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Sanctuary Village Presents 10 F.A.Q. to City Council
Following an attack on Sanctuary Village by fear-monger smear blog, Stab Santa Cruz, homeless advocates present a 5 minute PowerPoint presentation that faces down 10 of the toughest questions. See video of the presentation.
HERE IS A LINK TO CITY COUNCIL MEETING VIDEO:
View video of Sanctuary Village's PowerPoint presentation to City Council on tuesday. Advance video to 2:44:44
1. Sanctuary Village a tent city?
No, a sanctuary-type camp is highly organized and well regulated, with a specific set of material and conceptual elements that help to create a clean and safe environment for all. Main features include a boundary fence encircling the camp, an intake desk that is staffed 24 hours a day and a set of strongly enforced rules that must
be Is agreed upon before admittance. Other basic elements are porta-pots and a trash dumpster. Sanctuary-type camps are usually temporary and itinerant; meaning they move to different host sites at periodic intervals. Various camps in Seattle and Olympia, WA are legally obligated to move every 90 days. This protects property values from being adversely affected by a stationary permanent camp.
2. Didn’t we try this before in Santa Cruz and we found that it didn’t work?
Those camps of the past weren’t organized or regulated. The ones that did have rules were powerless to enforce them, and that is what ultimately did them in. The advocates of this project learned first hand from their experience at the camp at Occupy Santa Cruz that the ability to get a good night’s sleep is critical to good physical and emotional health. Having a reliable place to sleep and a guarantee of safety is crucial to the balance required to address the problems that may have been responsible for the homelessness in the first place.
3. Do we expect the city to fund it?
This project will be community supported through fundraising and donations. Only after a period of proven success at moving people out of homelessness and effectively reducing the high price that the city pays in dealing with homelessness would the project ever seek government funding.
4. Won’t this attract more homeless people to Santa Cruz?
The transient homeless population will not be admitted into the camp, and, therefore, the word that travelers can stay at the camp won’t spread outside of the county. This project is designed to serve our localized homeless population. It is known that nearly 70% of our area’s homeless population resided in Santa Cruz prior to becoming homeless and 40% lived here for +10 years prior. Our localized homeless often have family and/or friends in the area, and this has been their home. We are committed to giving them the tools they need to heal their situations and to begin to thrive here.
5. Will it increase crime in the area in and around the camp?
Sanctuary-type camps and villages actually reduce crime. We have several data sets from various police departments in Portland, Seattle and Olympia documenting that areas around these sanctuary-type communities actually see a drop in crime.
Police calls from within these camps are lower per capita than the cities at large. There are four easy reasons for this. 1) The camp has strictly enforced rules within the camp (No violence, no theft, no drugs or alcohol, no repeated disruptions, 10 hours of service duty etc.). 2) A sanctuary camp has a built-in resident, volunteer, orange-vest crew that regularly patrols the surrounding area, which reduces crime. 3) These camps maintain good relationships with local law enforcement. Law enforcement finds value in them because officers often spend too much of their time (and budget) dealing with the effects of general homeless vagrancy and illegal camping. Locally, police will be able to direct localized homeless individuals to the camp instead of repeatedly issuing camping citations. Local law enforcement will have easy access to our rules and will always be welcome inside the camp.
6. Will it increase litter and defecation in the area?
Areas around Sanctuary-type camps are always safer and cleaner because of the orange-vest cleaning/safety crew of resident volunteers. These volunteers walk around the area picking up trash and making sure that the area is generally safe. This is one reason why these camps are routinely invited back to their host properties and communities because they are such good neighbors.
7. Will it be in close proximity to schools and homes?
Ideally, this project will be in areas that are not in close proximity to homes or schools, and yet, it has been proven that sanctuary-type camps have no adverse effect on either. The Seattle police department has documented that Tent City #4 (which is a sanctuary-type itinerant camp in existence for more than 15 years and moves every 90 days to a different host site) has been located within 2 blocks of a school on at least 10 occasions and has received no complaints. On one occasion, it was located on the same block as an elementary school. Sanctuary homeless communities are usually temporary, itinerant camps that move regularly. In Seattle, they are legally expected to move every 90 days. This ensures that property values won’t be adversely affected and that different neighborhoods have the chance to interact and offer various types of support, such as extra tents and bedding, jobs, and food and money donations.
8. Won’t this just be a place for homeless people to use drugs?
Sanctuary-type camps are clean and sober environments which have strict no drug and alcohol policies. If residents regularly violate this rule, they must leave the camp. Our project already has a partnership with local drug addition support meetings and will direct (if not shuttle) residents to nightly meetings nearby.
9. Won’t this adversely affect property values of homes and businesses?
Sanctuary-type camps are usually temporary and itinerant, meaning they move around from place to place. Because of this they don’t adversely affect property values because they exist in an area for a short time. These camps actually help improve property values. The very definition of homelessness, means that people are sleeping around, outside in our community. A sanctuary-type camp creates a clean, and safe place for people to sleep and keep things. This reduces general homeless vagrancy and the eventuality of people sleeping nearby along the train tracks, in open fields, in bushes, in doorways in the business district or in our natural areas.
10. How will this help homeless people change their situations and find housing?
Sanctuary-type camps, by definition, are a “pathway to housing,” immediately removing a person from sleeping in the inhospitable outdoors. and giving them the stability of a safe and clean place to sleep and keep personal belongings. Our project has a housing placement function as well as a jobs program. We aim to have a close relationship with the Homeless Services Center, 180/180, Homeless Person’s Health Project, MHCAN, The Homeless Garden Project etc. There will be access to drug cessation support meetings seven nights a week. In Seattle and Portland, where these projects have been working for over a decade, there is proof that people are able to move up and out of homelessness through the sanctuary camp model.
Between 2011 and 2013, the percentage who reported having lived in Santa Cruz County at the time they became homeless increased from 67% to 72%. More than half (53%) of homeless respondents had lived in the county for 3 years or more. 31% for 10 years or more. 5% had been in the area for 30 days or less. http://www.appliedsurveyresearch.org/storage/database/homelessness/santacruz/Homeless2013_SantaCruz_FullReport.pdf
According to the police in Seattle, Shoreline, Tukwila, Bothell, Kirkland, Bellevue, and Woodinville, there has been no measurable increase in crime in neighborhoods near any Tent City. On May 21, 2004, the Seattle Times published an independent investigation, which found that SHARE/WHEEL's Tent Cities do not affect crime. Law enforcement has made regular daily contact with Tent City. Unscheduled visits are made several times a day. Chief Kent Baxter told the City Council that this arrangement had been successful for Tent City 4 and the local residents.
Crime statistics show decreased crime (indicated by fewer police calls) in the Sunderland Yard area since Dignity Village moved in. From 2007-09, the annual rate of 911 calls resulting in the dispatch of Portland Police to Dignity Village was lower on a per capita basis than the citywide average.
Kristina Smock for Portland Housing Authority
Residents do litter patrol of TC4 and surrounding areas. http://www.northshoreucc.org/TC4.html
Tent City 3 is scheduled to return to HLUMC July 12th for 90 days. Donations of homemade cookies gratefully accepted!
“Tent City has now been located near or beside schools in about half of its nine sites over two years. School officials have not reported any incidents of Tent City residents having contact with schools or their children, except to lessen the amount of litter in the area. And during the entire history of all Tent Cities, not a single child or other neighbor has been harmed by any Tent City resident, according to police records.” http://www.northshoreucc.org/TC4.html
The typical length of stay for residents is about 6 weeks.“Residents of the 2004 Tent City stay in Woodinville now work and live in Woodinville—such as at McLendon’s and Woodinville Lumber. Other residents, after living a more settled, safe lifestyle surrounded by community volunteers coming and going 24/7, repair relationships with families and move home. Many residents develop friendships with others living in Tent City: After saving money in the free shelter while working, they pool their savings in groups of 2 or 4 people to rent housing together. “ http://www.northshoreucc.org/TC4.html
140 former residents have gotten full time jobs and have moved away from the village into conventional housing. http://dc407.4shared.com/doc/AaRx8YH9/preview.html