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SE Neighbors Open to Homeless Rest Stop at 3500 Hilyard St

At its meeting Weds. night, the Southeast Neighbors (SEN) board discussed possible expansion of the Nightingale Health Sanctuary from a “car camp” to a “rest stop”, but delayed a vote on a recommendation to the City Council until Sept. 19. The camp is on the Good Samaritan parking lot at 3500 Hilyard Street.

The SEN board asked a lot of questions that were answered by the NHS onsite managers, Nathan Showers and Tracy Forest, and members of their steering committee, including Vickie Mindel Nelson and CALC’s Michael Carrigan.

Most of the questions seemed to center around *control*, with apparently lots of concern about whether expanding the camp would lead to problems. The NHS folks had good answers. It appears that NHS is trying to make a deal with SEN where they will be allowed to turn the camp back into a rest stop, with up to 20 residents, but will do so very slowly to reduce the impact on the neighborhood. It’s a political move, but NHS also seems to have other reasons for expanding slowly. One is that they want Conestoga huts for all residents rather than tents on platforms like they had before. Right now they have six huts for six residents, the maximum that is allowed with a “car camp”.

Community Supported Shelters is planning to do a workshop on building the huts. Vickie Nelson said that if they build the huts themselves they will only need $1,000 each for materials. If CSS builds them the price is more like $2,500, although discounts may be available in some cases.

After the meeting SEN board chair David Monk said no vote was taken because no one put a motion on the table, he knew it would be a long discussion and there wasn’t enough time left after they went over all the questions.

My guess is that it will pass on Sept.19. Then we’ll see how soon the City Council will put it on their agenda. Cold weather is less than two months away.

Lynn Porter, “Homeless Action” ,homeless-action@googlegroups.com

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