The City of Seattle’s Human Services Department (HSD) has been on the ground outside and inside the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP) since June 23 to support the City’s ongoing efforts to keep the area safe. HSD outreach staff and contracted outreach workers were on site providing outreach and social service resources to those living unsheltered or demonstrating within the area. HSD is continuing this outreach following the closure of the CHOP and Cal Anderson Park earlier today.
The area in and around Cal Anderson has historically been an area where unsheltered individuals stay overnight. These unsheltered communities have remained throughout the protest. These outreach efforts began following conversations between City leaders, CHOP, Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County, and other community leaders and organizers, to ensure community members and demonstrators had access to medical and social services.
June 23 through today, HSD has made 172 engagements (duplicated) with unhoused individuals, 36 referrals to shelter, and 30 connections to service providers. These figures are preliminary and provide a best snapshot of available data. Outreach staff have also made travel arrangements, provided diversion funds such as hotel vouchers, and handed out basic needs, including bottled water and snacks.
This data does not include efforts by City-contracted community-based organizations such as Mary’s Place, Evergreen Treatment Services, YouthCare, Teen Feed, Public Health – Seattle & King County and others who have been working in the CHOP over the past week.
On Friday, HSD participated in the Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County Community Health Services Day with other community partners. On Saturday, HSD coordinated with DESC’s Mobile Crisis Team to work onsite at CHOP providing behavioral health outreach and service support. The Mobile Crisis Team can refer people to shelter and offer limited client cash assistance funding from HSD to provide hotel stays or travel vouchers to home communities. Outreach included offers of services – such as food, clothing, hygiene, mental health support, and connection to any needed medical care. These outreach efforts were in addition to services from other City departments to keep the area safe and accessible.
While the Mayor’s Executive Order issued today directed multiple City departments to safely close the CHOP area, this has not been a Navigation Team activity. However, HSD directed outreach staff to focus solely on CHOP outreach and had access to City-funded shelters, such as tiny house villages, enhanced shelters, de-intensifying shelters, and the recently re-opened City Hall shelter–all resources generally reserved for the Navigation Team. On average over the last week of engagement, HSD outreach specialists had access to 53 available shelter beds.
Additionally, HSD Field Coordinators were on site after the closure to search living structures for personal possessions that could be safely stored. Based on initial totals, 24 bins of property along with eight large items were stored. HSD will create documentation for this work and post it online. Note that items like wet or damaged tents, flammable materials, etc., were not stored. Those seeking to retrieve stored property should call 206-459-9949.
Parks is working with the organizers of the Riot Kitchen to store the field kitchen. SDOT is working with activists and artists to store and preserve the artwork that has been installed on site.
This summary blog post incorporates and replaces previous blog posts and updates made on June 26, 27 & 30.