PRESENT: Alan, Bud, Vince, Neal, Cheryl
BUSINESS: Cheryl reported on a list of church contacts she developed some years ago for a food drive. She still has that list.
Vince mentioned that while TCT had been working with the city to develop a use permitting process, city officials sent us a list of churches located within city limits that could qualify for hosting a tent city.
Some time ago, Vince sent out letters to the pastors on the city list. We did get a few responses, but we didn’t follow up those responses very well. So Vince sent out a second letter. This resulted in a meeting in January, 2015, and among the attendees were some clergy from outside of Tacoma who had had positive experiences hosting tent cities. Vince has contacts with Methodist church clergy whose parishes have hosted tent cities and would be willing to discuss their experiences with Tacoma clergy.
We also talked about the logistics of managing funds and perhaps obtaining 501c3 status. This would have tax advantages for potential donors. Vince wanted to talk to Associated Ministries about using their 501c3 status and having them act as a fiduciary agent for Tent City Tacoma. However, Vince has been unable to follow through with this as the Executive Director of Associated Ministries position became vacant for a while. The new director has been out of the country, is new in that position, and these factors have prevented Vince from contacting him.
We also discussed that the City of Tacoma has committed $50,000 for clearing out existing ad-hoc homeless encampments. We discussed developing a strategy for confronting the city on spending $50,000 to break up ad-hoc homeless encampments. The city wants to charge Tent City Tacoma around $2000 for a use permit to build a legally-sanctioned tent city. Yet the $50,000 they want to spend on ad-hoc homeless encampments would pay for 25 to 30 use permits.
It was asked why we were approaching churches to host us. The reason lies in state law. The state law says churches cannot be denied a use permit for a homeless shelter on any basis other than public health and safety. They can have far more restrictive requirements for most other institutions and may even use zoning regulations to interfere with setting up homeless shelters.
As there were several new people, Neal gave his PowerPoint presentation.
NEXT STEPS: We discussed the next steps we need to take.
- We will continue contacting churches. We will keep after our contact information via phone, and Vince will send mailing addresses of churches we have been dealing with to Cheryl. She can integrate these into her list.
- We will try to have a meeting late in April, possibly April 20. We normally have meetings on the first and third Monday of the month, and April 20 is the third Monday in April. Easter is on April 4 and Passover begins the evening of April 3. So perhaps April 20 or so would be a good date for another big meeting, to kick off a drive to sign up potential hosting sites, raise funds, network, and so on. We could have them meet with us at one of our regularly scheduled meeting times, from 4 to 5:30 PM.
ADJOURNMENT TIME: We adjourned at 5:27 PM
NEXT MEETING TIME & PLACE: March 16, 2015, 4 to 5:30, FUMC
Respectfully submitted: Alan OldStudent