Spaghetti Dinner Fund Raiser for Nickelsville
Suggested Donation $15.00 per person
Tuesday, August 3rd, 5:00-8:00 PM
805 21st Ave, Seattle
Come join us at Nickelsville Central District on National Night Out for our summer fundraiser, an Italian Spaghetti Dinner prepared by Chef Alex of Nirvana Wok. Dinner will be served from 5:00-8:00 PM and will include and entrée of specially prepared spaghetti and meatballs, a tasty salad, and garlic bread. Suggested donation is per person is $15.00. Drinks will be available for a suggested donation of $2.00. For a light snack we’re offering freshly popped popcorn with a suggested donation of $3.00.
Let Nickelodeons serve your meal at the Night Out block party or feel free to take your food home to enjoy. For pre-orders please email NickelsvilleNight@gmail.com All proceeds go towards the expenses of operating our two self-managed tiny house villages. If you are not able to attend in person donations may be mailed to: Nickelsville, PO Box 2549, Seattle 98111. There is a link to PayPal on the "How You Can Help Us" tab.
Nickelsville is a 501c3 registered in Washington State, EIN 46-4372708 For more information call 206-450-9136
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PASTOR FECHER RE CITY THREAT OF NORTHLAKE EVICTION February 13, 2020
Beloved Friends in Christ,
Yesterday our bid to host Nickelsville Northlake Tiny House Village under the city’s religious encampment ordinance was brought to an abrupt end by the City Attorney in conversation with our attorney, Ted Hunter. In a thorough synopsis of the negotiations Mr Hunter wrote me yesterday, the following: "the negotiations with the City Attorney's Office regarding an agreement with the Gift of Grace Lutheran Church to facilitate the ongoing operation of the Northlake Tiny House Village were terminated this morning by the City. This termination was unilateral, as I offered the opportunity to continue what I thought were productive discussions. The City, however, informed me that there was a deadline of noon today to reach an agreement and that the City would never reach agreement to allow a self-empowered and self-sustaining encampment to continue operating, especially if Nickelsville was involved.” (emphasis mine).
At a congregational meeting on November 17, 2019 Gift of Grace agreed to host Nickelsville Northlake Tiny House Village under the city’s religious encampment ordinance. Since then Tim Linnemann and I have worked with Nickelsville, Wallingford neighbors, the Seattle City Council, the mayor’s office, Human Services Department and the Low Income Housing Institute to bring about what should have been an extremely simple agreement to allow a healthy functioning community of otherwise homeless persons to continue to live in their village. In November 2019 former Deputy Mayor Moseley encouraged us that the city might allow it. At that meeting they agreed not to evict the villagers at the December 9 deadline they had imposed. We have been trying to reach an agreement with the city ever since. We even raised $15,000 to cover the rent for the land, should that be needed.
I do not think HSD director, Jason Johnson, speaking for the city, acted in good faith. Their statement that they would never "reach agreement to allow a self-empowered and self-sustaining encampment to continue operating, especially if Nickelsville was involved.” demonstrates their bad faith because we were always clear that our goal was to support the tiny house village according to Nickelsville’s self-empowered and self-managed model — the model the village has been using since they it began 2 years ago.
My goal now is to stand with the Northlake Tiny House Village in whatever comes next for them. I will join with other neighbors in Seattle in continuing to support Nickelsville and its effort to help homeless people organize to help themselves. I will write to the City Council and probably the Seattle Times a review of what has happened. Hopefully the villagers will be allowed to remain where they are until the end of March, which was the original agreement from 2 years ago, an agreement the villagers have every intention of honoring. The Seattle City Council just passed a ban on winter evictions and hopefully that will work in favor of this tiny house village.
I am grateful to God that our congregation has been allowed to serve this city in Christ’s name, even if the service has been frustrating and has not turned out the way we intended. I admire the tenacity and poise of the villagers throughout this ordeal. Justice for the most vulnerable is hard to come by, but worth working for.
Peace and power to you from Christ,
Pastor Jami Fecher
Gift of Grace Lutheran Chur
LIHI SECURITY COSTS AT OCCUPIED OTHELLO VILLAGE
Beginning April 8th, 2019
On April 8th, 2019 approximately 15 men, most wearing Orange ‘LIHI Security’ embossed T-Shirts and/or Vests’ with Body Cams, bum rushed the back gate of Nickelsville Othello while trash was being removed. They commandeered the Security Post and rapidly changed all locks in the village, excepting some Tiny Houses.
In response Nickelsville Othello leadership – the Triad - declared a strike. None of the work usually done by the community – much on Security Shifts – is being performed. Work will resume when a negotiated solution between LIHI, HSD and Nickelsville restores Nickelsville Democracy to the Village and the paid LIHI Security and Site Manager leave.
The strike has been effective. The community is not doing accustomed work. They expect the paid security staff to do it, but have seen then their ineffectiveness. Those failures and their consequences, however, are not the topic at hand.
The purpose of this paper is to estimate the cost of the
LIHI Security Force for the remainder of 2019 @ Occupied Nickelsville Othello.
LIHI has been hiring security workers and site managers from LIHI Tiny House Villages lacking the democratic protections and practices maintained by Nickelsville and their Management Plans. LIHI advertised the pay for Security Workers at $17 an hour plus benefits to start. LIHI Site Managers presumably earn a salary commensurate to a LIHI Case Manager. They start at $38,000 a year. To ensure a conservative projection all calculations posit an $18.00 an hour Security Worker salary and a $40,000 a year Site Manager salary, inclusive.
Amount of regular onsite LIHI Security at Occupied Nickelsville Othello.
For the 8 Hour Day and 8 Hour Night Shift 2 LIHI Workers are present. The Site Manager is counted as one of these two workers during the day shift on weekdays. Instead of the Site Manager, a LIHI Security Worker is the second worker during the day shift on Saturday and Sunday. The late night 8 hour swing shift is the only time that just one LIHI Security Worker is on duty.
The daily cost of LIHI Security, which is a little higher on weekdays and a little lower on weekends since the Site Manager is paid more than the line worker, is over $801.00 dollars a day. For the month of May it will be over $24,460.00. For the 7 months remaining in this year that totals almost $175,000.00 dollars.
If it is conservatively estimated that there were just 10 LIHI Security Workers on April 8th – the day of the bum rush – that cost would be $4,320.00. The remainder of April at the standard 2 LIHI Security Men except for the late night shift for 22 days would be $18,908 dollars. That adds another $23,200 to the total for the year.
The cost to LIHI of Occupying Othello, in Security Personnel Costs alone, is approximately $200,000.00 dollars for a little shy of 9 months in 2019.
LIHI and the Seattle HSD Department signed an agreement for the Operation and Services at Othello Tiny House Village for the calendar year 2019 on March 28th, 2019 (DA19-1782.). It has a budget for the full calendar year of $439,066.00. $136,099 of that is set aside for Personnel Services. The budget reserves zero (0) for security staff, relying entirely on Resident Volunteers.
In the Services Agreement LIHI commits to 1.6 FTE Case Managers for the full year at Othello. If the FTE number is rounded down to 1.5, and the lower range base (no benefit) salary of $40,000 is assumed, the Case Manager cost for the calendar year would be $60,000. That leaves approximately $75,000 in the Personnel Services line item for LIHI Personnel Security Costs. Around $125,000 is still needed for LIHI Security Staff Wages.
What part of the agreed upon budget will Seattle HSD allow LIHI to transfer this needed $125,000 from? Perhaps from the $65,859.00 LIHI has in the budget line items Administrative Costs/Indirect Costs? Even if that cushion was given up, there is still a $60,000 hole. That is more than the savings if they cut the bed bug worker, the maintenance worker, and various off site managers/supervisors. Plus LIHI had already reimbursed Nickelsville for over two months costs before cutting all funding to Nickelsville
LIHI won’t share with its partners detailed breakdowns of any of their Tiny House budgets, so the answer to these mysteries is impossible to track. HSD could demand them but appears to have little interest in how LIHI spends money allocated them.
THE NICKELSVILLE SELF MANAGEMENT ALTERNATIVE
Nickelsville’s expenses for all of 2018 at Othello Village were $46,046.79, including wages, daily bus/light rail tickets for residents, phones and other costs. Unlike the present poorly operated camp whose staffing expenses are over $150,000 higher, it operated successfully. Policies were fair, understood, and it was clean and safe. While simple, it was a good place to live while working on finding permanent housing and moving on.
Nickelsville had not requested more for their own budget in 2019. Their first goal was to start having the Villages blankets washed regularly, to improve health, reduce infestation, and improve living conditions and odors. The second goal, if Nickelsville had access to the $200,000 that LIHI will be spending on Security Workers replacing striking volunteers, would probably have been a community/coop day care for the apx. 17 children of the village and their parents.
LIHI's Paid Security Guards Botched Their
(Tip: Remember to make sure the dumpster is empty before having a cleamup, guys!)
LIHI's Second Failed Attempt at a Camp Meeting
That's camera-shy Eric Davis on the left, recruited from Camp Second Chance and paid by LIHI. On the right are LIHI Staff Josh Castle and Bradford Gerber, speaking to the 7 out of 50 plus adults who came to their meeting.
LIHI Threatens to Bar People and give their tiny house to someone else for a minor infraction!
LIHI Threw Out This Tiny House
Occupied Nickelsville Othello villagers were apalled that LIHI chose to demolish this adorable donated tiny house that could have provided shelter for a homeless family.
LIHI Case Manager's Abuse, Neglect, Absence Told to HSD
Over three weeks ago “LIHI Staff Replaces Nickelsville” headlines
were the rage in Seattle. But someone forgot to tell Nickelodeons it was time to give up. Now it’s Saturday, April 6th and Nickelodeons are still self-managing their Tiny House Villages.
On Tuesday the Seattle Human Services Department—who pushed LIHI to push Nickelsville out—asked and were granted permission by the Nickelsville Central Committee to meet campers. They sent out HSD Staffers Jackie St. Louis and Lisa Gustaveson. First up was Othello.
On Wednesday night over half of Othello Village’s adults crowded into their kitchen tent to explain why they had refused to stand down for LIHI. Painful stories were told: LIHI Case Managers showing preference for campers they went out drinking with, Case Manager threats to “Stop what you’re doing or you’re never going to get housing,” and Case Managers cajoling Nickelodeons to write up false complaints about Nickelsville Leaders that Case Mangers didn’t like—there was plenty of testimony.
Over and over, participants told heartbreaking stories of neglect, retaliation, and abuse. A mother at the first village whose Case Manager knew she had an outstanding warrant was arrested and jailed for three days. While she was being held the Case Manager tried to evict the mother from her tiny house. Fortunately, elected Nickelsville Leadership intervened.
A man leaned on a cane as he reported his first meeting with a new Case Manager who’d had her car broken into and items stolen in the village’s neighborhood. The Case Manager demanded to be let inside to search each tiny house for her stolen belongings, but was stopped by elected Leadership. The same Case Manager wanted to evict a family with a child from their tiny house and into a tent. Thankfully, our elected Nickelsville leadership stepped in again to prevent this appalling abuse of power.
While Case Management malfeasance was most prevalent at Othello, the next night a participant at another village said they were told by a LIHI Case Manger that as a queer person they could not access LIHI housing. When a mother about to get custody of her child pointed out that the new Services Agreement prohibits children in that village the HSD employees told her the it was just a “typo.” (which had already been signed off on by LIHI’s Executive Director.) Another mother had been offered a one-bedroom apartment for herself and her 14 year old son. When she turned it down the LIHI Case Manager stopped working with her.
A woman recounted that she was called “lazy” by her Case Manager.
A member of Nickelsville’s Leadership Team at one village was promptly dumped by his Case Manager after he dared to speak up about LIHI’s mismanagement and meddling in village business.
An emotional young man who has no medical issues, disabilities, or addictions, expressed his deep concern about the contract’s goal of moving people out after 90 days. It was made even more concerning because the Services Agreement requires everyone to undergo a ranking system that will place him at the bottom for housing. Comparable individuals have been given a timeline of 8-12 years before getting housing.
The young man’s fears of being squeezed out are reasonable. Sharon Lee, the Executive Director of LIHI, has repeatedly complained about people “lingering” at the tiny house villages and making them a “lifestyle.” Even if LIHI is capable of finding housing it will be a “take it or leave here” offer, whether the housing is in Kent, Concrete, or Timbuktu. (After LIHI took over at Licton Springs they reneged on their promise to find everyone permanent housing before it closed.)
Angry Nickelodeons at all villages who sought Case Management described being stymied by the constant turnover and complete absence of Case Managers for two, three, and four months at a time. In a year and a half at Othello Village one man met with a Case Manager less than a half dozen times. At Georgetown Village one man’s voice trembled as he told the visitors about his worry over the lack of Case Management for the people with medical issues at his village. Sitting near him, a disabled woman who uses a CPAP machine revealed she had pleaded for a stronger electrical hookup that wouldn’t trip the circuit breaker as she tried to sleep but was completely ignored by LIHI’s Case Managers.
Some asked about the apparent disappearance and misuse of money designated for Nickelsville that never arrived. While Nickelsville has repeatedly asked to see LIHI’s Income and Expense Reports for the villages LIHI has kept them secret from Nickelsville for years. If money was paid to LIHI for Case Managers and there were long stretches without Case Management, a participant inquired, where did the money go?
HSD expressed shock and surprise. If HSD isn’t monitoring LIHI’s spending, lack of Case Management, and substandard Case Management who is?
Nickelsville’s empowering self-management was cited numerous times as why participants value Nickelsville and thrive at Nickelsville. Still, the Human Service’s Department’s two employees had no difficulty looking everyone in the eye as they falsely claimed self-management would be preserved after a LIHI takeover. They denied what all could see in the copies of the Management Plan held in their hands that very moment: “The Low Income Housing Institute has oversight, review, and repeal authority over any decisions.”
The new LIHI Management Plan doesn’t just state this once, they state it repeatedly. It even denies leaders and security workers the power to bar individuals posing imminent danger to the villagers until they inform LIHI Staff. Nickelodeons at the three meetings pointed out the fact that under the LIHI/HSD Management Plan democracy at Nickelsville would be replaced with free labor, participants limited to menial chores like emptying the trash, mopping the floors, and picking up litter.
As each meeting drew to a close some drifted away in disgust, others shook with anger. The two HSD staffers took the remaining Nickelodeons’ politeness as acquiescence and acceptance of a future system of LIHI control and dominance.
From these visits Nickelodeons saw that HSD staff are usually polite. In real time Nickelodeons shared dozens of disturbing incidents and bad behavior. In real time they saw, in HSD staff people Jackie and Lisa’s responses, a lack of principles on which to base humane and sensible judgements, and a lack of ability or interest in evaluating the competence of case managers or their supervisors.
The painful conclusion is that HSD isn’t going to solve the problem, which is no surprise. Nickelodeons already knew HSD is a large part of the problem of unfairness and injustice facing us. We must seek solutions to our challenges elsewhere.