TCT Minutes for November 4, 2013

PRESENT: Alan, Woody, Patricia, Neal, Lisa, Vince

Nov 4, 2013
  1. Website report.
  2. Basic documents.
  3. New business cards.
  4. Patricia: Report on contact with Pastor Nina. Contact with Elder Ron about another possible church location.
  5. Neal: Logistic concerns, porta potties, children, paid staff limitations (must have 2 residents accompanying them on official business meetings)
  6. Telephone costs.
  7. Next meeting time and location.

WEBSITE REPORT: Alan gave a website report. Our web presence is small at the present time, but we are attracting some interest.

Facebook: We have 78 total likes as of today. That’s up 2.6% since last week. A lot of people went to our new website as a result of our FB announcement.

Our Website:

  • According to WordPress Jetpack analytics, our best day was Oct 20, when we had 41 views. We’ve had 284 views. Our site is quite new and there is not too much there yet, but it is obvious there is interest.
  • According to Google Analytics, between Oct 17 and November 4, we’ve had 53 unique visitors with 104 visits, and 224 page views. Average duration of visit was 4:10 minutes. Average number of pages per visit was 2.15.
  • According to BlueHost AWStats, we had 37 unique visitors, making 69 visits, checking out 311 pages in October. We went live on October 17. November shows an increase in interest. In 3 days, we have had 37 unique visitors, making 47 visits, for 339 page views. That means we’ve had more page views in the first 3 days of November than we had in the last 2 weeks of October.

BASIC DOCUMENTS: A few of these are now available for download from the site. More are going up as Alan finds time to upload them. Many of these will have open fields where you can type in something. For example, the Host Agreement has a place to type in such items as the name of the sponsoring institution, dates, various other items. These are Adobe Acrobat forms, and one can open them in the Adobe reader and type in the required information. Alan suggested vetting the Model Host Agreement with a lawyer. Patricia and Neal said this agreement and other forms  had been more-or-less adapted from SHARE/WHEEL forms and were likely vetted by lawyers.

NEW BUSINESS CARDS: The new business cards are available for download in the Basic Forms section of the site.  If you open them in Acrobat Reader or another PDF file reader, you will be able to type your name in the bottom of the card. The business cards are password protected. If you need the password, contact Alan, Neal, or Patricia.

PATRICIA’S REPORT: Patricia received an  email from Elder Ron Warren. In his email, he reports he had a meeting with Pastor Nina Body of Bethlehem Lutheran Church, and Pastor Body feels that her congregation has a mission to help the homeless in Tacoma.

We discussed Alan or Lisa getting in touch with the Rex Holbein of the Facebook page Homeless in Seattle (HIS) to see if we could run some of his material on our website. Patricia and others brought up the whole idea of “cross pollination” with other similar websites and projects. We could link with HIS and similar sites, perhaps helping them, and they could link with us, perhaps helping us. Alan will see if we can  use some of their material. One of the groups that expressed interest in connecting with us was Tent City Lakewood in New Jersey..

NEAL’S REPORT: Lisa and Neal visited Tent City 3 (TC 3) in Seattle. They were able to get a lot of insights. For example, they found out about some pitfalls TC 3 and others ran into. Previously, TC 3 faced many regulatory roadblocks, and they had to find creative ways of skirting them. Many of those roadblocks no longer exist. Neal reports that we need to look into sanitation, for example, porta potties. When Neal made inquiries, vendors did not want to discuss prices until TCT could fill out a credit application. Neal will be trying to get the information from SHARE/WHEEL about how they dealt with this. He reports having had some trouble connecting with SHARE/WHEEL but will try again. Woody says that Nickelsville might be a better place to get information.

We also need to visit the issue of accommodation as mandated by ADA (Americans with Disabilities) regulations. We discussed that resources are limited, and Neal will poke around the ADA website to get some ideas. We also need to deal with the issue of animals, pet-versus-service animals, and the gray area between these classifications. Emotional support animals are sometimes neither pets nor service animals. It was suggested we consult with Cheryl the Veteran, who has some knowledge of these issues and some experience.

Neal reports that having children present is not as much of an issue as we first thought. If the children have a responsible guardian accompanying them, it is probably okay to have them. If an unemancipated minor shows up, we may have to report them to DCFS (Division of Children and Family Services). We need to do further research into this.

There is also the issue of checking new residents for warrants. Those with non-extraditable warrants are probably okay. We will be calling in the warrant checks. What we want to avoid is a police raid to arrest a wanted resident, a situation we can avoid by checking for active warrants.

We  also discussed a bit about having a police liaison. Woody spoke with Officer W, who had patrolled the Occupy Tacoma encampment (OT) and seemed friendly to it. He said that when TCT has a place, if we give him a ZIP code, he will try to see if he can suggest someone to be a police liaison.

Neal also talked about what he learned concerning encampment sizes. More than 150 is too cumbersome under most circumstances. Limitations in Seattle for their tent cities were set for city convenience.

We also talked about paid administrative staff. Neal was quite firm that staff members should not go to a meeting with city authorities or other agencies without having at least 2 residents present. Decisions must be made by the residents, and the paid staff are under the control of the residents.

We discussed either becoming a 501(c)3 or maybe finding one we can become affiliated with so that donations to us can be tax deductible. It is possible we could become a chapter of SHARE. Perhaps there are alternatives. We need to find a pro bono lawyer or group to help us sort through all this.

LISA’S REPORT: Lisa reported on a Facebook page called Homeless In Seattle. The person who started this (Rex Holbein) is an architect who met with homeless people outside his place of business and later became acquainted with them in a more personal way. He began to become interested in their stories and in assisting them. He started a homeless support organization and a  Facebook page to help them out. On the FB page, he posts pictures of them and tells their stories. Lisa met with Rex and was quite impressed with him.

TELEPHONE COST: Neal reports the phone bill for next month will be $22. Alan and Patricia each came up with $10, and Lisa came up with $2, to be reimbursed later on.

NEXT MEETING: Will be at 4 PM on Monday, Nov 18, at FUMC. Alan will try to reserve room 207 for us.

Thanks to Patricia and Neal for proofreading these minutes and checking them for accuracy —Editor

Respectfully submitted: Alan OldStudent