December 11, 2018
Meeting was called to order by Matthew Rainwater at 7:30am.
Jack moved to accept the Dec. 4 minutes, seconded by Dick. Motion passed.
Andrew said there were 625 people at the skating rink Saturday, attendance is growing. The Lincoln Theater sold out all shows last weekend.
Matthew reviewed the slate of candidates for 2019 PABA Board Members. Carol Johnson, President; Shenna Younger, Vice President; Debby Fuson, Board Member; John Brewer, Board Member; Debbie Swanson, Secretary; Jon Fager, Treasurer. John Brewer’s nomination is to fulfill Paul Martin’s term.
Kevin called for nominations from the floor. Andrew moved that the entire slate of candidates as presented be approved, seconded by Jack. Motion passed.
Jon F. presented the 2019 budget. The board voted to get membership back to 100+ by reducing membership fee to $50. He said he was audited by the Audit Committee which found his books were in order and accurately represent PABA activities. Kaj and Andrew questioned the reduction of fees. Matthew said the board felt it would provide incentive for new members so PABA could be a larger voice in the community.
Jack moved to approve the budget, seconded by Lindsey. Dues must be voted on by the membership first, no further action on the motion.
Kaj said there was no visible decrease in membership last time dues were increased and for budget purposes PABA shouldn’t assume a 20% increase in membership. He suggested reducing fees to $60 or $65 rather than lose revenue. Carol added it is a benefit for members to go to $50, we aren’t utilizing the funds we have. It is a time commitment to be here each week and buy breakfast. Kaj moved to amend the budget to today’s current membership level, recanted as membership needs to approve fee change.
Julie H. moved to approve annual membership dues being changed to $50, seconded by Jack. Motion passed.
Kevin H. moved to approve the budget, seconded by Julie H. Kaj moved to amend the budget to reflect PABA current level of membership, Andrew seconded. Motion passed.
Jon said activities such as travel and website in the budget have flexibility and cn make up the difference in the bottom line.
Matthew introduced Shenna and Amy Miller of VIMO. Amy is a social worker and explained there are inaccuracies and rumors about the homeless and their goal was to change the conversation and create allies. From 5pm to 8am they talked to Salvation Army people, those on the street and at the Veteran’s Memorial Bell, in all about 40 people. It was said they are tired of being lumped into judgments, and were upset at the vandalism of the park. They met Susan who has been homeless since 12, and is now 62. The consensus is they need access to bathrooms after 5pm. The only place is Safeway, transit bathrooms close at 4:30pm.
Shenna’s perception of the shelter was of a warm place with a meal. Sleeping is a challenge: 8 bunk bed cots, noisy, smelly, co-ed, and only 8 hours of staffing. People camp because of questioning if it’s worth it. There were 4-5 cars parked at Serenity. House where people slept and they ride busses to keep warm. Amy said they patrol every hour with lights on at 4:15am. It’s the worst part of the day where staff usher people out to the cold with nowhere to go. They are dropped off at the Salvation Army at 6am but it doesn’t open until 8am. She realized she didn’t fit in and was embarrassed to go in Safeway.
What can the public do? Hire them, rent to them, say hello. That was the number one problem, feeling invisible. Share your time. VIMO’s short term goals are to provide warmth from 5am – 8am, bathroom access, and better fact-based conversations and partnerships. Long term goals are a 24-hour place, additional social workers, and a central services location. Amy said shelter is not a solution. People out there have a plan and goals. Treatment is secondary to food and sleep. Shenna added that people who look passed out on the street most likely got warm and fell asleep because it was their first chance to do so, they are not drunk or high.
Kaj has heard that 70% of homeless have a drug dependency, what if they target 50 people a year and given them a place to sleep, help them. Amy said in a shelter it’s difficult to prepare for work. A couple Walmart employees use the shelter. There is no place for secure things. If you are at a job interview with clothes you’ve been sleeping in for days and a backpack in tow, you won’t get the job. People have trouble erasing a history of drug use.
Kevin asked what the 15 local churches are doing with their space? Lindsey said they’ve been told churches can donate money and be more effective than providing shelter.
Carol asked about age class. Amy said most are single, age 30 – 55. The latest point in time count showed 233 homeless with WA state at 22,000.
Steve B. asked about the transition. Amy talked about a man who sleeps with the door locked and closed being hard for him. He is lonely and sleeps on the floor when he has bedding. It’s an adjustment. Serenity House has a panhandling program that can help 3 people per week.
Dick asked if there is an underlying cause. Shenna said it could be lost housing, domestic violence, death of a spouse, medical bills, jail time, there are many stories.
Debby F. said she sees the younger generation has no coping skills.
Steve B moved to extend the meeting up to 15 minutes, seconded by Andrew. Motion passed.
Drug use is in the minority. Lindsey said the answer is in rent, they need smaller housing units. Debby added to look for solutions like Oxford House which is democratically-run and they learn coping skills, how to learn to live together. Mike French and Nathan West will be staying in the shelter this week.
Steve B. asked about the statistic: when the average rent increases by $100 a month, homelessness increases by 39%. When we are trying to develop economically, will this problem explode? Lindsey said the Dept of Commerce says this is the number one issue, and we can’t attract employers. He added the average WA size house is built for 2, we’re building larger houses. Steve said builders are in business to make money. Lindsey added the building industry is still recovering from the recession. Shenna said neighborhoods don’t want low income housing, including the area around the Lutheran Church in Sequim.
Dec. 18: Holiday Breakfast ($15 per person) and the high school choir will be performing at 7:15am.
Meeting adjourned at 8:45am.