(AUDIO INTERVIEW) Betty Chinn Speaks on the Blue Angel Container Village's Upcoming Move Out of Old Town
Bayley Brown / Thursday, Sept. 29 @ 1:38 p.m. / Homelessness
Bayley speaks with Betty | Photos: Andrew Goff
On Tuesday the Eureka City Council unanimously approved $75,000 of funding and a new site for the Greater Eureka Community Outreach Program (GECOP), more commonly known as The Blue Angel Container Village.
Yesterday we caught up with Betty Chinn and project manager James Rockwell to talk about the move, the extension of the program, and what's in store for the future.
In the special meeting the City Council voted to move the conatainer village to West Washington and Koster Streets. The city had also been considering sites on Marina Way (south of Dock B), the foot of T Street (near the Blue Ox), and the city-owned airport near the end of the Samoa Peninsula. Chinn and Rockwell were disappointed that Marina Way, their first choice, wasn't ultimately chosen but they are regardless pleased with the outcome.
"Well I'm really excited because at least we can help more clients; people that want to change," said Chinn. The City Council expressed concerns over Coastal Commission approval of the Marina Way site which is why the council opted for the West Washington and Koster location.
As for the possibility of staying where they're currently located, Chinn says she could've approached Mercer-Fraser to ask if the village could stay there but she didn't want to break her the earlier agreed upon six month residency she'd pitched to the community.
"Six months in this property. I don't want to break my promise to the public. Even I do have some neighbors and businesses here ask me to stay. A promise is a promise and I cannot break it," Chinn stressed.
The GECOP board estimates that they need $150,000 for next year's operating costs. Number of operating costs came from this year. The Council agreed to send a letter to the Supervisors imploring the County to match funds. Betty also mentioned that they received a private donation.
Since the program's inception, the Blue Angel Village program has been widely praised for consistently getting people housing, mental health services, jobs, medical services and more.
"The last I checked I think in the beginning of September we're up to 77 total people that have moved from the program since May 1 since we opened," Rockwell elaborated. "Many have gotten housing, which is so cool. Two this week. One guy just moved to Rio Dell today, which is awesome."
When asked about the possibility of the program continuing past this year Chinn said "no comment."
When the City approached Chinn about moving the village, one condition was that she had to talk to the neighboring businesses, a task she enlisted the help of Eureka Police Chief Andy Mills for. Area businesses were agreeable, thinking it would be better than the existing unattended-to temporary camp. The container village will be 24/7 monitored program. Chinn stresses that being a good neighbor is a top priority.
Rockwell said that the City Council seemed fairly confident that it will get the Coastal Commission Emergency permit approved in time.
"[It will require some] logistical acrobatics to try to move the whole facility there." Chinn said, but she is confident they can get the whole operation moved in one day "We can do it."
Below is an edited interview that aired on KHUM:
Current site of the Blue Angel Container Village
Bayley, Betty and James.
Cliff Berkowitz / Thursday, Sept. 29 @ 8:28 a.m. / Theater
This morning I had the opportunity to talk with Christopher Kehoe who will be playing the role of Frank N Furter in the Rocky Horror Show at Ferndale Repertory Theater September 30th through October 30th. Although most of us are familiar with the movie The Rocky Horror Picture Show, it started as a stage play called the Rocky Horror Show. This will be your chance to see it live on stage with with all the songs you know and love.
Cliff Berkowitz / Wednesday, Sept. 28 @ 9:44 a.m. / Public Safety
This morning I spoke briefly with Linda Nellist of CERT, Community Emergency Response Team of Humboldt County. CERT is an all volunteer group helping to educate the public on how to respond to various emergencies that can occur. Funding has been secured for volunteer training in 2017.
Cliff Berkowitz / Wednesday, Sept. 28 @ 8:44 a.m. / Event
This morning I had the pleasure of having two lovely young women in the studio representing 4H. Ella and Grace are chairing this year's big Lamb Barbeque so they were very knowledgeable about the event. It will be this Sunday from 11am till 2pm at Fortuna's Rohner Park. They will be serving up Lamb of course, but there will also be barbecued Goat and Pork. There will also be vegetarian options for vegetarians who want to support 4H. This will be their big fundraiser for the year.
Bayley Brown / Tuesday, Sept. 27 @ 3:22 p.m. / Kinetic
Kinetic Universe President Kati Texas came in to hype up Kinetic Kouture: Fashon With a Repurpose which is going on this Saturday, October 1 at the Morris Graves Museum of Art at 9:30 pm (right after Arts Alive)! All ages of course and just $10.
All the proceeds will be going to the Kinetic Museum in Eureka and Morris Graves. The person who is judged to have been the best at repurposing trash into fashion will get their art displayed at the "Junque Arte" exhibit at Morris Graves opening October 8 (plus tons of glory of course).
Cliff Berkowitz / Tuesday, Sept. 27 @ 9:04 a.m. / Trails
This morning Jessica Hall and I spoke with Christy Prescott, Community Advocate for Cooper Gulch Common Grounds, a grassroots organization that's been around for about a year to help the park at Cooper Gulch live up to it's potential. This Saturday, October 1st, there will be a big event open to the public called Play and Plan Day at Cooper Gulch from 9am till 4:30. Many events are planned for the day. More info at coopergulch.org
Bayley Brown / Monday, Sept. 26 @ 11:47 a.m. / Animals
Shannon Townsend of Companion Animal Foundation and Jackie Silva of Old Growth Tattoo came in to talk about "Paws for a Cause: Give Til' It Hurts" happening Saturday and Sunday this weekend from Noon till 7pm!
For more information on Companion Animal Foundation go to http://www.cafanimals.org/