O'Brien and Bagshaw). Please focus your advocacy on Councilmembers Rasmussen (email@example.com) and Harrell (firstname.lastname@example.org); just one of their votes would make a majority on the Amendment!
3) NEW, ADDITIONAL LOW-BARRIER WOMEN'S SHELTER: More women’s shelter is desperately needed! For the past 15 years, WHEEL itself has sponsored and staffed a low-barrier, loving, come-as-you are women’s emergency shelter that now--thanks to our community advocacy and funding from the City--will operate year-round. This shelter—currently at Sacred Heart Hall—has a stated capacity of 50 women, but will not turn women in need away. We’ve averaged more than 60 women a night these past two months, and some nights have sheltered nearly 80 women! Such numbers cannot be supported over time; an ADDITIONAL low-barrier women’s shelter is desperately needed right now.
A coalition of women’s shelter providers agrees, and soon will propose such an additional shelter, at a new location, staffed by a different organization than WHEEL. The City of Seattle will be asked to fund this shelter, and must act quickly on this community proposal to create and support critically-needed additional emergency shelter for homeless women.
The City must also act quickly to release already-approved funding to support basic encampment needs and other additional shelters. We’ll provide more details and specific action steps regarding this “ask” next week.
These “Calls to Action” are made in the name of the 16 people who’ve lost their lives to homelessness already this year in King County. JOIN US! Please contact WHEEL if you need more specific information or have questions about our vigils or about our Calls to Action.
PLEASE also join our vigil next week, if you are able to. It always helps our hearts to have our supporters stand with us!
WHEEL/Women in Black
Also, Metro service to Tent City 4's current location is extremely limited. If you can loan SHARE/WHEEL a vehicle for Tent City 4 to use solely for shuttle service back and forth to the Issaquah Transit Center, call us-We can insure the vehicle and the driver!!
UPDATE ON SHARE/WHEEL’s TENT CITY 4 March 16, 2015
Keep reading until the end--that’s where it’s explained how you can help.
It’s Monday, March 16th—Day 3 of Tent City4 at High Point on I-90 Exit 20, Metro Bus 108.
Tent City4 had a lot of ups and downs this weekend:
First, in spite of hundreds of calls and emails, County Executive Constantine refused to issue a permit for a mothballed County Park. Then he went one step further and put construction vehicles all over the perfectly usable parking lot and buttressed them with County Sheriff Cars on the perimeter. (But he hasn’t brought up a viable alternative site east of Lake Washington.)
That made it time for Plan B: WDOT Land between Issaquah and Preston--Exit 20.
Saturday it didn’t rain as much as expected, and a lot got done. Sunday, the Ides of March, it rained more, but TC4 Driver Wendell was determined. Unfortunately, another car hit our Handy Andy 24-Ft Truck on its way back to the Old Site in Skyway to finish up the move. Both vehicles in the wreck are in terrible shape, and we’re grateful the drivers will be ok.
It also rained a heck of a lot Sunday.
Now we’re settling in.
Thanks to all our friends who have called Executive Constantine, helped with the move, brought us Dinner last night, and are offering us suggestions and listening.
Unfortunately the struggle isn’t over. Last night the camp met and decided to:
1) Agree to move when a suitable site on the Eastside of Lake Washington becomes available, and to actively continue the search.
2) Make clear to the property owner—the Washington Department of Transportation—that we appreciate their patience and we will work with them.
3) Encourage County Executive Constantine to change course and begin working with the homeless community. Two excellent first steps would be:
a) Either rescind the Permit Denial and remove the Construction Vehicles taking up the Parking Lot at the County owned, mothballed Issaquah Campground or find another location for SHARE/WHEEL’s Tent City4 using King County Land and Resources
b) Reverse the defunding of SHARE by King County Government so that more people can be safely sheltered (SHARE is King County’s largest and most cost effective shelter network.)
4) Keep running a good camp wherever we are!
HERE IS WHAT WE’RE ASKING OUR FRIENDS TO DO:
1) Call Governor Inslee. Tell him that you appreciate the Washington Department of Transportation working humanely with Tent City4.
2) Call County Executive Constantine. Ask him to reconsider his denying our Permit for staying at the mothballed Issaquah Campground OR to find us other County Land to stay on eastside of Lake Washington Encourage him to reconsider denying SHARE money in the 2015 County Budget that they need to operate King County’s largest and most cost effective shelter network.
3) Help with daily needs of the camp. Visitors, as well as food, water and garbage bags are appreciated.
Call the camp about these items: (206) 618-3901
While the site has bus service, it could be more frequent and start earlier and end later. Plus, it doesn’t run on Weekends.
A Car or Van is needed for regular shuttles between Exit 20/High Point and the Issaquah Transit Center. (This will solve the significant gaps in public transportation.)
SHARE does have vehicle and driver insurance! We would only use the vehicle for people shuttling back and forth between the Issaquah Transit Center and Camp.
Call SHARE at (206) 448-7889 to loan a vehicle or offer us advice and/or suggestions on a new site!
CALL COUNTY EXECUTIVE CONSTANTINE AT (206) 263-9600 or email KCEXEC@KINGCOUNTY.GOV
If you’d like to see the emails sent to the Governor and to King County Executive Constantine Call Us at (206) 448-7889 or email us email@example.com.
UPDATE 2:30 PM SATURDAY MARCH 14TH:
TENT CITY4 HAS MOVED TO ITS NEW LOCATION: Near EXIT 20 (The High Point Exit) off I-90! Take this Exit, and then go right and then left! You'll see the camp from there.
URGENT: So far, we haven't been approached by any Sheriffs. PLEASE CALL/EMAIL KING COUNTY SHERIFF JOHN URQUHART NOW at firstname.lastname@example.org, (206) 296-4155 and tell him not to arrest the homeless people of SHARE/WHEEL's Tent City4 for staying together and safe. PLEASE KEEP CALLING/EMAILING KING COUNTY EXECUTIVE DOW CONSTANTINE. Ask him to reconsider his decision NOT to grant TC4 a permit for the unused Issaquah Highlands Campground, and tell him also NOT to arrest TC4 folks! He's at (206) 263-9600 or email@example.com
Supporters are very welcome to come for a visit--if you come, please bring trash bags and bottled water if you're able to. Food's always welcome too.
MORE INFO: (206) 448-7889 or firstname.lastname@example.org
PS Here are weekday bus service directions; this METRO service is weekday only: In downtown Seattle, catch the eastbound Sound Transit 554 bus, and ride to the Issaquah Park and Ride bus station. There, transfer to the Metro 208 minibus. Get off at the High Point bus stop, at the first freeway interchange past Issaquah (exit 20).
posted Friday March 13, 2015
KEEP TENT CITY4 CAMPERS TOGETHER AND SAFE.
HELP THEM MOVE TOMORROW (3/14/15) WORK BEGINS AT 7:30 AM, MOVING STARTS AT NOON
PEOPLE BRINGING VEHICLES GET EXTRA POINTS!
‘Even with all the land King County has the County Executive won’t permit homeless people to use even 7,000 sq.feet?’ That was the first stunned reaction of many TC4 campers tonight upon learning their Permit Application was denied. That was the second stunned reaction of many TC4 campers tonight upon learning the Permit Application was denied.
TC4 Camp Adviser Sam Roberson has seen Issaquah Highland Campgrounds on the Issaquah – Renton Road. He still can’t believe the Permit Denial letter from King County called this mothballed campground “unsafe and unsanitary.”
“I saw the property with my own eyes” Sam said “and that’s not true. If they’ll deceive about that, why should I believe it when they say County financing for this property won’t allow homeless people to use it? Its hogwash and that’s why they won’t even show us the paperwork.”
“It doesn’t matter; Constantine just doesn’t want to help. If he did, he’d have found a way – the county has plenty to help with. I guess tomorrow we’ll find out it if he’s willing to arrest us to hide how much worse the problem of homelessness has become under his watch.”
TENT CITIES PRESENT LOCATION IS AT 12914 Martin Luther King Jr Way South – Bus #101
MORE INFORMATION: email@example.com (206) 448-7889
The camp thanks the hundreds of people who emailed or called with support.
CALL KING COUNTY SHERIFF JOHN URQHART
firstname.lastname@example.org (206) 296-4155
AND ASK HIM TO NOT ARREST HOMELESS PEOPLE
who are harming no one while struggling to
STAY TOGETHER AND SAFE
Posted March 12, 2015
Call County Executive Dow Constantine Today! Ask him to give SHARE/WHEEL’s Tent City4 a Permit to move Saturday to the presently mothballed Issaquah Highlands Campground
(206) 263-9600 // KCEXEC@KINGCOUNTY.GOV
Tent City4 must move by Saturday March 14th back to the Eastside of Lake Washington. We have located a mothballed King County Campground. It was bought from a Logger by an Environmental Organization who then sold it to King County. Now they are deciding how to use it in the future.
SHARE/WHEEL has applied for a permit, and Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Parish has promised to pay normal daily campground fees to the County. In 4 months we’ll leave it better than we found it!
All we are asking for is 7,000 square feet of this 910,404 sq ft property! (The presently unused Tennis Courts would be great)
Last winter Governor Inslee let us use Lake Sammamish State Park for TC4. Last October Mayor Murray let TC3 use land near I-5 and Ravenna for several months. Call Executive Constantine (former co-chair of the Committee to End Homelessness in King County) and encourage him to be a leader too!
(Purchased by the Trust for Public Land and then Resold to King County just last year.)
Issaquah Highlands Recreational Club
(presently mothballed) Campground
(206) 263-9600 // KCEXEC@KINGCOUNTY.GOV
TO KEEP TENT CITY4 TOGETHER AND SAFE!
Come Help us Move 11:00 AM Saturday at present site –
12709 Martin Luther King Jr Way South Skyway
Double Check Saturday Move Time Friday Night on SHARE/WHEEL Website – www.sharewheel.org
Or call (206) 448-7889. Bring 33 Gallon Garbage Bags Saturday if you Can!
Friends of SHARE and WHEEL:
Below is the flier handed out to passersby at the Women in Black vigil held Wednesday March 4, 2015 in front of Seattle's Justice Center. Please read it, and then take action if you feel the call.
SHARE's Communication Work Group
MORE SHELTER AND ORGANIZED ENCAMPMENTS ARE NEEDED NOW!
ALL OVER THE CITY!
Every time a homeless person is found dead outside or dies by violence in King County, WHEEL (a homeless women’s organizing effort) and Mary’s Place (an empowerment ministry for women and children) mobilize for our silent witnessing vigil called Women in Black. JOIN US!
From newspaper reports and confirmed by the King County Medical Examiners, we learned that a homeless man was found dead in his campsite near I-90 on Wednesday, February 25th, after his tent caught fire. He is Ngo Tho Huyhn, 49, and he died of burns and smoke inhalation. This has been ruled to be an accident.
We are standing vigil today to honor and remember Mr Huyhn. Our hearts are with his family and friends.
At least 45 homeless people died outside or by violence in King County in 2014, and at least eight already this year, some by very terrible causes, outside and alone. Here is our death list:
CAUSE OF DEATH: WHO: WHEN: WHERE:
We will stand vigil again same time & place NEXT Wednesday (3/11) for Dillon Lesnick, 21, whose death was just shared with us. (There might be more names, too, since we are due a new list of homeless deaths from the King County Medical Examiners.) Stand with us! Our hearts are broken as we stand here alone, wondering: Where is the community outcry?
JOIN US as we demand and work on providing more shelter and encampments NOW!
ALSO, PLEASE JOIN US IN THESE RESOLUTIONS:
1. WE WILL RESOLVE TO BE A COMMUNITY, homeless and housed, together. Homelessness is not just a loss of housing, it is a loss of community. Take an emotional inventory of your own negative attitudes toward homeless people. Do you involve them as part of your community? If negative perceptions hold you back, how can you deal with them?
2. WE WILL SUPPORT CREATION OF NEW, ORGANIZED ENCAMPMENTS IN ALL ZONES IN SEATTLE: The 2015 One Night Count of Unsheltered Homeless people showed an unprecedented 21% increase—to 3,772 women, men and children outside, county-wide. Every neighborhood, and every community is affected. There are homeless people sleeping outside in dangerous conditions all over our City. Already this year two homeless men, including Mr Huyhn, for whom we stood today, have died in unsanctioned, ad hoc campsites in greenbelts in the central City. It is not safe or hygienic to go it alone like this; organized encampments with hygiene services are what’s needed.
Mayor Murray has taken the unprecedented, bold and compassionate step of proposing development of--and support for--three new organized encampments on public land, with public support, here in Seattle. The Seattle City Council now is considering an ordinance regarding encampments, and necessary and good amendments to the Council legislation have been proposed.
This Encampment Legislation needs to be passed, but WITH the Amendments proposed by Councilmember Sawant (and supported by Councilmembers O’Brien and Licata), ESPECIALLY the Amendment that opens up siting encampments in ALL ZONES in the City. (The current proposed Ordinance allows them only in Industrial Zones, a narrow swath of land that spans the central City.)
Here’s why this Amendment to allow encampments in all zones is important and necessary:
PLEASE IMMEDIATELY contact Seattle City Councilmembers and urge them to PASS the Encampment Ordinance legislation WITH the All-Zone Siting Amendment. PLEASE ESPECIALLY FOCUS ON COUNCILMEMBERS RASMUSSEN, BAGSHAW and HARRELL, who could be the “Swing Votes” on this measure.
Update February 28,2015
HELP PROTECT HOMELESS PEOPLES’ FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS TO
INFORMED CONSENT AND PRIVACY!
Homeless people’s organizations WHEEL and SHARE strongly oppose the reversal of Informed Consent practice and law, as represented by a new Bill (Senate Bill 5898) currently being considered by the WA State legislature. This bill relates to the uploading of homeless people’s personal data into a central database called the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS).
The HMIS system in Washington State is currently an Opt-In System, requiring meaningful informed consent and people choosing explicitly—by signing a form—to waive their personal privacy rights. SB 5898 would reverse the system of consent-giving from Opt-In to Opt-Out.
Our opposition is extremely strong, and is three-fold:
Please help us preserve homeless people’s rights to consent and privacy! Go to the WA State Legislature’s Bill Information Home Page, and read the information about SB 5898: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=5898&year=2015
Click on “Comment about this Bill” and please submit a comment in opposition to this Bill. Please focus especially on the “Ways and Means” Committee, which is considering this Bill soon. (See reverse for contact info.)
For more information, contact WHEEL, a grassroots organizing effort of homeless and formerly homeless women: (206) 956-0334 or email@example.com
UPDATE 4 PM MONDAY, JANUARY 26TH: WE HAVE A PERMIT FOR DAYTIME DEMONSTRATIONS ON THE WEST CAPITOL GROUNDS, AND ARE AT THE TIVOLI FOUNTAIN (200 yards east of the Capitol Dome). We're still negotiating nighttime sleeping accommodations, but will be in the community room of LIHI's Fleetwood Apartments (near Sylvester Park) and at a local church.
AT 7 PM TOMORROW, TUESDAY, JANUARY 27TH, WE'LL HAVE A RALLY WITH SPEAKERS AND MUSIC. WE'LL RALLY AGAIN AROUND 7 AM WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 28TH before marching to the Governing Board Meeting. JOIN US!
Join occupy cehkc for a sleepout in Olympia January 26, 27 and 28 and speak truth to power!
Homelessness needs real solutions, not gongs and photo ops.
· Invest in building and preserving affordable housing
· Quality encampments and shelters in the meantime
· End unfair foreclosures
· Improve public transportation and add low-income fares
· Rent Control
· No more blaming/tracking the victims through the Homeless Management Information (HMIS) system. Preserve our dignity and rights to informed consent and privacy.
Calendar of Events:
MONDAY, JANUARY 26th: We’re setting up camp!
TUESDAY, JANUARY 27TH: We meet with legislators and (perhaps) the Governor! In the evening, a rally with music and speakers.
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 28TH: We march to and occupy the Governing Board Meeting of CEHKC. Afterwards, we break down camp.
Occupy CEHKC is a coalition of WHEEL, SHARE, Nickelsville, TRU and SAFE. www.occupycehkc.org
is the Occupy the Committee to End Homelessness in King County Coalition (SAFE, TRU, SHARE, WHEEL & Nickelsville)
Camping Out in Olympia?
Because Homeless People can’t afford having the Governing Board of the Committee to End Homelessness in King County and their co-optees in Olympia unchaperoned!
Background: The Committee to End Homelessness in King County Governing Board decided to kick off 2015 by leaving King County and having their quarterly meeting in Thurston County. They and several co-optees will be heading south to Olympia on January 28th. The goal is to persuade State Government to follow an ineffective agenda of the same old co-options:
· Making it easier to track homeless people through the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS).
· Buying into a “brand new” 3-Year Extension of the (same old) 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness that wound up with more homeless people now than when it started.
· Awarding State Politicians with a Symbol of Seriousness (a solemn gong-banging photo op) BEFORE getting any substance (or seriousness) in return.
OCCUPY CEHKC IS GOING TO OLYMPIA TO DO WHAT REALLY NEEDS DOING:
· Persuade the State to stop paying for the computerized tracking of homeless people, and under no circumstances allow this tracking to be done with out homeless peoples’ explicit, informed consent.
· Move funding from computer tracking, landlord liaisoning and studying long-term shelter-stayers into quality encampments and shelters for the interim until we win
· Massive new investments to preserve and build affordable housing AND get it preserved and built!
· Start the fight for local Rent Control
· Pass State Legislation to cut back on unfair home foreclosures
· Expand low-income peoples’ access to quality public transportation
Around 3:30 PM Friday 10/17/14 SPD Posted TC3 with numerous warnings that they will be swept on Wednesday, October 22nd - that's the day the Committee to End Homelessness Governing Board Meets, co-chaired by our Mayor, Meets. Many folks from Tent City3 will be Marching to the Governing Board Meeting, leaving Westlake Mall Park at around 7:00 AM. Please join us if you can - and consider posting this information on your Facebook Page or Email List.
This Week’s Key SHARE (and WHEEL) Dates:
1) Tuesday October 21st Occupy CEHKC Sleep Out/Rally/March begins at 12 PM Westlake Mall Park
3) Tuesday October 21st TRU March for Seattle METRO starts at 4:00 PM @ Westlake Park
4) Tuesday October 21st Occupy CEHKC Rally @ Westlake Park 5:30 PM followed by Dinner and Sleep Out
5) Wednesday October 22 D Date for SPD Sweeping TC3
6) Wednesday October 22 Occupy CEHKC marches on CEHKC Governing Board Meeting (co-chaired by Mayor Murray.) 7 AM Wake Up In, or Meet up At Westlake Mall Park at 7 AM
The "Ask" of Mayor Murray is simple: Let TC3 stay where they are until Seattle Pacific University can host them. There may be churches that will take on the legal obligations that makes this kosher under the Seattle Religiouis Encampment Ordinance & it's what the CEHKC Crisis Response Plan says to do.
7) Thursday October 23rd @ 1:00 PM Mayors Unsheltered Homelessness Task Force holds first of a couple meetings (in secret.) There are some good folks on this Committee, dominated by the usual sharks and wolves in sheeps clothing.
8) Thursday October 23rd @ 5:30 PM. City Council Budget Hearing. Are you surprised there is no new money in the Mayors Budget for SHARE, WHEEL, the Urban Rest Stop or Encampments?
Phone Numbers: Mayor Murray's Phone Number '684-4000 (voice mail usually full.)
Citizens Service Bureau 684-2489. SHARE 448-7889