We tried to upload this to Facebook directly but errored out multiple times.
Whatcom County Council called an emergency council meeting to discuss opening up the Garden room at 322 N Commercial St, Bellingham, WA 98225. The decision to open up the building was approved. Since it was an emergency meeting, there was not a video record, but only audio. Enjoy.
Listening to this discourse I do hope it's recognized and focused on, that many homeless people have social interactive challenges around respecting other people's property, so public prejudice is against them when considering whether to rent available spaces to them. If the local social agencies would offer classes/workshops REQUIRING anyone wanting to be considered for tenancy, to acquaint themselves with expectations for ALL/ANY renters as to comply with local acceptable behaviors~I SPEAK FROM SAD EXPERIENCE, WHICH IS WHY I HESITATE TO CONSIDER SOME PEOPLE AS PROSPECTIVE TENANTS ON/IN MY PROPERTY!
Good news, albeit a bit late in my view. The City of Bellingham administration has decided to open an emergency cold weather shelter.
The mayor's office is still working out the details and getting volunteers. I will be taking a shift starting at 4 am. The shelter will be in the old Learning Center" building at Maritime Heritage Park.
As we heard at last night's city council meeting, people are upset at the apparent lack of a response by the City. I share that frustration myself, but I have also been aware of the many conversations and actions that have been going on behind the scene for several days. The wheels have been turning, slowly.
I know some will say that it is too little, too late. I won't argue.
Starting last week, when the cold weather first hit, people such as myself were worried that there might not be enough space in existing shelters for people experiencing homelessness. Several city council members and a couple of county council members made visits to the Drop In Center to see for ourselves. What I saw was re-assuring, but I was still concerned. I said that we needed to think about a back-up plan. I talked to the mayor and Port officials about some ideas.
But the Lighthouse Mission and Fountain Community Church expanded their capacity, made more room for people. The City was told that there was enough bed space. And so over the weekend, nothing materialized from the City since the was no sense of urgency. I felt that was a mistake. It worried me greatly. As we heard again last night, not everyone feels welcome or safe at the Mission's shelter. Whatever we think of the Mission, I hope we can all agree that another shelter option would be a good thing.
Which is why I am glad that the City has stepped up at last. I also hope the County will do so as well.
We are in a desperate situation. We need to raise about $3,000 to pay for 6 more days of motel rooms. We don't have enough funds to keep Winter Haven residents in motels after Thursday, but it is not safe for them to return to Winter Haven.
The freezing weather is going to continue for at least another week. During freezing weather, the porta potties can't get serviced and they are almost full. We have no running water at the moment.
Dear mayor tell the truth There are so many empty commercial buildings the city of Bellingham owns I do not understand why they just don't convert 1 into emergency center.
there's one on Redwood Avenue that sitting empty for years just sitting there with lawn mowers in it right now Turn the power on fix it up a little bit and call it good..
So how many tax exempt churches are there in Bellingham?
1 week ago · 7
The old south campus st. Joe’s/ former st. Luke’s hospital. It is sitting there empty. How about making it a homeless shelter. Men on one floor, women on another, families in another, mama’s and their children. It’s a real shame to see it just sitting empty when their are so many in dire straits.
It sounds like from your earlier post the Mayor is planning another shelter immediately. This will be a huge relief for the WinterHaven folks, right? Won’t it take the pressure off of fundraising for hotels for you?
The city of Bellingham and the Lighthouse Mission Ministries put out statements to the public that there were available beds at the mission and the drop in center. But when we went to the drop in center, they were full to capacity and there were no beds. Here is the video of that: www.youtube.com/watch?v=FhNHZRiBU1k
Multiple members of the community spoke up for the city to do more to help the homeless situation in Bellingham.
Amy Glasser, you are so passionate. It's very true, not everyone is religious, and the mission and agape are religious based, as are a number of women and children shelters. It didn't make me uncomfortable, because my religion follows theirs, but I can imagine how trapped a person, such as Sarah Elisabeth Bede, would feel at a shelter like that. "PRETEND to be okay, or be homeless. Put up with it or be homeless. Try to avoid talking about it, or be homeless"... Let me tell you, it honestly sounds like being in an abusive relationship.
Imagine if the few folks from the mission who spoke tonight would have said they are sorry to those of us they can't help or turned away, and then asked the council to help us. Instead we got arrogance, tone policing, and accusations of brain washing! And once again, nothing, from the city.
2 weeks ago · 8
Next time you end up with a van full of people to shelter, take them to Amy Glassers house. Since she's the only person doing anything to help. I'm sure she'd love to have a houseful of tweekers rethinking their life choices to hang out with!
I agree with guy with dreads. The community pays high taxes, and for what? They specifically made a new tax to help the homeless, and people DIED this month! It's not the communities responsibility. I appreciate the business owner who said he'd donate financially, and volunteer. But it is NOT the communitys responsibility to make sure services are in place for those who can't afford or keep a home. The city needs to make adjustments, and they needed to be made in the spring.
2 weeks ago · 2
I agree with Lynnette this needs to prepared in advanced better by city, county.
2 weeks ago · 2
I'm overwhelmed!! 😥 Getting the wallet out 4 HomesNow. Not Later. Because I've heard too much Bull💩. And you know What, 💲 talks...bull💩walks.
1 week ago · 1
2 weeks ago · 1
Good job Sue Mingy!! Rachel!! The young trans woman!! Everyone. Does this make Homes Now Tiny Houses all the more wise?
2 weeks ago
Oh Sarah Elisabeth Bede I cried with you 😪
2 weeks ago
You should invite the bums from Seattle up here so you can claim a bigger crises and extort more money from the city.
Do we know how much money has been raised by the homes now group? And how much money has been paid out for hotel rooms? I’m wondering if that money might’ve been spent better renting out a larger space rather than hotel rooms. I’m worried about donor fatigue. It seems if they rent out a larger space for the money they’ve received could’ve had a roof instead of a camp, and they wouldn’t of needed the city to do anything.
It sounds like there is a problem finding enough volunteers and case management. Not to mention the problems with the typical rumor mill that happens.
Thank you very much for posting last night’s City Council’s public testimony.
Thanks to all for standing up and speaking up.
1 week ago · 1
I keep telling all of you to arm your selves with the facts about the grand solar minimum and planet x system..instead of talking about weather as if it's just some strange anomaly caused by human activity and just suddenly happened mysteriously..if u want to get ahead of this purposeful genocide then USE FACTS..THEY KNOW WHATS HAPPENNING WITH POLE SHIFT CONFRONT THEM WITH THE REAL DATA AND SEE HOW FAST SHIT FLIPS..or continue on with your libtarded reactionary bullshit pleading with the powers that be that simply dont give 2 fucks about your demonstrations..I NOTICE STILL YOU ALL HAVE ENOUGH TIME AND RESOURCES..TO BITCH WHINE..PAY YOUR PHONE AND NET BILLS..GROW UR OWN DOPE AND FILL YOUR LIVES AND HOMES WITH STUFF AND THINGS WHILE SAYING YOU CARE FOR THE HOMELESS..BUT WHEN IT COMES DOWN TO IT U ALL RUN HOME AND NONE OF YOU TAKES ANYONE HOME WITH YOU NOR DO YOU EVER ARM YOURSELVES WITH FACTS..AND WHEN REAL ACTIVISTS CONFRONT YOU WITH YOUR BLINDSPOTS YOU BLOCK IGNORE AND DISCREDIT THEM AS CRAZY ALL THE WHILE KISSING POLITICAL ASS AND PREACHING PEACE..GENOCIDE THROUGH OMISSION AND PRETTY PEACE WORDS IS STILL VIOLENCE AGAINST THE POOR..sick!!
Oh hey, since you can't spend any money with us tonight (staff party) you might consider donating that beer money burning a hole in your pocket to a local organization that helps keep our neighbors experiencing homelessness warm. HomesNow. Not Later. is in desperate need of help from the community.
Update: We're going to go ahead and up the ante on this one, for every dollar donated we'll match it. Let's take care of our neighbors, friends.
Saturday Morning Live - KGMI - Doug Gustafson - HomesNOW Host Kris Halterman discusses the needs and plans for the “Homes Now,” nonprofit organization with Douglas Gustafson II. What is their mission statement; their goals; their needs to bring the dream of secure shelter for the homeless in Bellingham and Whatcom County.
Residents response: Being Part of a Community, and being in a Safe Place, were the two largest reasons they gave for choosing to live at Winter Haven. That was followed with having access to bathroom, kitchen, shower.
HomesNOW! Not Later is an all-volunteer, privately funded group of people working to provide shelter for the homeless in Bellingham and Whatcom County. Our mission is to address basic human needs of homeless individuals and help them in the process of getting back on their feet. Click here to check....
Also - please continue to do videos like this. It helps put a face to our homeless population and hopefully will decrease the stigma and help naysayers understand that the residents are HUMAN and deserve all of the opportunity as the next person.
1 month ago · 3
Wisc <3 I'm glad to see you safe. First step out of homelessness in my opinion is having a roof over your head of some sort. Basic security. I wish you all of the best!
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Bellingham Voices - 501- Winter Haven Deb first talks with Richard Sepler, City of Bellingham Planning and Community Development Director, about homelessness in our community. Then they talk about Winter Haven, a new cold weather camp at City Hall.
Deb's second guest is Jim Peterson, president of HomesNOW! Not Later, the organization building and managing Winter Haven at City Hall. Jim talks about his experiences being homeless, and his life-long dream to house the homeless.
I shared with several friends, with Whatcom Real News, Whatcom Gardeners, Art & Culture News Stories, Birchwood Neighborhood, and asked if the Columbia and Sunnyland Neighborhood Associations would share the video.
Community Food Co-opFacebook live tip: The person with the phone needs to up front by the speakers. Can’t zoom in on audio.
2 months ago
I had to leave the meeting before the volunteer sign-ups went around. I cannot seem to find where to sign up online. Anyone have an easy tip, especially on signing up to volunteer with winter haven shifts and also possibly intakes... thanks!
Please donate gently used or new warm coats and hoodies, and new socks. All items will be donated to HomesNow. Not Later. Collection boxes in all three Co-op locations through January 1. #coops4kindness
I am really sorry but I am not able to attend to the City Council meeting tonight. I am counting on you all to speak about how amazing Winterhaven will be for the residents, community and agencies that work with them. ...
All regularly scheduled classes will be canceled on Thursday, Nov. 22 for Thanksgiving.
We will have a benefit class for HomesNow. Not Later. on Thursday, Nov. 22 with Ingela.
9 - 10:30 AM
Suggested donation of $20 cash or check written to HomesNow. Not Later.
Classes will resume as normal on Friday, Nov. 23.
*except for Friday 8 AM Iyengar Flow which will resume Nov. 30.*
I have made a very difficult decision and that is to step down from all my lead responsibilities at HomesNOW for the foreseeable future. I will still be trying to keep my car filled with clothes/gear/essentials for those on the streets and will help on projects as my time allows. Instead I will be focusing on my family and some medical stuff coming up over the next few months.
Please send all questions about the Summit to Jim Peterson as he will be looking for someone to take on the coordination of the Summits starting immediately.
It has been an absolute pleasure to serve the community with you all for the past 15 months (except I missed September 2018). I would like to say we have made a huge amount of progress but we have not. I do think that with the work you all have done, we have saved some lives, helped some people get healthy and gotten some people housing. But we still have no real government support except words at this point.
I will definitely continue to go to city and county council meetings to remind them of their responsibilities to all the citizens of Whatcom County, not just those that have 4 walls and a roof.
I will also continue to shine light on the institutions that portray themselves as caring but in fact treat our houseless, mentally ill and addicted population like shit. That is you St Joseph Hospital, the local governmental agencies and businesses that are too selfish to see beyond the dollar signs.
And BTW we can thank the city for spending our tax dollars lining the side streets with huge boulders and putting up more no parking and 2 hour parking signs so people who are homeless cannot park or camp safely. I am not going to stop shedding light on the inhumane practices our city spends money on to fuck up people who are already struggling. ...
Thanks You for being: Mental Health Ombudsman, Summit Organizer Extraordinaire, Mobile Supply Wagon, Advocate/ Liaison. What else have I missed??!! No doubt you can use some time for yourself. I look forward to working with you in the future. Onward.
4 months ago · 2
Thank you so much for your unwavering advocacy for the homeless. I hope that you and your family will be able to surmont any obstacles the future holds for you. You have inspired me to do what little I can do to help others with your fierce advocacy for the homeless. Thank you, again.
I didn't know you but I've been following. As a fellow human working to help people with mental illness - thank you for your advocacy! You're one fierce force. I wish you all the best.
4 months ago · 2
I still dont feel right in the inner area where they drew blood
4 months ago
Im pretty sure the hospital used a used needle in me or something because i had serious bruising and days of shaky weakness in that arm that wasnt having problems before and now im having really bad circulation problems too but in my legs feet arms hands etc
We Wanted to thank all the volunteers who made it to the last Summit on Sunday the 20th. We had a lot of volunteers show up and it really made the difference. Thank you Amy Glasser for helping with managing the donated goods/supplies for donation, and thank you for driving forward with signing up volunteers. Thank you to all the volunteers who helped to distribute the clothing and supplies as well. Thank you Markis Dee and JC Mansfield for organizing and helping with the shower truck. Thank you JC Mansfield for getting our volunteer list and contacting new volunteers.
We wanted to thank all the volunteers who have worked with HomesNOW, new volunteers and those who have been with us from the start. We have multiple passionate volunteers and we appreciate their support. But also keep in mind if you are a volunteer that HomesNOW is a legal and official non-profit, but we do not operate the same as other non-profits. We are made up of 100% volunteers. None of us get paid. Sometimes it's easy to fall into a pattern where volunteering feels like a job with no pay. We don't want anybody to feel that way, and that's why we have as much as possible had the policy of decentralization, so that the load of doing everything is distributed between more people, so if one person can't volunteer, there's more than enough to share the load. We want volunteering to be fun and interesting. If you'd like to volunteer with HomesNOW, we have an application on our website. Also if you don't want to fill out our volunteer form, just show up at any of our events, also a link on the website.
Thank you to all the volunteers who have helped so far, we wouldn't be as far as we are now without you but please never feel obligated to help HomesNOW if there's a scheduling conflict or if you just want to take a break for a while. It's ok, nobody is indispensible, even Jim and myself. The leadership of HomesNOW wants to operate the organization in a decentralized fashion in which people pick up the work that they want to do, but not have to feel obligated to do it if they don't feel like it. If you think you can do something and you want to contribute, just do it, you don't need permission or hand-holding from us, use your best judgement call. But if there's something that we need to change or adapt to, then we'll do so. Jim and I have a vision of HomesNOW providing housing to those who need it most. That is the primary goal. All the other stuff such as the summits, the shower truck, the sleepout and everything else are secondary goals. The reason why these secondary goals have been done first rather than second is because we have not been able to secure land to build tiny homes, and we don't just want to sit on our hands. By accomplishing these secondary goals and remaining consistent, we show that we are serious and that we can handle larger goals in a professional manner in order to quickly and efficiently help homeless individuals. This isn't about Jim, this isn't about me, this is about helping those who need it most.
Some announcements about the office:
HomesNOW was considering closing our office on DuPont Street in order to save some money on monthly expenses. This is because we are committed to keeping our admin costs for this non-profit at 5% of total operations and we want all the money to go to helping homeless individuals directly, none of us get paid, and we are all volunteers. Office Space counts as admin costs however. But luckily we were able to keep the office open, thanks to Charlie Storrs for helping with paying rent for our office space. Also it seems that the office is moving to a new location on the waterfront. We'll have more details on that soon. We move to the new office December 1st.
Updates on Unity Village and the proposed Tiny Home community:
HomesNOW has a number of other projects that we are working on. The first is Unity Village. Unity Village is our proposed site at Northwest Avenue where we were planning to build about 20 tiny homes to help those who have some income (such as veterans benefits, Social Security, SSI, or low-income) but who are homeless.
The main barrier at this point to Unity Village is that in order to get a power pole to the location, it would cost around $50,000 to pay Puget Sound Energy to put up the pole. That pretty much blows the project out of budget for us for this particular location. We are ready to go with Unity Village as soon as we are able to secure the funds for that. If you know anybody that has $50,000 laying around, please let us know.
We have not stopped looking for a site though, we are just going to be seeking alternative sites which might be more within our price range (minus a very generous donor coming out of the woodwork). Most of the documentation that we've written for Unity Village is easily transferrable to another site (minus the schematics/blueprints of the site layout itself).
If you or anybody else you know of is willing to help us buy or use private land, we can also do it that way as well and would get us around having to work through the government. We'll keep you posted on any new details when we find a new site.
Updates on our Winterhaven proposal:
HomesNOW has also crafted a proposal for the city of Bellingham called Winterhaven. This would be a temporary tent encampment to help homeless individuals get through the winter, it would be in operation just through the winter if it goes through. Winterhaven would be drug and alcohol-free. There would be a fence and check-in/check-out station for those leaving or entering the camp (in accordance with the city and county ordinances around temporary encampments).
Friday, October 12th, Jim and I met with the Planning Director (Rick Sepler) and the chief of police, David Doll to discuss the prospects for setting up Winterhaven on city land. In the absence of a site offered to us, we decided to propose a specific location.
The site we proposed to the city was the parking lot of the baseball fields by civic field, in the Puget neighborhood (about a block up the street from where I live), this was the proposed site because those baseball fields are not used in the winter, there's a lot of parking and there are full bathrooms on site (minus the showers, but we have that covered with the shower truck).
The city told us that we could apply for a site, but that we shouldn't propose any specific sites, that they would look for a site, but that we shouldn't submit a specific site. We turned in the non-specific site application shortly after the meeting. Jim and I are meeting with the city again this Friday to discuss the proposal and to hear what the city has to offer in terms of barriers or progress.
HomesNOW has a handbook of policies for any temporary tiny home encampment or tent encampment. The handbook and all the proposed plans are available on our website for those who might have questions or concerns. Thank You Danielle Amari-Benz for helping to draft and update our documents for our Handbook, for Unity Village, and for WinterHaven. They are extremely professional, easy to read, and continue to get better and better.
Updates on the Sleepout happening December 1st:
Another thing we are working on is that there is going to be a sleepout at Maritime Heritage Park starting December 1st in order to raise awareness about homeless crisis in Bellilngham and Whatcom County that is not being addressed with enough urgency.
The sleepout will be drug and alcohol-free. We will have some basic fencing and a check-in/check-out station in order to better keep track of who comes and goes. In 2017 our sleepout lasted 18 days on the lawn of city hall, and we learned a lot. This time, the sleepout will be at Maritime Heritage Park..
Last year we had an outpouring of community support and it helped to raise awareness around the homelessness crisis in Bellingham and Whatcom County. We hope that this year we will have an even greater impact on raising awareness. This is about the community being able to meet homeless individuals and learn about their various challenges, and work toward solutions to help.
Last year we were even able to help house people indirectly by simply communicating, networking, listening and getting them in touch with what they needed. Amy Glasser helped provide case management, and helped people get to the hospital who needed it. We were able to get a young woman back in touch with her parents, we were able to help a few others find their own housing as well.
Many people don't realize that around 40% of the homeless population has a job or some form of income. With rents as sky high as they are and rising steeply, it's no wonder why we're seeing more and more people falling through the cracks, becoming homeless or living in their car or tents. This is a phenomenon happening all around the country.
We are meeting this saturday to discuss our plans for the sleepout. We will have more updates on the sleepout as new information comes in, after this weekend. Once again thank you everybody for all your support and generous donations of time, energy and money. Everything helps a little bit, and it all adds up. We'll keep you posted. ...
Wow! You guys have been busy! And lots of good news. Couple of questions: When will you/we be at the new office and need address to mail a donation from a friend? [It's NOT $50,000] but it is appreciated. How does food work at the sleepout?
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HomesNow. Not Later.Gal needs clothing small/medium size (everything). I have socks and sleeping bag. Office closes at 5pm for the weekend. Amy is gone for the week. Susan has not responded to my pm yet (storage) and I will be out of town for the weekend. Joshua Bowman is the contact volunteer and I am awaiting response... I have contacted Carmen (storage truck) for a coat, and we may have t-shirts on the Shower Truck. Markis will be in town later this evening to retrieve. I have contacted Vickie to see who may be the best volunteer to help with this effort while Amy is absent. Any suggestions would be great! I will be here until 5pm...
HomesNow. Not Later.Thank you EVERYONE who showed up yesterday! We appreciate ALL of you! For those who were attending as Summit guests who missed their chance to share their story about being homeless with our local visiting journalist "Lexi" (who is writing about homelessness in the Klipsun), you can reach her by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org <3 We really want to shine 💥some light on the TRUTH about homelessness in Whatcom County! So thank you for all who have the courage to speak out!
Join us for our October Homeless Event. This month we feature the Sikh Langar Feast, ShowersNOW shower truck, Clothing and Gear closet, the Vet Care (for dogs and cats only) and socialize. Fingers crossed for sun. Check out the event on Facebook at www.facebook.com/events/268838323838702/
To keep HomesNOW running we need more VolunteersNOW, not later. We could use 30-40 committed people to work on our projects (Summit, Shower Truck, Unity Village, Administration, social media, and more. Here is an example of what I need to keep the summit running smoothly. So far a few have done most of the work. We need some more helpers. Training to help with the ShowersNOW truck will take place at noon the same day as the summit ( October 21st Sunday) at Maritime Heritage Park. These photos are what the few do every month for the food/clothes/gear part of every summit. PM me if you want to help. I will be hosting a brief meeting for all new and old volunteers to pick what they would like to help with and get some direction, if desired. ...