I am no longer doing administrative work at Camp Second Chance. Things are stable there; the situation is no longer in danger of collapsing into chaos, as it was when I started four months ago. I’m still close to the camp, and to LIHI, but I’m not putting in near-full-time hours.
Instead, I’m seeking my roots, going back to doing the things that brought me joy when I began this journey 18 months ago. Specifically, I’m delivering concrete benefits to real people that make a difference RIGHT NOW, starting with food. I serve oatmeal breakfast for Licton Springs Village on Saturday morning. I cook a casserole for the Rainier Popup Kitchen on Sunday afternoon. I made chili for Camp Second Chance last week, and I want that to become a regular thing again, like it used to be.
And there are new things, too! Today, for the first time, I delivered leftovers from the Phinney Neighborhood Association’s hot lunch at St. John’s Lutheran to Licton Springs Village. There was plenty of food to make a complete meal for 30 people, and good variety; it’s a fantastic benefit! I’ll be doing that every Wednesday.
I’ve ventured beyond food into the realm of kitchen machinery! When Licton Springs Village was without a microwave, I asked my Facebook friends to scour the “Buy Nothing” groups. Five microwaves showed up! Two went to Licton Springs, two into the Nickelsville system, and one remains in my garage as a hedge against future needs. (Microwaves are a critical part of encampment infrastructure. “Kitchen tents” make little sense without a microwave!)
In a slightly more abstract realm, I am helping a couple of groups get their web sites up and running. The new “Google Sites” service is almost ready for prime time. With a little tweaking, you can provide a damn good-looking site for basically free, and the site links natively to other Google services (which, I am convinced, will provide tangible benefits down the road). I’ll link to the sites I’m working on when they are presentable.
Finally, in the realm of the truly abstract, I will be a “featured participant” at an event sponsored by the Seattle University School of Law’s Homeless Rights Advocacy Project – “Finding Space to Solve Homelessness,” on April 14. (Click here to see the invitation and scroll down for a description.) I’ll be on the panel discussing Authorized Encampments, by virtue of my experience working in the camps and my analysis of the policies surrounding them (of which more, soon).
Meanwhile, apart from me, there are many magnificent efforts going on to address the crisis of society that we now face. Two in particular are impressive to me, and I commend them to you:
- The Transit Riders Union is organizing the best political campaign I have ever seen around housing. See HousingForAllSeattle.org.
- Operation Sack Lunch does what I do, except they do it professionally and at scale, and they’ve done it for the past 28 years. Please give them your support!