ATTENDANCE: Alan, Bud, Cheryl, Neal, Vince
- Meeting with Lakewood mayor
- Building support via telling a story, distributing PowerPoint presentation, and designing a video
- Checking financial accountability of agencies serving the homeless.
- Letter to MDC
- Answering the “magnet” question.
- Visiting tent cities and obtaining documentation for videos.
- Creating a business plan for fundraising purposes.
- Contacting churches and getting commitments
- Contacting pastors.
- Plans for next several meetings.
BUSINESS: Bud and Cheryl discussed a meeting they held with the mayor of Lakewood. Our TCT volunteers sought to explain the benefits that a tent city would bring to Lakewood. The mayor had reservations about hosting a tent city because he feared Lakewood becoming a magnet for the homeless. Bud asked the mayor several times why Lakewood spends a lot of money on such services as Catholic Community and other agencies but is hesitant to spend a much smaller sum on a tent city. Our TCT volunteers also asked the mayor why a tent city would be more of a magnet than the present services Lakewood has for the homeless.
Alan said that we need to drum up support for the homeless by telling their story. People stereotype homeless in particular and poor people in general. Alan said that if we can present compelling portraits of homeless people, we could use that as a tool to garner more support. He talked about making a video. Neal said that he and Alan have video cameras and some knowledge about making videos. Cheryl said we could come to the Tacoma mission while she’s cutting hair there, and she said she has appropriate consent forms.
We also talked about financial accountability for these agencies that are supposed to be helping the homeless. They receive money from various sources, but how they spend it is not always clear to our activists.
We discussed Bud’s draft of a letter to MDC about conditions there. Bud had sent a copy of this letter to Alan for vetting. Also, Bud did not have our letterhead. Alan had not acted on the letter by today’s meeting. He promised to send Bud the letterhead, and he said he would put it on our letterhead. Alan will return the letter on our letterhead to Bud for final vetting.
We discussed one of the objections the Lakewood mayor brought up, that the area would become a “magnet” for homeless if it had facilities for them. During Citizens’ Forum at City Council meetings last year, several neighborhood leaders voiced this same concern. Neighborhoods fear becoming a “magnet” for the homeless if they are too accommodating.
However, our tent cities are temporary and move every 90 days from neighborhood to neighborhood. So no particular location is likely to become a magnet. Moreover, homeless and poor people are already everywhere, and the answer to the problem does not lie in driving them out. In fact, when neighborhoods and churches have temporary tent cities for a while, the fear of them vanishes.
We discussed visiting some tent cities and taking videos. We also discussed checking out tiny house settlements and homeless sites in Seattle, such as Nickelsville, and filming raw videos there for later refinement.
Cheryl and others discussed getting together a business model so we have something credible when we start fundraising. Such a model would show physical layout, expenditures, plans for obtaining funds, and accountability for giving to donors.
Bud will pursue visits with churches and wants to have firm commitments from 3 of them to act as a host by the next meeting or two. Vince will follow up with the contacts he has among pastors.
Vince will be out of town on our next meeting date, which is Monday, June 15, 2015. For our next meeting, we will meet at the downtown Tully’s, 764 Broadway, in the old Hotel Bostwick building. For our subsequent meeting, we will meet on July 6, 2015, at the FUMC (First United Methodist Church) 621 Tacoma Ave S.
Respectfully submitted: Alan OldStudent