Community Meeting - Proposed Safe Lots
Community Meetings - What Comes Next?
Recent activity by the City Council has prompted many people to reach out to the Club to see if or how we can represent the neighborhood in future plans or engagement. The short answer is – we can, we are, and we will.
After news reports about the Safe Lots program initially proposed for Genesee Park we immediately contacted the Mayor’s office to offer the Club as a venue for community engagement.
The good news is the that our offer was accepted. The initial plans have now been sent back for further review we are waiting until there is a new proposal. If this includes our neighborhood the Club is a great venue to facilitate discussions.
Two Board members also attended the South Seattle Crime Prevention Council on Wednesday 6th March. The topic of the evening was the Safe Lots. The City was represented by the Department of Neighborhoods and Department of Human Services. The community was represented by around 300 people.
Some of the highlights from the evening:
How sites are selected
· Sites considered would be low or no cost to the City
· Ability to have electricity outlets
· Must be able to support hygiene facilities (showers/toilets etc)
· Area possible to limit access (entrance/exit)
How the site would be run
· Adults only, no families with children
· Applicants pre-screened – no sex offenders, or violent criminal offenders allowed into the program
· Only those who agreed to work with a case manager would be accepted
· Cars only, no RV’s and the car must be in working order
· Cars must vacate during the day. Only park in the lot between sundown and sunrise
· No drugs or alcohol permitted (unclear how this would be monitored other than if seen directly with either substance)
· If anyone was found to be violent, breaking the rules of the site, using drugs/alcohol the program manager would invite them to leave and then work with SPD to remove them (no additional SPD resources had been allocated to this)
· Limited to 30 cars
· Budget of $250,000 allocated
Many other details were asked for by the audience but could not be provided at the meeting. However, the spokespeople did state that they would take these questions back and endeavor to answer them and send to the South Seattle Crime Prevention Council.
A statement from Bruce Harrell (City Council President and current District 2 representative) was read out in opposition to the proposed safe lot at Genesee or anywhere else in the District.
A permit had been applied for at Genesee by LIHI (although not granted) but was withdrawn just prior to the meeting on the 6th March. It was stated that this was “presumptive” and not appropriate.
It had been the direct intervention by the Mayor that had stopped this project and she has asked for the project to be looked at again and community engagement to be part of this process.
A further review of the program and any potential locations is now underway. Once any plans are formulated, community engagement will begin.
This program was aimed specifically to look at the population of people experiencing homelessness who are living in their cars (not RV’s). This is based on the “success” of a similar program that had been run in San Diego. However, full success criteria for this program was not shared or defined.
Details of some of the current programs devoted to the homeless crisis and performance measures can be found at www.allhomekc.org
The next meeting of the South Seattle Crime Prevention Council will have Mayor Durkan in attendance on April 3rd. The address is Southeast Seattle Senior Center (SESSC), located at 4655 South Holly Street (the southwest corner of Rainier Avenue South and South Holly). More info at www.southcpc.org
N.B. The information above is by no means comprehensive and exhaustive. Instead it is a brief summary of the information presented at the meeting.
Please feel free to send through ideas of how you would like us to engage the City going forward. If you have ideas for other kinds of community-based meetings let us know the subjects, speakers and formats you would like to see us arrange. All ideas are welcome.