Good Morning campers it’s Markis Dee from HomesNOW.
 
This is all about the winter outreach. I’m really going to try to keep this brief. I tend to be long-winded.
 
I want to thank everybody who’s been donating to HomesNOW. There’s going to be money needed for the winter outreach. As the money comes in, we’ll have enough to save up for purchasing a whole property. It takes a village. We’re all going to do this!
 
Winter outreach last year was born from an independent citizens group. It had a lot of support from HomesNOW. At this point we’re moving forward with HomesNOW with great new leadership. I’m so very happy to be sitting on the board with partners, with Doug Gustafson, With Lizzy, with Carol, with JC, with Nick Lewis. It’s an incredible ride and I intend to be impeccable with this.
 
Myself and JC last year were the de-facto leaders of the Winter Outreach. It was something we decided we needed to do, it was an idea born out of the need for hot water bottles. It was an idea that was shared by myself and JC’s daughter. When it got cold, JC’s daughter said “get those hot water bottles going”. We went out and we did that.
 
Hot water bottles, you want the good ones with the hard lids on them. Get yourself a cooler, fill it about 1/3rd full with piping hot water. You can either fill the bottles by submerging them in the hot water in the cooler or fill them individually, whatever works for you.
 
Water source in Bellingham for hot water. I’m working on that ok. Last year we were camped out at Winter Haven with the HomesNOW camp. At that location they had piping hot water coming out of the back of city hall and I’m trying to negotiate with them to get that turned back on during outreach. I don’t think it will be a problem, if it is a problem, we can ALL petition them to turn it back on. It’s really a great source. I’ll try to have cones out there so that a person can back up with their vehicle.
 
Bring a short hose of your own in the car because the hose will freeze. You want to have your own hose with you, hook it up to the spigot, and then fill your stuff up right there. Fill your cooler 1/3rd full and then get out of the way and then do everything with your bottles later. You want to use the bottles with the hard caps on them that wont leak. If you press them really hard and even one drop of water comes out, throw it away, you can kill somebody if you get them cold and wet at night, and that’s not our goal of course.
 
A 20oz bottle can be kept right between your legs, along the femeral artery, put it under their armpit, put it next to their heart, have them put it in their coat. People usually know what to do with these when you hand it to them in the freezing, freezing cold.
 
Ok so that’s the water bottles deal. I want to also say that we have access to a storage facility. Shari Lapov is the one to coordinate with. This one’s important. She’s our main summit coordinator and she’s a dynamo in our community. Shari deserves a medal. The location of hope christ church is at 710 E Sunset Dr, Bellingham, WA 98225. Please arrange to have you meet her there for donations.
 
It’s really important, when it’s wet and cold and all the snow is on everything, a lot of folks just have a sleeping bag on them getting snowed on directly. You can walk up and see that it’s going to be a mess by the time they get up in the morning.
 
These are our unhoused citizens on Bellingham streets. These people, about 60% or more, had their last address within the city, where they used to pay their rent, used to have a job, used to pay taxes, in Bellingham and Whatcom County. Nobody wants to live on the street, well maybe some, the ascetics. Let’s not paint them all that way though.
 
There’s a lot of people out there who want to get off the street. There’s a lot of people out there who ARE NOT junkies. Whatever the reason you’re out there, when it gets that cold, when you got a hot water bottle in your hand, believe me, whatever their decision was at that time, whatever it was, it’s not a death sentence. Whatever led them to that place, it’s not a death sentence. We as citizens can help.
 
Sleeping bags, coats, boots, socks, socks, socks, SOCKS, everything you think you might need on the street.
 
I want to say this: PLEASE!
 
Also our location for Unity Village, down at fairhaven (210 McKenzie Avenue Bellingham, WA 98225). It’s down near the post point wastewater treatment facility, where the sewage goes in Bellinham. If you can get there during daylight hours, we can also take donations there as well. We have limited space at Unity Village, we’re starting to fill up our capacity, happy about that. Either way, we’ll take it.
 
Also keep these items in the backseat of your own car. How the citizens outreach works is that it’s a citizen’s outreach team. If you want to get involved, you can even comment on this thread.
 
I’ll make sure that you get into a group chat that we did last year that formed overnight, with donors, with drivers. It’s a chat, you’re phone goes “ding ding ding ding”. My phone’s been going “ding ding ding” all morning, in the last hour and a half. I’ve had to turn it down so I could make this video.
 
The emergency winter shelter hotline in Bellingham. When it gets below 28 degrees F (-2C), also when they are at capacity at the Mission, then they will finally open the winter shelters, winter emergency shelters.
 
This is a point of contention for me. I think we need more shelters open all the time, I think we need more daytime shelters. We’ve come a long way though. I’m part of the solution on that as well. I tried and tried and tried with the Whatcom Homeless Strategies Workgroup. I’m not going to toot my own horn on that, other than largely we both succeeded, but also we failed. There’s going to be hundreds of people in the streets kids, that’s just the reality of it. It’s just the reality of it…
 
You can listen to the audio of the minutes from the Workgroup if you’d like to listen:
 
The hotline is 360-788-7983. This is the emergency winter shelter hotline in Bellingham. It’s going to get very cold this next week.
 
I need hats, coats, BLANKETS, BLANKETS, BLANKETS, and sleeping bags, tents, your old survival gear, whatever it is, stuff gets trashed out there on the street, especially in the sloppy snow and slush, or just very cold rain. Stuff gets stolen, stuff gets left behind because it’s soaking wet and they can’t possibly carry it.
 
But please consider giving as much as you can. I think we cleaned out the closets pretty good in Bellingham last year, so I’m concerned that we might not have enough blankets. Emergency blankets are great, the mylar ones.
 
I also ran into a cool thing with one of our clients, mylar sleeping bags.
 
We are homesnow.org. We would love to have your tax deductible donation. We are just trying to launch like a rocket. The excitement around the solution in this community is palpable.
 
This is the end of tax season, I want you to consider your maximum allowed tax-deductible donation, in good trust and partnership with HomesNOW. Give that federal dollar to us and I promise you, you will see boots on the ground, in your community, being part of the solution.
 
Let’s do this together kids! Ok? Much love to you all. Be really safe out there if you’re going to do this outreach thing, work in teams. We can communicate in chats. It works great when it works.
 
Thank you all, be safe.
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