Thursday, May 3, 2018

Camp moves, immediate needs and more

What’s New?

Camp Moves

Tent City 3 is moving this weekend to the “Church by the Side of the Road, “located at 3455 S. 148th St. Tukwila WA 98168.
Camp United We Stand is planning to move from St. Dunstans in Shoreline to the George Center starting on May 18th. The George Center is located at 2212 NE 125th Street, Seattle WA 98125. UWS will move to the Haller Lake United Methodist Church in August.
 The St. George location does not have power or water so camp UWS will need support with those items once they move. We do not know whether TC3 will have access to power and water in Tukwila.

What’s not new?

Moving Again

Both Tent City 3 and Camp United We Stand are moving soon. Moving a camp is a lot of hard work. Imagine having to pack up everything you own, dismantle your house drag it across town, rebuild it and reset up all your belongings. Add to that having to rebuild all the surrounding community infrastructure on which you depend. This is the case almost every 12 weeks for these camps and includes the camps front desk and office, the kitchen, the donations tent and the dormitories. During the time it takes to accomplish the move the campers are completely outside so rain, cold or in some cases extreme heat can take its toll on them especially anyone in fragile health.
Greater Seattle Cares checks with the camps to provide the supplies needed for the camp move such as garbage bags, hammers, nails, work gloves, gorilla tape zip ties and brooms. A move kit with all these items can cost $300 for small camps and more than $500 for the larger camps. We have at times rented trucks to help with the moves and always check to make sure the campers have meals and water in both the location they are moving out of and the one they are moving in. The campers always appreciate volunteers. Please stop by and give them a hand, bring them some water, food or let us know if you would like to make a donation to support their moves. If you bring food or water to be mindful of any trash that will be generated as the camp will have to dispose of that.

Tents - While some of the sanctioned encampments use tiny houses, camps Tent City 3 and United We Stand still live in tents. These tents were designed for recreational, not continuous use so typically last only about 10 to 12 months. UV damage weakens the tent fabric over time. This means that there is almost a constant need for new tents.
The camps cycle out the tents that are aging as they wear. The tents are typically covered with a tarp to prolong the life of the tent and to prevent leaks along the seams. The camps set up their tents on platforms that are most commonly built of pallets covered with plywood. This is necessary to keep the tent out of water during rain. Using pallets makes the tent foot print a standard in size. Typically single person tents are 8’ X10’ and those for doubles are 10’ X 12’. Cabin style tents are preferred so that people can stand up inside and because they provide more usable room inside. A single tent can cost anywhere from $50 to $80 each and the doubles can cost from $140 to $250 each. Our GSC Board recently purchased 4 single tents for both camp UWS and TC3.
As the weather warms up, the populations in the sanctioned camps typically rises so their will undoubtedly be a need for additional tents. Please consider adopting a tent or donating funds for that purpose. Perhaps there are groups that might like to fund raise for tents specifically. Our board would be happy to help you facilitate, so just let us know if we can help.

What are current needs?

Water- When a camp doesn’t have water access they need bottled water or water jugs. Our recommendation is to fill the camps large water containers rather than supplying individual bottles of water. Individual plastic bottles create a lot of garbage that the camp then has to dispose.
Gas for the Generators- Tent City 3 is using generators at their current location and UWS will need to do the same when the move to the George Center. They typically need donations of gasoline to keep them going. We recommend picking up the gas cans and taking them to be filled as they are heavy to carry and the campers typically don’t have transportation.
Clothing- Keep in mind that a lot of campers are larger men. New undergarments are always appreciated but everything helps.
Blankets and Bedding- Campers need bedding and the ability to wash it. Each camp has its own laundry arrangements, but they sometimes need assistance with obtaining these donations
Batteries-Camps without power will rely on battery operated flashlights and other items.

Current Camp Hosts and Locations

Tent City 3-Cherry Hill Baptist Church, 700 22nd Ave. Seattle, WA 98122
United We Stand-St. Dunstans Church, 722 N 145th St, Shoreline, WA 98133
Tent City 4-Public Property in Issaquah, Exit 20 on I-90, Issaquah, WA
Tent City 5-Interbay Neighborhood in Ballard, 1601 15th Ave. W (cross street Garfield, under the Magnolia Bridge), Seattle, WA 98119
Camp Lichton Springs-Private Property belonging to the Low Income Housing Institute, 8620 Aurora Ave N just south of Seattle Fabrics
Camp Unity Eastside-Bear Creek United Methodist Church, 16530 Avondale Rd NE, Woodinville, WA 98077
Camp Second Chance-Public Property in White Center, 9625 Myers Way S. Seattle, WA 98108
Nicklesville Othello-7544 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Seattle, WA
Nicklesville Union-Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, 22nd and E Union, Seattle, WA
Nickelsville Georgetown-1000 S. Myrtle St., Seattle, WA

Thank you!

Thank you for participating in the mission of Greater Seattle Cares. Thank you for caring! And thank you for your donations of money, time, goods, and relationships. Your caring brings hope and change to those we serve.

Friday, March 2, 2018

February 2018 Updates

What’s New?

Camp Moves

We are happy to report that Camp United We Stand has had their stay at St. Dunstan’s church in Shoreline extended until May. The will move to the Haller Lake United Methodist Church in August but are still searching for a host for May, June and July. Tent City 3 moved last weekend to a site owned by Cherry Hill Baptist Church in the old central district. Their new home has neither power nor water access, but we are grateful for it as the location was not found until the last minute before they were due to leave SPU and it had looked like they might not have a place to go.

What’s not new?

Site Searches

The camps we support have needs that are constant. Chiefly, they need a place to stay. The sanctioned camps we support typically, have to move every 90 days depending upon the type of permit needed for the host location. While the occasionally may be able to stay longer they typically have to find 4 hosts a year or risk having to move to an illegal location where they could be subject to being swept. The one constant need is space. Depending upon the size of the camp the amount of space needed can vary. Ideally the space should be fairly flat but even that is not an absolute requirement as we have seen tent bases adjusted to compensate for different sites. It is preferred they have access to power and water, but they have generators and water jugs if that is not the case. While Greater Seattle Cares does not manage host searches for any of the camps we do reassure prospective hosts that we will provide services to the camps assisting with food and supplies during their stay and if needed support with moving in or leaving. If you are aware of any church, school or private business that may be interested in becoming a host please contact the camp or SHARE WHEEL directly with your lead. 90 days may sound like a long time but the reality is that the search for host locations goes on constantly.

What are current needs?

Managing donations - When delivering items to camp please always take care not to overload them. While the campers are always grateful if the camp receives more than it can use it can create problems. Items stored in tents can become damp and moldy. If you are delivering to camp, always ask for the donation coordinator or for food donations, the kitchen coordinator. Ideally call ahead and check with the camp to ask them what is needed and how many people currently reside in camp. The camp phone numbers can be found on our website.
Food for the Pantry - GSC recently delivered some individual ready to eat foods to Tent City 3 as their pantry was almost completely wiped out after their move.
Water - When a camp doesn’t have water access they need bottled water or water jugs. Our recommendation is to fill the camps large water containers rather than supplying individual bottles of water. Individual plastic bottles create a lot of garbage that the camp then has to dispose.
Gas for the Generators - We assume Tent City 3 will be using generators at their current location. They typically need donations of gasoline to keep them going. We recommend picking up the gas cans and taking them to be filled as they are heavy to carry and the campers typically don’t have transportation. Last year when staying at Skyway GSC purchased gas for the camp on a weekly basis.
Tents and Tarps - A tent used year round only lasts about a year. Camps use what the call singles and doubles which can range in price from $50 to $150 each. The can also use tent carports for common use tents and like cabin style tents so someone can stand up inside. Tarps extend the life of the tents by protecting the seams and keep the tent much drier.
Coats and warm clothing - Any cold weather clothing we can provide, especially is a blessing this time of year. Keep in mind that a lot of campers are larger men. New undergarments are always appreciated.
Blankets and Bedding - Campers need bedding and the ability to wash it. Each camp has its own laundry arrangements, but they sometimes need assistance with obtaining these donations
Batteries -The short days mean more flashlights will be used and that means batteries. Especially for Tent City 3 as their new site does not have power.

Current Camp Hosts and Locations

Tent City 3 - Cherry Hill Baptist Church, 700 22nd Ave. Seattle, WA 98122
Tent City 4 - Mary Queen of Peace, 1121 228th Ave SE, Sammamish, WA 98075
Tent City 5 - Interbay Neighborhood in Ballard, 1601 15th Ave. W (cross street Garfield, under the Magnolia Bridge), Seattle, WA 98119
Camp Unity Eastside - Saint Teresa of Calcutta, 17856 NE Woodinville Duvall Rd, Woodinville WA 98077
Camp United We Stand - St. Dunstans Church, 722 N 145th St, Shoreline, WA 98133
Camp Second Chance - Public Property in White Center, 9625 Myers Way S. Seattle, WA 98108
Nicklesville Ballard - Public property in Ballard, NW Market Street, Seattle, WA
Nicklesville Othello - 7544 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Seattle, WA
Nicklesville Union Tiny House Village - Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, 22nd and E Union, Seattle, WA
Nickelsville Georgetown - 1000 S. Myrtle St., Seattle, WA
Licton Springs Village - Private Property belonging to the Low Income Housing Institute, 8620 Aurora Ave N just south of Seattle Fabrics

Anatomy of a Camp Move:

Many of the camps we serve have to move about 4 times a year.  The move process takes a lot of planning, and hard work.  Imagine picking up everything you own, including your house and moving it across town every three months. 
Prior to a move, a camper with experience is designated as the “Move Master.” This person will coordinate all of the work involved with moving as well as gathering needed supplies.  GSC includes move supplies as a part of our budget. These can run about $400 per move and includes items like trash bags, zip ties, gorilla tape, and hammers, nails work gloves and brooms.  In some cases we have also rented vans and supplied a driver. Prior to the move, the move master will plot out the new camp layout to make sure everything needed will fit at the new site.  Before move day the camp may try to stage a few items at the new location. 
On move day there is a crew breaking down the camp at the old site and another stationed at the new site setting up.  All campers are required to participate in the move or will be barred for a time from the camp if they do not participate.  During the move trucks are loaded and as each arrives at the new camp site they are unpacked.
Common use tents such as the kitchen and Front Desk tents are set up prior to any individual tents.  The perimeter privacy screen is erected.  Usually dump runs are needed and if it is available electrical cords are set up to run the camp’s microwave and coffee maker.   Due to the physical work required with the moves GSC also tries to make extra sure there are meals provided in both locations. Volunteers and friends who want to help with the move are always welcome. Next time one of our camps move, we encourage stopping by to lend a hand.  While it appears our camps move in one day it really takes a good couple of weeks to get really settled.

Thank you!

Thank you for participating in the mission of Greater Seattle Cares. Thank you for caring! And thank you for your donations of money, time, goods, and relationships. Your caring brings hope and change to those we serve.

Friday, January 19, 2018

January 2018 Updates

Greater Seattle Cares: What’s New?

Our GSC Board

We are excited to introduce two new Board Members. Alice Marshall is our new Board president and brings many years of experience working with non-profit organization and a whole host of administrative skills. In addition, Carola von Wrangel has joined our board. Carola also works extensively with an organization called “Food for the Poor,” that provides relief and development aid to hungry people, mainly in the Caribbean. Both Alice and Carola have been volunteering with the St. Dunstan’s meal program providing a weekly meal to camps TC3, TC5, and UWS as well as a Community meal and have developed relationships with many of our volunteers and campers. You can see pictures and read more about all the board members on our website.
We would like to thank Frances Posel and Roger Franz for their service to us. Both have provided wise guidance and we will truly miss their presence on our board.
Cindy Roat, our former president still remains in the organization with her passion to serve those experiencing homelessness. She is already drafting proposals for Greater Seattle Cares activities this year. Cindy in many ways has been our heart and soul and she continues to support GSC and all our campers.

Greater Seattle Cares: What’s not new?

With the changes to our board, the thing that has not changed is our mission to provide relief to those experiencing homelessness through providing camp infrastructure, food, supplies, access to health services and most importantly, by building friendships. If you google “Greater Seattle Cares” the following statement appears: “Greater Seattle Cares envisions a world without homelessness…” May it be so!

Greater Seattle Cares: What are our current needs?

With the drop in temperature and the recent wind and rain storms, we need to focus on cold weather needs.
Camp United We Stand Move - UWS has moved to St. Dunstan’s in Shoreline as of November 18th. Stop by and say hello or lend a hand if you are able.
Tents and Tarps - A tent used year round only lasts about a year. With Cindy Roat’s help, we are working on a schedule and budget for replacing tents as they wear out. Recently, GSC provided nine new tents to Tent City 3, but we know all the camps will be needing tents, especially during the cold weather. In addition to the tents, in order to protect the tent and to avoid leaks, durable tarps are also needed. Some of the camps are also experimenting with using canopies over the tents. The tents also sit on pallets that are covered with plywood. Once soaked through, that plywood and pallets do not last many months.
Coats and warm clothing - Now that it is cold, any cold weather clothing we can provide, especially coats, is a blessing. Keep in mind that a lot of campers are larger men. New undergarments are always appreciated.
Blankets and Bedding - It is also important to make sure the campers have ample bedding and the ability to wash it. Each camp has its own arrangements, but they sometimes need assistance with obtaining these donations. They also need occasional help with transportation to the laundry facilities and with funds to wash the bedding.
Batteries -The short days mean more flashlights will be used and that means batteries.

Current Camp Hosts and Locations

Tent City 3 - Seattle Pacific University, McKenna Hall, between W. Bertona St. and W. Nickerson St, Seattle
United We Stand - St. Dunstans Church, 722 N 145th St, Shoreline, WA 98133
Tent City 4 - Mary Queen of Peace 1121 228th Ave SE, Sammamish, WA 98075
Tent City 5 - Interbay Neighborhood in Ballard, 1601 15th Ave. W (cross street Garfield, under the Magnolia Bridge), Seattle, WA 98119
Licton Springs Village - Private Property belonging to the Low Income Housing Institute, 8620 Aurora Ave N just south of Seattle Fabrics
Camp Unity Eastside - Saint Teresa of Calcutta 17856 NE Woodinville Duvall Rd, Woodinville WA 98077
Camp Second Chance - Public Property in White Center, 9625 Myers Way S. Seattle, WA 98108
Nicklesville Othello -7 544 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Seattle, WA
Nicklesville Union - Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, 22nd and E Union, Seattle, WA
Nickelsville Georgetown -1 000 S. Myrtle St., Seattle, WA

A Personal Reflection:

Carola von Wrangel

Our news is full of stories of homelessness, generally with the heading of “what are we going to do about the homeless situation in the Seattle area?” After New York City and Los Angeles, Seattle has the third largest homeless population. As much as it is an honor to work with GSC serving the needs of the homeless, those needs and the stories seem almost overwhelming.
Every Tuesday I serve in the Community Dinner program at St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church. We glean, cook and feed over 400 people each week, including providing for several encampments served by Greater Seattle Cares. On a recent Tuesday, one of the people we serve came to me with his story: He is employed, and technically not homeless. But he pays $2000 per month for his motel room, leaving no money for food, so the hot meals he receives are such a blessing. He repeated: “SUCH A BLESSING! THANK YOU!” The man is unable to pay first and last month rent plus security deposit to get into an apartment. And as we know, rents in the greater Seattle area are prohibitive. This man stays one step ahead of homelessness because of people who care, who donate, and who serve. Carola has come to Greater Seattle Cares by way of assisting one of many programs supported by our gleaners. Our gleaners ferry thousands of goods to the camps we support, as well as programs supporting those on the verge of homelessness. These gleaned goods would otherwise be disposed of.

Thank you!

We thank you for participating in the mission of Greater Seattle Cares. Thank you for caring! And thank you for your donations of money, time, goods, and relationships. Your caring brings hope and change to those we serve. For more information please visit us on the web. Greater Seattle Cares.

PO Box 77815, Shoreline WA, 98177