Camp Second Chance, a sober homeless encampment in southwest Seattle, is struggling to raise $6,000 by April 15, as stipulated by its contract with the City of Seattle. Falling short of that amount wouldn’t be catastrophic for the organization, but it would hamstring efforts to transform the cobbled-together infrastructure of the camp into a well-oiled machine for moving people into housing.
“A shortfall is problematic, but it’s not a dealbreaker,” says Polly Trout, a community organizer who has assisted the camp since cutting a lock off a city gate last year so that campers could get to their current site. “It’s a matter of making our camp more awesome.”
We first wrote about C2C last year, when it was slated for eviction by Mayor Ed Murray’s administration as part of his ongoing strategy of roving homeless encampment evictions. After the chairs of the city and county councils’ respective public health committees asked for a stay of eviction, the Murray administration relented. Eventually, the city agreed to include C2C as one of its new, authorized homeless encampments.
Part of that authorization included contracting with Patacara Community Services, founded and run by Trout. Patacara’s contract with the city includes funding reimbursement of up to $208,000, but the agency is also supposed to raise another $42,000, according to a Patacara press release. They also have to front the entire budget before getting reimbursed. “Because the contract wasn’t signed until March 8,” says Trout, “we had to pay out of pocket for January, February and eight days of March.”
Because of these financial pressures, Patacara is facing a potential budget shortfall. “We are short on money in order to meet our goals for April,” Trout wrote a press release yesterday. “The city contract, while generous, does not meet 100 percent of our needs, and mandates that we supplement the contract with additional fundraising in the community. So far in 2017, community members like you have generously donated $19,000. A special donor also provided Patacara with a $10,000 private loan for start up funds. We are still short of our fundraising goal and really, really, really, REALLY need your support this week.”
Trout emphasizes that the potential funding shortfall is a problem, not a crisis. “This money is to improve the quality of services,” she says, “…and to meet our commitment to raise a certain amount for capacity building for the nonprofit.” If Patacara and C2C don’t find the money, it could delay things like paychecks, office supplies and connecting to Seattle’s electric grid.
“In a perfect world,” says Trout, “I’ll be able to run payroll for my staff.”
You can donate to C2C here.
An earlier version of this post inaccurately identified Polly Trout as a social worker.