Soup Brigade; Base Camp; Positive FEMA; Election Ballots; More; Love Poem To America; Song: GroundHog Day

CONTENTS 2/3/2021
Building Community
Soup Brigade
Of Course Base Camp Turns People Away
Cold Streets
Can Anyone Confirm This?
Criminalizing Homelessness
Positive FEMA Change
Ongoing Needs
Space Available?
Educate Yourself Tomorrow
Plastic Drawers?
Conservation District Ballots
Roof Inspection / Repair?
Free Desk, Mattress
Love Poem To America
Anne Feeney
Radio Free Flip: Groundhog Day

BUILDING COMMUNITY

Freedom requires responsibility. Freedom Of Speech works so much better if it includes Responsibility To Listen.

SOUP BRIGADE

Can anyone cook for tomorrow or Thursday evening, to deliver here to our house at 6:45 or 7 PM? I’ve got ingredients & containers.

The situation at Geri is unsafe due the combination of another upcoming sweep, plus some food tent volunteers again appear to be itching for a fight with the authorities. I’m not currently supporting delivery there.

Other volunteers have been working to get new systems in place. Outreach folks who are known and trusted have been setting up drop spots to leave meals near folks camping in the woods in various places. These campers are urgent not to be noticed and swept, and will not connect with strangers.

Our ability to deliver food and supplies will rely on the outreach volunteers. They’re trying to set up regular drop days and times for smaller groups scattered around our area. I have delivery folks for the next two nights. Thursday 2/4 and Friday 2/5, they will pick up here at 7 PM if I can arrange cooks. I have other outreach volunteers interested in regular mid-day Monday and Wednesday pick up for distribution. I think we are aiming for only 25 meals per day at this point, and would happily accept fewer because that’s much better than nothing. We’re still working out this new system, so expect changes. But I have supplies and ingredients. You can sign up directly with me, and deliver your hot meal here. 360-671-4511 text or email.

OF COURSE BASE CAMP TURNS PEOPLE AWAY

The head of the Lighthouse Mission / Base Camp spoke publicly on the radio last week, and confirmed that Base Camp is indeed unable to take in everyone, that there are problems they cannot handle. And he encouraged the city to create another shelter for those they must turn away. I’m tremendously relieved at this. It interrupts and contradicts the story that all those still living on streets are choosing to refuse resources. I’m heartbroken that elected officials are still repeating this.  “How dare you turn down our nice boiled liver and Brussel sprouts?!”

The tone of outrage, that people would turn down their lovely new shelter out of sheer spoiled stubbornness is very hard for me to listen to. It’s unfair to both our unhoused neighbors, and to Base Camp, setting unrealistically high expectations.

We need information collected, without blame: How many are turned away, and because of what issues? Then we can figure out how to fill those gaps. But meanwhile, we need emergency winter shelter now, today, this week.

City Hall’s street address is 210 Lottie Street, 98225.
mayorsoffice@cob.org
ccmail@cob.org

The Whatcom County Courthouse address is 311 Grand Avenue, 98225
ssidhu@co.whatcom.wa.us
council@co.whatcom.wa.us

COLD STREETS

At roughly 3am Monday morning, volunteers tried to help get 2 individuals into BaseCamp who were found dangerously chilled in the streets. One of them uses a wheelchair and was trying to sleep in it. It took a while to get a hold of someone at BaseCamp, but they wouldn’t let these people seek shelter. Not until 7am. This appears to have to do with COVID tests being unavailable at night, at least so far. But this does leave our only local shelter unavailable during the night if temperatures fall. Neighbors living on the street often don’t have access to weather reports to let them prepare.

CAN ANYONE CONFIRM THIS?

The city has posted the following. 

“Public Works crews assisted campers in gathering their belongings, offering transportation, and connections to find safe shelter and other services.” 

I cannot find a single person among the volunteers who helped campers escaped the sweep, who can confirm a single instance of such assistance from any non-volunteer. Can any of my readers here tell me of such help being given?

https://cob.org/services/safety/emergencies/covid-19/city-county-addressing-tent-encampment-and-emergency-winter-shelter-needs?fbclid=IwAR3HRswMtR8Qp4MNiMEnnMEqwhylspsBNibvwSaq1BUWXhxti5c4gqI9Ohw

CRIMINALIZING HOMELESSNESS

Washington State is having a public hearing on upcoming bill 5107. The bill would make “unauthorized camping” on any publicly owned or maintained land a misdemeanor, which would lead a massive amount of the homeless population to be criminalized and stranded with no place to go. And with a criminal record, it’s even harder to find a job or a rental. Here’s how to submit a written testimony (click ‘CON’ to show your dissent):

https://app.leg.wa.gov/CSIRemote/Senate

please feel free to share this. They will take written testimony up to tomorrow 2/4/2021 at 10:30 AM.
Committee: Housing & Local Government
Date/Time: 2/3/2021 10:30 AM
Bill/Issue: SB 5107 Homelessness/shelter
Location: Remote Public Testimony

You don’t have to do any more than click “Con” that you oppose this bill, and enter your name and contact information. When I did it, I also added that criminalizing camping creates additional barriers to employment and housing rental for people experiencing homelessness.

POSITIVE FEMA CHANGE

FEMA has changed federal reimbursement policies to accommodate homeless people staying in motels. But there are many hoops to be jumped through, apparently including getting our governor to declare an emergency. And probably the County as well. But the money can now be available.

https://invisiblepeople.tv/breaking-fema-changes-policies-to-accommodate-homeless-people-staying-in-hotels/?fbclid=IwAR2_Ngj51Bt8J5D0FW03_jFu4Yre5Nx7_YLfnOGS33RkiUsZwjfasVv99GI

ONGOING NEEDS

* Batteries AA AAA
* Hats/ mitts / mufflers
* Water,
* Different soft snack foods,
* Foot warmers, hand warmers
* Garbage bags
* Toiletries – tampons, TP & wipes, new combs and brushes, toothbrushes

SPACE AVAILABLE?

From the City’s website:

  • Space is currently available at Base Camp and the overflow facility as well as other options provided by the City, Whatcom County and partner agencies providing support for people experiencing homelessness.

I received this from a neighbor:

FYI (an dwith no bias to all the many sides of the complex issues) I walk past the Holly St drop-in center every morning and every evening, and during this entire recent crisis, though lights/heat were temporarily turned on, and beds and bedding were visibly set into standby mode, I have not seen anyone either in residence, waiting to get in, or being turned away. Since Base Camp is the intake point, turning away if any must be happening there.

EDUCATE YOURSELF TOMORROW

United Church of Ferndale is hosting an online interview with Bremerton native Richard LeMieux this Thursday February 4th at 6:30 pm. He is the author of “Breakfast at Sally’s: One Homeless Man’s Inspirational Journey”. 

In 2002 he lost his business, his home and family, ending up living in his van with his dog Willow. His story of befriending the local homeless community while sharing meals at local churches and the Bremerton Salvation Army is both brutal and inspiring. After the week we have had, this might be healing. There will be an opportunity to make a Love Offering to the Bremerton Salvation Army and HomesNOW.org. Here the link to register. 

https://greaternw.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJIrd-6spz0uHNH7UVrBBaJQgI7i5SwJa1Qj?fbclid=IwAR04kuZhzJYa7SqiPwZyGkWZ0jsA2oVAD0-oIEJeauwxyiX5popUWA83PTA

PLASTIC DRAWERS?

Wanted: clear plastic drawer sets (Rubbermaid or Sterilite type) for the tiny home villages. Thanks! Someone said they usually have them for about $5 at Habitat if anyone is up for going inside. You could call first. Until after the Civic Field sweep, you could deliver them here for safety.

CONSERVATION DISTRICT BALLOTS

Deadline To Request Ballot (Via Link): February 8, 2021

https://whatcomcd.org/board-elections

Basics (more on website-link above):
·       Election for Whatcom County Conservation District.
·       You will not automatically receive a ballot, even if you voted last year.
·       No in-person voting this year due to Covid-19.
·       Completed ballots must be mailed in or dropped off at the conversation district office by March 23rd at 4:00 p.m.
·       The conservation district’s mission is to assist land managers with their conservation choices. The district, established in 1946, works with Whatcom County landowners and farmers to manage natural resources in the county. The conservation district is governed by a board of five supervisors, who are all local residents.

ROOF INSPECTION / REPAIR?

Any recommendations for a house in Cornwall neighborhood would be appreciated.  Thanks.  rhondayounker@comcast.net  425.466.7136

FREE DESK, MATTRESS

We are giving away a sturdy, hardwood desk, and queen size mattress. Both are used but in good shape. Also a free desk chair in less good shape, but usable. We also have a twin mattress for sale for $50, and a pretty wooden cabinet for $20 obo. They are currently out front at 2728 Walnut Street.  Contact Mardi Solomon (360)325-6002.

 LOVE POEM TO AMERICA

He was still dealing with his feelings over the death of his father. His relationship with his father was complicated. His father, an educator and an activist for voting and rights for African Americans, had died in Mexico, to escape the racism of America. He was struggling to make a living as a poet, and then his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Langston Hughes, who was born on February 1, 1902, had been trying to make sense of the everyday injustices he saw in his world, when innocent young, black men, such as the Scottsboro Boys, would be accused of crimes they did not commit and sent to prison by all-white, all-male juries who ignored a supposed victim who confessed she lied.

He was on a train, to visit his mother, when he just started writing the words that came to him. Feeling the sorrow, the pain, wondering whether the darkness would ever subside, but hoping to see some light, he wrote:

“Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.
(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.
(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.
(There’s never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?
I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek—
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one’s own greed!
I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machines
I am the Negro, servant to you all.

I am the people, humble, hungry, mean—
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today—O, Pioneers!

I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.
Yet I’m the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That’s made America the land it has become.

O, I’m the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home—
For I’m the one who left dark Ireland’s shore,
And Poland’s plain, and England’s grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came
To build a “homeland of the free.”

The free?
Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?

For all the dreams we’ve dreamed
And all the songs we’ve sung
And all the hopes we’ve held
And all the flags we’ve hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay—
Except the dream that’s almost dead today.
O, let America be America again—

The land that never has been yet—
And yet must be—the land where every man is free.
The land that’s mine—the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME—
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose—
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,
We must take back our land again,
America!
O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,

And yet I swear this oath—
America will be!
Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain—
All, all the stretch of these great green states—
And make America again!”

ANNE FEENEY

“A few weeks ago Anne Feeney, our dear friend and my former music partner, fell while doing her laundry, and fractured a vertebrae.  She was hospitalized, where she contracted COVID.  She had been doing well, not showing any symptoms, but she took a turn for the worse on Friday.  She was unresponsive since then.  Dan and Amy are with her now.

Amy asked me to reach out to many of our mutual friends and ask them to stop what they were doing and sing her a song.  Thank you to all that did so.  I put them together into an hour and a half video, which Amy and Dan have been playing for her round the clock.  THANK YOU to all that contributed.

Since then she has been squeezing their hand with some strength and raising her arms at the end of songs and she even opened her eyes for about 7 hours!

I ask that if you know that she knows you, please also send me a song.  I will be loading them all up to an unlisted you tube channel sometime today so that she can hear more of our voices.

ACTION: I also ask that all of you tune into her spotify station and follow her – and lets give her some spins! in solidarity,

Viva La Feeney!  ~ Chris Chandler

RADIO FREE FLIP: GROUNDHOG DAY

A day late, but still an ear worm, and still makes me laugh. And oh so local! Thanks, Zeke Hoskin!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1usH8fxEWNA

Love/Fl!p 360-671-4511  2518 Cherry Street flip@columbianeighborhood.org

If you’re willing to share your phone and address with me, personally, I would love that, and would not share it further without your express permission.

If you want to ask me to post something, just email me. If it’s urgent, phone. If it’s a real emergency, call 911.

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