Camp Quixote –> Quixote Village. Reposted from Tim Ransom

Article from Tim Ransom (former board present and current board member) in the Spring 2014 Special Edition Newsletter from The Olympia Unitarian Universality Congregation.

The meetings of the Board and the Congregation [to vote on hosting Camp Quixote in February of 2007] were two of the most incredible and wonderful events in my life as a member of the Olympia Unitarian Universalist Congregation.  The decisions were not easy—here we were essentially flying in the face of municipal code and laws, the wishes and fears of probably the vast majority of our neighbors, and our own fears and lack of understanding of the implications of what we were doing.  And there was vigorous disagreement—while the goal of helping others was clear, how best to go about it while fulfilling our own rules of governance and protecting the congregation was fiercely debated.  But in the end we acted with one heart and head.”

I wrote that years ago, not long after the Board of Trustees of the Olympia Unitarian Universalist Congregation (OUUC) first invited a rag-tag group of homeless men and women and their political advocates to take up residence in tents on the lawn adjacent to our small Out of the Woods shelter for families.  The import and impact of those first events stay with me today. The story of the development of Camp Quixote and its eventual evolution into Quixote Village deserves a full-length book!.  Easily a dozen congregations and hundreds of volunteers have participated, and along the way many heroes have stepped up to take on the herculean tasks of coordination and support.  Their stories deserve to be told, as well.  But here I will limit myself to the part that our church congregation played in getting it all started.

It all began when a delegation of Unitarian Universalist Evergreen students came to our February 2007 board meeting.  They were from a group of homeless people and their activist supporters,  the  Poor People’s Union, who had set up an encampment on a downtown city lot in protest of a city ordinance that severely restricted the use of sidewalks, and they were being threatened by eviction, and more.  We had agreed to meet with them to talk about providing the encampment temporary sanctuary on the front lawn below Out of the Woods. They wanted to move the camp there, and it was my job as board president, along with our minister, the Rev. Arthur Vaeni, to see if that could happen within the context of our congregation, its mission and its approach to decision-making and ministry.

In hindsight it might appear that the obvious answer to this request from us as an Unitarian Universalist congregation would be “Yes.” But back then it quickly became apparent that there was a diversity of opinions about, and understanding of, homelessness and this particular iteration of it, tinged as it was by political activism.  Then, too, we had serious concerns that the Board would be subverting the normal procedures of church governance if it acted without seeking the approval of the congregation and informing our neighbors first.  After heated debate the Board reached consensus to offer sanctuary, and the next day the campers began their move to our property.  Within days special congregational and neighborhood meetings followed;. Overruling the board’s intention to limit the camp’s tenure at OUUC to 45 days, an enthusiastic congregation voted to offer them a full 90 days.  This, despite the fact that the Olympia City Manager warned us that as far as the city was concerned, an encampment on church property without a permit was just as illegal as the one downtown had been.

The true test began, of course, when the encampment, now calling itself Camp Quixote, in solidarity with a tent city protest in Paris called the Children of Don Quixote, arrived on our property.  As Rev. Vaeni will attest, pandemonium reigned.  It had been a wet winter, and the Out of the Woods lawn immediately revealed its true nature as a wetland.  Eventually volunteers provided truck loads of wood chips, and later pallets were used to keep tents out of the mud.  It was apparent right from the beginning that the camp was going to need a great deal of help to survive and not implode.  At first some of this was provided by the activist contingent, people like Rob Richards and Phil Owen of Bread and Roses, but then more and more members of our congregation quietly slipped through the woods to help set up tents, spread woodchips and welcome the residents.

The presence of Camp Quixote on our property brought us many daunting challenges, not the least of which was the negative PR we were receiving from the local newspaper.  But first and foremost on the list were negotiations with the City of Olympia to get a conditional use permit to legally host the camp (despite the fact that federal case law clearly indicated that faith communities have a constitutional right to provide such a ministry).  Out of these negotiations came the rules regarding sanitation and safety procedures and eligibility for admission to the camp (background checks, no outstanding warrants, no use of drugs or alcohol, and so on) that were eventually to become features of the residents’ own self-governance.

Another requirement was that the host church hold a community meeting to inform its neighbors of the camp’s coming and provide them an opportunity to voice concerns.  Rev. Vaeni had already visited many of the neighbors and had learned that there was a great deal of mistrust and fear among them. Some even threatened to sue us if things went wrong. But the meetings proved to be a mixed blessing. While they were a chore, they were also a great opportunity, for the OUUC congregation especially, to get to know our neighbors and begin to build community with them.  They were also an opportunity for the community to see growing support of the camp from city planning staff and police, who attended to help address our neighbors’ issues and attest to the validity of our approach.

From the very start the camp’s residents and their supporters talked of finding a site where it could be set up permanently, perhaps on someone’s private property, perhaps at Evergreen State College.  But time slipped by and nothing came of it.  Meanwhile, Rev. Vaeni and members of our church began enlisting the support of other faith communities in the region.  Eventually 14 religious leaders from eight churches, Temple Beth Hatfiloh, the Quakers, the Community for Interfaith Celebration and the Baha’i signed a letter exhorting the greater community to make a place in its midst for this response to homelessness and poverty, saying “Our willingness to reach out to those at the margins of society defines us as people of faith and morality.  If we fail in this outreach, we fail our entire community.”

Suddenly we were on a countdown to the end of the 90 days OUUC was allowed to host the camp.  Efforts to find another host were redoubled, and at the last minute volunteers from the United Churches of Olympia  convinced their congregation and leadership to step up.  Thus began the peripatetic adventures of Camp Quixote, as it moved every 90 days (later 180 days) from host congregation to host congregation, a prodigious labor that would sorely test the perseverance of the residents and of their many supporters, who time and again showed up to help dismantle and cleanup the encampment, truck it to the new site and then set it up again.  Support of the camp truly became an interfaith activity as five faith communities in Olympia (OUUC, United Churches, St. John’s Episcopal, First Methodist and First Christian) and one in Lacey (Lacey Community Church) became hosts.  Many others, including Temple Beth Hatfiloh, Westwood Baptist Church and the Muslim community, provided financial and logistical support, help with the moves and meals, and other forms of assistance.

Recognizing from the start that the future of Camp Quixote would require an extraordinary level of coordination and cooperation, Rev. Vaeni began a series of faith community meetings late in February that engaged the participants, including lay leaders from the churches, camp residents and regional experts on homelessness, in educational and planning exercises.   Eventually these gatherings gave rise to Panza (named after Don Quixote’s squire, Sancho Panza), a Camp Quixote support group originally made up of ordained and lay leaders charged with coordinating moves and hosting, facilitating the residents’ development of self-government, and pursuing the passage of supportive ordinances among the local municipalities.   Fairly quickly, under the leadership of its OUUC representatives, including Selena Kilmoyer and myself, Panza established itself as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation and established a board of directors.

The next few years saw a great deal of energy spent by the Panza Board and the supporters of the Camp to work out the logistics of host church scheduling and the providing of support by volunteers.  It was apparent from the start that the best way to build support for the Camp was by encouraging people to visit it, meet the residents and help out.  Moreover, as part of the original agreement with the City, volunteers were needed to staff a host table in the Camp 24 hours a day.  This extraordinary commitment was initially made with the idea of protecting the neighborhood, but soon it became obvious that the real value was in providing security for the residents themselves.  During this time, as well, a flood of friends of Camp Quixote, along with dedicated residents and Panza members, testified at public hearings as the local municipalities—Olympia, Tumwater, Lacey and Thurston County— one by one passed ordinances allowing for church-sponsored tent camps within their jurisdictions.  Perseverance and growing community support were building a constituency.

Over time the residents of Camp Quixote changed, as some moved on to more permanent housing, jobs, or opportunities elsewhere.  Others found they could not obey the self-imposed rules of camp residency and had to leave.  But despite these changes, one idea remained constant: to find a permanent site, perhaps one where tents could be exchanged for permanent structures.  Eventually this concept became a guiding principle for Panza, and when I rejoined the Board in 2012, something truly amazing had happened.  The Board had doubled in size to include both faith community members and professionals with expertise in architecture, finance and social work. At the helm was OUUC member and long-time volunteer, Jill Severn.  And, Panza had just received notice that the state legislature had set aside over $1.5 million to build Quixote Village, a permanent supportive housing community for chronically homeless adult men and women!  And Thurston County had promised to lease to Panza, for a dollar a year for 41 years, a 2.7 acre site in southwest Olympia upon which to build!

The rest of the story is one of a community—the constituency built during seven years of fighting for and growing support for Camp Quixote—coming together to make the Village happen.  There is not space here to list all the people, churches, businesses, elected officials and staff that went to extraordinary lengths to help, as we sought additional funding, responded to the concerns and then legal attacks of some of our neighbors in southwest Olympia, applied for permits, struggled with the limitations of the site and our funding—all the one hundred and one things a home builder must contend with, multiplied several-fold.  And there were current residents of Camp Quixote who spent hours to help develop the concept and design of the Village, while all the time still facing all the difficulties of life in a tent.

Our struggles were suspended on Christmas Eve, 2013, when the 30 residents of Camp Quixote became inhabitants of Quixote Village.

Jacki’s Story

Jacki came to the village in July of 2014.  Her story is one of self-determination, strength, and courage. She lost contact with her children at a young age. After settling in at the Village she worked hard on her sobriety, as well as her patience, and was able to reunite with her children. Now, her son Michael comes by to visit on a regular basis. They like to bond over food and movies in her cottage. Jacki said, “my son has told me that he’s proud of me. It means the world to me”. She was able to see Michael walk down the aisle for his high school graduation—something that wouldn’t have been possible without the stability of a home at Quixote Village. She was also able to see her other son, William walk down an aisle – the wedding aisle! She has been so happy to reconnect with her children and continually works on her parenting skills. She is working on saving up money for a car and getting a Section 8 Voucher for her own place. We love to see their connection grow and are so glad to have Jacki with us. We can’t wait to see what’s next for her!

                                                             Jacki and her son Michael

 

 

 

Resident receives Phoenix Award from BHR

One of our residents who recently moved into her own home received the Phoenix Award from BHR! BHR is Behavioral Health Resources in Olympia, WA. BHR is a multi-county provider for mental illness and addiction recovery services. They offer therapy, outpatient treatment, psychiatry, crisis management, medication management, and many other services.

As BHR states, “The Phoenix Awards are designed to celebrate those who have used their strength to rise from the ashes of mental illness and addiction, and, those who have helped them do so. By honoring and celebrating the achievements of these special people in our community, we hope to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness and/or addiction and to promote the understanding that mental illness and addiction is treatable. Sponsored by the BHR’s Community Mental Health Foundation and hosted by Olympia Federal Savings, this event celebrates lives made healthier through the skills and generosity of our community.”

Congratulations Arin. We are so proud of you!

Here is the nomination our Program Manager Raul Salazar wrote about Arin:

Arin Long was one of the original residents of Quixote Village.  She was a resident when the village was just a tent camp.  She moved into Quixote Village on December 24, 2013 and was a resident until June 30, 2017.

Arin had a long history of drug use, which was a major part of her life when she came to Camp Quixote.  Many traumatic events in her life contributed to this addiction.  As soon as she transitioned from the camp to Quixote Village, staff began working with Arin to provide her with the services needed to overcome her addictions.  Arin struggled with the process of getting clean and sober, as many people often do.  It was not easy and she was on the verge of losing her housing at Quixote Village on a few different occasions.  Staff never gave up on her and Arin never gave up on herself.  Despite going through not only her addiction to drugs, but also the loss of a close friend, Arin made the decision to enter a 60 day in-patient treatment program.  She completed the program with flying colors and returned to Quixote Village, where her housing unit was being held for her.

Upon her return, Arin began to involve herself in activities that would benefit her and others in various ways.  She received her high school diploma through South Puget Sound Community College, she paid off existing court debt to renew her driver’s license, she attended regular recovery meetings, she obtained employment, and she purchased a vehicle.  Arin also became a member of the Quixote Village Resident Committee.  A group of residents that are voted onto the committee by other residents.  The committee assists staff with daily tasks, provide guidance to new residents, and plan various resident social events.  Arin was a major contributor to the committee.

After all her success, it was clear to staff, that Arin was ready for life beyond Quixote Village.  Although staff would have been happy to have Arin stay at the Village for much longer, she made the decision to move out and share a rental home with her significant other.  Arin moved out at the end of June, 2017 and has continued to maintain her successful ways.  She is excelling at her job and is enjoying the life she has created for herself.  She maintains regular contact with Quixote Village residents and staff.  It should be noted, Arin has been clean and sober for over two and a half years now.

Arin is a great example of what can be accomplished when someone obtains stable housing and access to services.  She is also a great example of hard work and determination.  Although the process was difficult, Arin never gave up.  She believed in herself and what she could accomplish.  Quixote Village staff appreciate the opportunity to nominate Arin Long for an annual Phoenix Award.  We believe she is very deserving of this honor.

Raul introducing Arin at the Awards Ceremony

Arin telling her story

Arin receiving her award from Lowell Gordon, past BHR Foundation President

Arin receiving her award

The crew.

Arin and her significant other Adam

 

 

 

 

 

We are so proud of you Arin!

Our crew! From left: Raul, Tim, Adam, Arin, Jimi, Paulie, Anne, and Jaycie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life Skills 201 Graduation!

                                           Marie giving her graduation speech

Hello everyone! I had the pleasure this Tuesday, July 25th, to witness five of our residents graduate from the Life Skills 201 Program at the Peace Center. Our residents went through a seven-week course packed with real life learning. Here are some of the things they learned:
– Budgeting (food budgeting, different ways of making a budget, envelope system)
– Saving
– Do’s and don’ts of credit cards and payday loans
– Life priorities (wants v. needs)
– Nutrition (chalked full of healthy recipes they can make from our produce in our garden)
– Fitness
– Resume building
-Goal setting
– Time management
We are SO extremely thankful for the staff and volunteers at the Peace Center for providing such a friendly and fun atmosphere. The Peace Center is part of Capital Christian Center. They are a resource center with a full food bank, workshops, and a plethora of educational workshops. We are so honored that they came to US and asked our residents what they wanted to learn. I was lucky enough to be able to attend all of the classes and see each Life Coach and resident learn from each other’s lived experiences. It was a beautiful thing! The Peace Center is planning on doing another Life Skills 201 Program in September/October. We hope for more residents and community members to join in!

                                                            Well deserved treat!

                                             Mike giving his graduation speech

                                                         Jimi receiving his award

                                                        Mike getting his certificate

 

Orting Updates

Hello all,

We have partnered with Community Frameworks, the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs, and Puget Sound Veterans Hope Center to create a tiny home village in Orting, Washington. The village will be the same set up as QV. Yesterday I went to go visit the area. WOW, was I impressed! The land was beautiful. It was quiet and serene. The pictures below do NOT do it justice. It had not one but TWO baseball fields and even a trout pond!

I then went to a community open forum in Orting with our partners. We presented our “case” on building affordable housing for Veterans at the Old Soldiers Home. We had great feedback and support from the community. Our very own resident Jimi gave a powerful speech about his journey from Camp Quixote to the Village. Two veterans from the Hope Center told their stories about how the Hope Center and Tacoma Mission has helped them. They will hopefully be two of our first residents in Orting!
There were some reservations from a few community members, mostly about crime and fear of drug use in their neighborhoods. We hear this one a lot. Although it is a concern to a lot of neighbors, it has proven to be nothing but the opposite at the Village and other permanent supportive housing facilities. We spoke to them about their concerns and gave them an open invitation to come to QV to see how things are here.
Overall, I would say the community open forum was successful. It was great to see all of our partners coming together in order to house homeless veterans. We still have a long way to go and may have some bumps in the road but all I can say to that is bring it on!

 

Walking into the field and admiring the landscape. From L to R: Jimi (QV resident), Sean (Executive Director), and Joe (Board Member).

Raul (Program Manager), looking for some trout.

Fishing Pond gazebo. Can you imagine hanging out here – let alone living here?!

Ted (Panza President) speaking with Alfie (Director of Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs).

 

 

Jimi (Resident) speaking with Community Frameworks

Orting Community Forum watching our PBS video.

Raul talking to the audience about Quixote Village

2nd Week of Life Skills Class 201

Hello all,

Residents just completed their second week of the Life Skills Program 201 with the Peace Center! This week we learned about budgeting and finance. There were some great group activities where residents looked at how much they were actually spending (it made me rethink my daily coffee…). We had some fruitful discussions on wants vs. needs and how these may be different for each individual. We went through some example budgets and the residents’ homework is to work through their own personal one.

Next week we will be learning about savings and loans, debts, FICO scores, and credit cards.

It’s been really amazing working in this new partnership with the Peace Center. The Peace Center is an all-inclusive outreach center that offers a food pantry, resource coaching, as well as different classes such as CPR certification and English as a second language. Our residents have been having a blast with their new classes and coaches. When I got into work at 8 am on the day of the class one of the resident’s said “I just want it to be class time already!”. It’s those comments that make it all worth while!

Conversation with the teacher “are you sure coffee isn’t a NEED?”

 

Debating on who has the best handwriting to write up on the board!

Apparently Joe has the best handwriting!

Wants and needs list

 

New Life Skills 201 Program

Hi all, Jaycie here! Just wanted to post a little update about our new connection with the Peace Center at Capital Christian Center. They are teaching a brand new Life Skills 201 Program exclusively for Quixote Village residents! Their staff came and presented the program to our residents and got feedback about what they’d like to learn about. It’s a personalized program just for QV! Our residents will be learning about:

  • Personal Fitness
  • Community Fitness
  • Nutrition
  • Cooking from the garden (garden to table)
  • Finance and budgeting
  • Time management
  • Resume Building
  • Job Interviewing
  • and anything in between!

We are so excited about this new partnership. We just had our first class last night and it went great! Each resident has their own Life Coach that will help them with the curriculum. It was great to see everyone learning from each other. I really want to give a big THANK YOU to the Peace Center and all of the volunteer life coaches. I’m excited to see where this partnership will go and the bond it will create on our community. Enjoy the pictures below! 🙂

– Jaycie

Steve and Don coming up with their team name “Ice Breakers”

Getting to know each other!

Working Hard

Life Skills Program 201 – May 2017

The group celebrating their first class together! May 2017

 

May 20 Garden Updates

UPDATE February 2018: If you would like to help us with our garden for the 2018 season please donate here.

We are SOOO thankful for the lovely Jill Severn! She donated some cinder blocks and beauty bark for our garden. Not only did she do that but she invited a bunch of her friends and neighbors to help put it all together! It was such a beautiful day today – perfect for a garden work party! Residents, staff, board members, and community members came together to work on our new garden beds. It was a fun time with a rockin’ pizza party at the end. I’ve uploaded some of our hard work (well, I mostly just took pictures and kept spraying everyone down with sunblock). We’ve created multiple beds with walkways big enough for our wheel barrows. We had a student from Seattle University come down to do an interview and he ended up working on the garden with us – thanks Jamoral! We’re going to start planting next! Your Village Neighbor, Jaycie Osterberg

The Garden Party Crew (absent: Jill, she was on the pizza run!)

 

Working hard!

Figuring out where the beauty bark goes!

Our board member Tim getting to it!

Group effort!

The results

Beautiful beds!

Garden Updates – Jaycie

UPDATE February 2018: If you’d like to help us with our garden this year, please donate here.  I’ve had some people asking for updates on our garden. Well here you go!

We have had a few weeding parties with residents, staff, volunteers, and board members. We are almost done overhauling the beds and will start planting soon! The residents have started a small garden group where people will map out where each plant goes and who will be responsible for what. We are so excited to see what this season brings! If you’d like to donate any plants, seeds, pots, or even your gardening skills – please contact me (Jaycie) at 360-890-4079 or jaycie.osterberg@quixotevillage.com. Stay tuned for more info!
Garden April 2017 (4) Garden April 2017 (3) Garden April 2017 (1) Garden April 2017 (8) Garden April 2017 (7) Garden April 2017 (5)

How it all began by Jaycie

One of our most asked questions is how did Quixote Village get started? Well, let me tell you!

camp quixote 2007

Camp Quixote Downtown, 2007

The Village started as a tent city back in 2007. The tent city was established in protest of the Pedestrian Interference Ordinance. This ordinance made it illegal to sit or lie on a sidewalk between 12am and 7am (when people usually sleep). Just as the police were threatening to break up the tent city, a local church graciously offered the residents sanctuary on their property.

Although tent city’s weren’t sanctioned, they were allowed to be on church properties. However – this was not a permanent solution. Per city regulation, each church could only host the tent city for three to six months at a time. So, as soon as residents got settled in they had to pack up and move to another church. The camps also had to have 24/7 “hosts”, or people to watch over. The hosts were 100% volunteers and we gained a lot of public support from them. Residents imagined a tiny home village where they were able to live communally as well as have their own privacy. Then came the birth of Panza. Panza worked with Camp Quixote’s Resident Council to build Quixote Village.

Camp quixote

Camp Quixote at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation host site

It was years of residents and Panza working with an abundance of different local
authorities to raise the money needed for the Village. We received money from the Department of Commerce’s Housing Trust Fund, Community Development Block Grants from Thurston County and the City of Olympia, and funding from document recording fees. We also received grants from local communities at Nisqually, Chehalis Tribe, Boeing Employees’ Fund, and local donors. Thurston County leased us our land for $1 per year for 41 years. We worked with Community Frameworks as our developer and one of our own volunteers, Garner Miller, did the architecture.

Although we had public support, there were just as many people against us. We had to show them that all of their fears of crime, vandalism, and
architectslowered property values were merely false. Location also proved to be complicated because of NIMBY (Not In My BackYard). Many people did not want “our type of community” in their neighborhood. We were even taken to court for our present location. Another downfall was zoning – since there wasn’t really any permitting for tiny homes we had to work with local legislatures to create one. We had (and still have) many supporters who advocated for the Village.

building

Early stages of the village, 2013

Our residents were involved in every step of the way. They helped with the design, location, and even some of the construction. After many hours of labors of love, the Village was finally opened on December 24, 2013. Camp Quixote residents left their tents behind and started their journey of permanent housing. We wouldn’t be where we are today without the hard work of the board, residents, and community members. Housing is a right and we will continue to safely house people and provide a path to stability.

 

Quixote Village Updates from Jaycie

Hi everyone – Jaycie here. I just wanted to give some updates on how we are all doing! We had our 3 year anniversary for the Village back in February as well as our 10 year anniversary for the start up of the camp. Can you believe it? We had a fun night with music, story telling, and tours to celebrate this milestone. We’ve accomplished so much in these past years but it’s really nothing compared to what our residents have achieved. People constantly amaze us with their resiliency! We’ve had people earn their high school diploma and Bachelor’s Degree. We’ve had people get their driver’s licenses back and own their own vehicle. People are going back to work (or continuing their work). People are reconnecting with family members they haven’t talked to in years. There are people who are finally able to work on their mental and/or physical health. People are learning to trust again. They don’t have to live on a 24 hour clock, trying to think of where they are going to stay or how they are going to get food or even how to heat it up. We have people who have fought extreme substance use addictions. We just had someone celebrate their 2 years of sobriety and have another resident about to celebrate their 4 years! People are constantly working on themselves and it’s a beautiful thing.

Residents have access to staff for supportive services. But they also have each other. There is a TON of peer support here at the Village. Residents are always helping each other out. It’s this type of peer mentorship that aids in the success of the Village. Residents are able to live with other people with shared experiences and it’s those shared experiences that bring them together. We aren’t just a Tiny Home Village, we’re a family.

Spring is just around the corner!

Hi everyone, Jaycie here! Spring is just around the corner, which means it’s time for us to work on the garden! The residents got together last week to put together a plan of action. Here are our “before” pictures. I can’t wait to show the results! Our residents love gardening. It is really a great way for collaboration within our community as well as a form of therapy and self-care. Plus, it’s great to eat! Stay tuned for updated pictures!

Garden Before (1) Garden Before (2) Garden Before (3)

Exciting New Partnership with the City of Olympia!

Quixote Village overlooks Black Lake Meadows, a beautiful City of Olympia wetlands area that gathers and filters stormwater. Tom Otto and Jesse Barnham, who manage the Meadows, brought a crew of Americorps volunteers and planted native plants, mostly from the Meadows, in the Village stormwater ponds.In return, Village residents will be trained to act as stewards of the Meadows by walking the paths, picking up litter, and reporting any problems they see to the city. Village residents will learn about storm water management, plants and wildlife in the area.

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The Americorps Crew and Olympia staff

The Americorps Crew and Olympia staff

 

Local Media Coverage of Quixote Village!

stitch#3_resizeMeet QV Program Manager Raul Salazar and Panza President Tim Ransom in an interview on TCTV. On “Mission Non Profit,” Robert Kam talked with us about the history of Camp Quixote and what is going on at the Village today. The program airs Sundays at 4:30 pm, Tuesdays at 7 pm, Thursdays at 7:30 pm and Saturdays at 10 am and 6:30 pm, on Channel 77, and can be found on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k25ROM0HMnE&feature=youtu.be.

Villagers participate in a fun run!

Well, its been quite some time since there’s been a Quixote Village post.  It was a very busy summer, with gardens to grow and harvest, weeds to pull, a firewood shelter

Part of the Team

Part of the Team

to build (thanks, Scott!), and on and on.  Hopefully things will slow a bit as we move into the fall.  The first rains will fill the ponds again (I know ducks and plovers are out there, just waiting) and it will be time to enjoy indoor activities once again.

We have welcomed some new residents to the Village and expect a few more in the days to come.  And most fortunately, after Julie retired from the position we were able to hire Alicia Crumpton to be our new Resident Advocate.  She has fit right in and brings a wealth of experience and new ideas to the Village.

They are off!

They are off!

 

Tie-dye on the hoof?

Tie-dye on the hoof?

For some time now, residents and staff have been joining their friends from Drexel House for weekly walk-jog-run workouts under the guidance of volunteer Anne Larsen.  Last weekend some brought along their kids to participate in the Bright Futures Fun Run, a  “5k run, walk, glide, dance through Olympia” (http://www.brighterfuturesrun.com/).  A great time had by all.  More soon!

 

A New Award for Quixote Village

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We are very pleased to announce that Quixote Village and Panza are the recipients of a Phoenix Award from BHR’s Community Mental Health Foundation.  BHR (or Behavioral Health Resources) gives Phoenix awards annually to “celebrate those who have risen from the ashes of mental illness and addiction along with those who have helped them do so.”  The goal is “to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness and/or addiction and to promote the understanding that mental illness and addiction are treatable.” (http://www.bhr.org/)

Many thanks to BHR for this recognition.  As Panza Board President Tim Ransom said, in receiving the award on behalf of the Board, village residents and staff, and the hundreds of volunteers that have made both Camp Quixote and Quixote Village possible, “Quixote Village has received a great deal of attention from local and nation-wide media as a possible model for housing the homeless in tiny houses since we opened last Christmas. But there is nothing quite so nice as being acknowledged by our hometown peers.”

We are very excited by the possibility that BHR will be able to provide its services onsite, at the Village, in the near future.  They share our sense of urgency that we need to more effectively provide services for people with co-occurring disorders–mental health and substance abuse.  Thanks BHR!

 

Spring at the Village

Spring!  Sun!  Gardens!

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Quixote Village has experienced the same incredible spring as the rest of Western Washington, and front porches on the cottages are the place to be!

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And self-sufficiency through gardening is the word from walking “green thumb” Sharon, who is overseeing the Village’s vegetable plot, just east of the community building.

 

 

 

Sharon oversees the Village garden.

Sharon oversees the Village garden.

A number of Village residents have planted their favorite flowers and vegetables in the small plots out front of their cottages, as well, and it is all about color!

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Outside is the place to be.

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Quixote Village has Visitors!

Since the publication of the article on Quixote Village in the New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/20/garden/small-world-big-idea.html?_r=0), the stream of visitors to the Village seems to have been endless!  Most prominent have been major media groups (see my previous post for some) including, last week, Al Jazeera with Allen Schauffler, which spent the better part of two days with us and broadcast live feeds from the Village on Thursday.  ABC World News spent Wednesday interviewing and filming villagers — their clip is supposed to air this week (ABC World News with Diane Sawyer) and we will be featured in a story about responses to homelessness nationwide.

Al Jazeera America's live feed truck at the Village.  Allen Schauffler is in yellow.

Al Jazeera America’s live feed truck at the Village. Allen Schauffler is in yellow.

 

The stream of calls, emails and Facebook postings has also been constant, with people from all around the country expressing interest in and solidarity for the mission of the Village. Everyone from nearby neighbors to homeless advocates from near and far have come to visit, see what’s going on and, in many cases, ask “How’d you do it?”  The answer to that question, of course, is neither short nor simple, but revolves around the notion that it has taken seven years, since the founding of Camp Quixote, to build a constituency that would make it happen–to gather together the village that would build a village.  City, county, state and federal elected officials and staff, local business, hundreds of our neighbors who have volunteered to help, all had to be on board before critical mass — the intention to build a permanent site for chronically homeless adults here — was reached.

The latest visitors to Quixote Village.

The latest visitors to Quixote Village.

Of course the brunt of all this attention, and the hardest work to build that constituency, has always fallen on the shoulders of the residents of, first, Camp Quixote, and now Quixote Village.  The recent spate of visitors has turned the Village into a fishbowl, and the ability of the villagers to accept being under the microscope (I love to mix metaphors!) with such good grace has been nothing short of amazing.  Special thanks to those who have been willing to open their homes and lives to inquiring eyes and lenses, and here’s hoping that your “fifteen minutes of fame” is a suitable reward.  The true value of your gift, though, is your contribution, by being a “guinea pig” (3rd time’s a charm!), to an end to poverty and homelessness everywhere!

While we know that the visitors will keep coming (and they are welcome!), it was with some relief that we said goodbye to the last TV truck and greeted another set of neighbors — ducks!  On Sunday five mallards dropped in for a spin on the ponds and apparently liked what they found.  We are really looking forward to making the ponds even more alluring this spring by installing wetland plants with the help of wonderful volunteers with the Deschutes Estuary Restoration Team and Cascadecopia.  Frogs have already taken up residence as well.

Village residents eye each other.

Village residents eye each other.

So stay tuned (and wish for spring, soon!).

 

Quixote Village Gets Media Attention!

The last few weeks has brought an incredible amount of attention to our efforts at Quixote Village.  It began with articles in The Daily Olympian, soon after the residents of Camp Quixote became villagers (http://www.theolympian.com/2013/12/31/2908856/camp-quixote-reaches-a-major-milestone.html), and the story was then picked up by The Seattle Times and its affiliates.  Stories in Seattle’s homeless publication, Real Change (http://realchangenews.org/index.php/site/archives/8561) and even South Puget Sound’s student paper, The Sounds, followed.

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Michael Tortorello interviews Thurston County Commissioner Karen Valenzuela at Quixote Village

But the piece that has unleashed a flood of attention appeared just days ago in The New York Times.  Back in January, journalist Michael Tortorello spent three days in Olympia, interviewing many of the people who were key in making Quixote Village possible: state and local elected officials, members of Panza, Village staff.  But he spent by far the most time with villagers, and the result, published in the Home section of The Times on February 20th, was a tour de force.  You can find his piece at http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/20/garden/small-world-big-idea.html?ref=garden.

The New York Times article has elicited a flood of calls, emails and Facebook queries that shows no signs of abating.  Yesterday resident John Waddley and Panza Board member Jill Severn made a cameo appearance on MSNBC’s Weekends with Alex Witt (http://www.msnbc.com/weekends-alex-witt/watch/village-provides-housing-for-homeless-165362243877), and CBS Evening News has indicated interest.

Along with this attention from the Fourth Estate has come queries from locations near and far where local folks and their elected officials are trying to come to terms with issues of poverty and homelessness–Seattle, the East Side of Lake Union, Eugene, Lancaster and Santa Cruz in  California, Grays Harbor County in Washington State, Ann Arbor, Prince Georges County in Maryland, and more.  It is both comforting and a shock to know that so many other communities are faced with the same issues as we are.

 

QUIXOTE VILLAGE HOUSEWARMING Feb 9, 2014

Join us for a wonderful celebration. Here’s our new wish list, if you care to bring a gift.

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Housewarming Wish List

Non skid bath mats  (4)

Shower squeegies

Cleaning gloves

Paper towel holder for kitchen

Large canisters for flour, sugar, rice, etc.

Canning jars and equipment

Aprons

Pastry cutters

Blinds for community building windows (or funding for them)

Table lamps and end tables for living room

Firewood

Lumber to build a woodshed (We’d need to talk about design and construction first.)

Large flowerpots for patio

Gardening books and catalogues

Self-help/inspirational books

Basketball (We have a hoop!)

Heavy duty toilet plungers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM QUIXOTE VILLAGE!

Against what at times seemed insurmountable odds, and with the help of countless volunteers, our supportive contractor, Construct Inc., and the their own hard work, the residents of Camp Quixote became the first Quixote villagers on Christmas Eve!

Moving into Quixote Village

Moving into Quixote Village

 

The construction phase is not fully completed–there is a lot of landscaping still to do, and finishing touches to be applied to the community building.  But things got far enough along that the City of Olympia could issue a temporary permit of occupancy, and all the cottages and kitchen, laundry and bathing facilities are fully functional.

Unloading hand-built desks and stools for the cottages at Quixote Village.

Unloading hand-built desks and stools for the cottages at Quixote Village.

 

Panza Board members and other volunteers provided a Christmas tree, a fire in the wood stove and a sumptuous dinner–the first meal in the community building!–on Christmas Eve, and the kind folks from Westminster Presbyterian Church, where Camp Quixote spent the past six months, brought gifts for everyone.  More than a few tears were shed that night!

Much remains to be done: villagers are hard at work cleaning up the last camp site at Westminster; Construct, Inc., and its subcontractors are applying the final touches; and Panza and its staff are putting in place all the strategies and procedures designed to make Quixote Village an outstanding model of permanent supportive housing for our homeless neighbors.

From all of us, THANK YOU TO EVERYONE who worked so tirelessly to help the residents become villagers, and on Christmas Eve!  The list is as long as memory: scads of volunteers, donors, gift-givers and dinner-providers; city and county, state and federal elected officials and staff who championed and facilitated our progress through the rules and processes; major and minor donors who took a chance on a first-of-its-kind response to homelessness; and, last but by no means least, the owners and employees of the businesses–especially Mike and Andrew of Construct Inc.–who put in so much extra time and effort to make that first evening possible.

Keep an eye out for an announcement of a GRAND OPENING in the next few weeks.  In the meantime, HAPPY NEW YEAR from the Quixote villagers and the Panza Board!!!

Tim Ransom, President of Panza

P.S., Obviously our website will need updating now!  Please be patient, as we lack a webmaster at the moment.  So much to do, so little time…..

WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS

A Most Happy Thanksgiving from the residents of Camp Quixote and the members of the Board of Panza to you all, and especially to all those wonderful friends and volunteers that are making Quixote Village happen.

Cottages showing off their new paint job in the frozen pond.

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Pouring the sidewalks.

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Quixote Village Program Manager Raul Salazar (left center, in black) checks on progress.

 

Pulling wires in the Community Building, now called "The House."

Pulling wires in the Community Building, now called “The House.”

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THE QUIXOTE VILLAGE GIVING TREE

Generous Friends:

The requests from our initial Wish List are nearly all fulfilled.  It’s been an amazing and wonderful outpouring of generosity. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!

Now we are turning to another big need:  FOOD.

Our first week in the Village will be the last week of this month – a time when residents will be broke and probably a little disoriented – so it’s especially crucial to have nutritious food at that time.

The community building at the Village has a full, well-appointed kitchen.  Also, we have freezers!  This is quite a luxury, and will allow us to take donations of frozen meat, fish, vegetables, and anything else you can think of.

We are providing this list as a starting point, but if you think of other foods not on the list, they will be welcome.  Please contact Jill Severn at 360-753-2095 to schedule your delivery to the Village.

And once again, thank you for helping make this a spectacularly joyous season for 30 formerly homeless people.

THE FOOD LIST:

Fresh Foods:

Milk
Eggs
Bread
Tortillas
Fresh vegetables
Meat (bacon, sausage, hamburger, etc.)
Cheese
Yogurt
Fruit

Pantry Supplies:

Breakfast cereal – Cheerios, granola
Oatmeal
Sugar
Flour
Pancake Mix
Syrup
Coffee
Spices
Hot sauce
Ketchup
Mayonnaise
Mustard
Pickles and relish
Peanut Butter
Jam/Jelly
Rice
Beans
Canned goods – fruit, tomato sauce, tuna, enchilada sauce, soups, etc.
Pasta

Frozen food:

Meat
Fish
Pot pies
Vegetables
Fruit
Hashbrown potatoes
Frozen, bake-it-yourself break loaves

COTTAGES ALL IN A ROW

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Camp Quixote residents tour the eastern row of cottages at Quixote Village

The cottages of Quixote Village are taking shape!  All but one or two are framed in, many have their windows, and some are being wired and plumbed already!  We are still on track for occupancy in mid to late December, despite the weather’s best efforts to slow us down!

Cottages along the west side of the Village.

Cottages along the west side of the Village.

Panza Board members are off pricing furniture and appliances, Miriam is plumbing her volunteer lists for help in painting the interior of the Community Building and the cottages, and a group from the Olympia Unitarian Universalist Congregation has embarked on a project to make about 100 curtains!

The Quixote Village Community Building awaits siding and roofing.  The interior walls have been framed in, and some fixtures are already in place.

The Quixote Village Community Building awaits siding and roofing. The interior walls have been framed in, and some fixtures are already in place.

Join us in this joyous creation!  We need volunteers to paint, install landscaping, and help the residents move from their present location at Westminster Presbyterian on Boulevard Road.  If you can help, call Miriam at 360 584-9804.  Don’t have time?  Then hit the “Donate Now” button to the right and help us with some unforeseen last-minute expenses. Just think how it would feel to be able to say, “I helped build that!”

 

Quixote Village Grows Despite Rainfall

We’re Growing Cottages!

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Quixote Village last week, with an unplanned swimming pool.

Did you notice it rained last month?  Nine plus inches in September.  Enough!

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Interior of a Quixote Village Cottage

Our schedule for site excavation–mainly the stormwater ponds–has been seriously delayed.   But there has been a silver lining.  We’ve started growing cottages!

There will be 30 of them altogether, 155 square feet, plus a front porch, and they’ll come furnished with a bed with drawers below, a desk/table and a chair (and a toilet and sink, of course).

Cottages going up on the east side of the site.

Cottages going up on the east side of the site.

Drop by the site and check out the progress–and bring a bucket to help us get rid of  the excess moisture!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hiring a Program Manager for Quixote Village

Quixote Village Program Manager

Job Description

September 19, 2013

Position title:                          Program Manager, Quixote Village

Reports to:                              Panza, Quixote Village Resident Council

Application deadline:             October 11, 2013

Program Description

Quixote Village will be an affordable housing program for 30 homeless adults.  It will be an innovative, sustainable, self-governing community with an elected Resident Council that includes a president, vice president, secretary and treasurer.  The Resident Council will operate in partnership with the program manager.

Priority for residence in the Village will be given to the current residents of Camp Quixote, a self-governing tent camp that has moved from one church parking lot to another in Olympia, Washington for the past six-plus years.

The Village will consist of 30 small cabins and a community building that will include a communal kitchen and dining space, showers, laundry facilities, and meeting and office space.  The idea for this Village came from the founders of Camp Quixote.

Panza (named for Don Quixote’s servant and sidekick, Sancho Panza), is a non-profit organization that grew out of the faith communities that have hosted and supported Camp Quixote.  Panza will be the legal owner of the Village.

The Village is under construction now, and will be ready for occupancy in mid-December, 2013.

Panza contracts with Catholic Community Services for the services of a half-time Resident Advocate who helps Camp residents set goals and gain access medical, mental health, employment, disability and housing services.  The Resident Advocate will continue to serve the community following the move to Quixote Village.

Position Description

The Program Manager will be employed by Panza starting on or about November 15, 2013.  This is a full-time, permanent position.  The salary will be $48,000 per year plus benefits.

Panza will provide support in several ways, including financial oversight, bookkeeping, volunteer recruitment, and fundraising.

The Program Manager will:

In partnership with the Resident Council and Panza, plan for and execute moving 30 people from Camp Quixote to Quixote Village.

Be responsible for myriad start-up administrative processes, including finalizing the Village management plan, policies and procedures manual, and maintenance plan.

Be responsible for management of a resident-governed Village, including program oversight, public relations, volunteer management, and meeting reporting requirements for funders and government agencies.

Act as onsite facilities manager, including responsibility for facilities maintenance, including arranging for any contracted repairs, maintaining a preventive maintenance schedule, and coordinating with the Resident Council for maintenance and custodial work performed by residents.

Ensure compliance with fair housing and landlord/tenant laws, and manage related processes such as issuing legal notices and providing follow-up when there are lease violations or evictions.

Provide staff support to the Resident Council and its elected leaders, and provide leadership coaching and assistance to ensure that the Resident Council can fairly and consistently enforce house rules and standards of behavior, and amend them when necessary.

Create and maintain a system for receiving and recording applications for residence in the Village, perform background checks, and provide staff support to the Resident Council and its Screening Committee as they interview and make decisions on prospective residents who are eligible and in compliance with all funding sources and contracts.

In partnership with the elected leaders of the Resident Council and Panza, represent the Village in public settings to build and sustain community support, funding, and volunteer participation, and to ensure that the Village is a team player in the broader community’s efforts to end homelessness.

Execute rental or lease agreements with each resident, manage and maintain Village resident files, manage vacancies and unit turnover.

Manage the resident database including move-ins, move-outs and accounting ledgers including processing security deposits at move out.  Receive, process and deposit payments for rent, late fees and security deposits, and assist Panza in financial management.

Maintain close and regular contact with Panza, attend monthly Panza meetings, and inform Panza of any problems that may arise, any policies or processes that need improvement, and the Village’s track record in meeting its performance goals.

Communicate regularly with the Resident Advocate to discuss issues relating to the well being of individual residents and the community as a whole.

Manage the use, driver training, and maintenance of the Village van.

Manage Quixote Village website and social media

Desired qualifications

Significant experience working with people who have been homeless or marginalized, and those who have mental illness and/or addiction issues

Demonstrated expertise in management, including ability to establish and manage files, understand and comply with multiple contracts and reporting requirements, and single-handedly perform all the administrative functions of a small enterprise.

Successful experience in fundraising, community relations, and collaboration with multiple community organizations and initiatives

Proficiency with web site management, use of social media, and office software

Experience with non-profit organizations and boards

Commitment to social justice for people living in poverty, and a thoughtful approach to strategies for achieving it

Degree(s) in related fields

Application process

Send cover letter and resume to:

Panza

PO Box 2274

Olympia, Washington 98507

or email to:  jillsevern@comcast.net

For more information, go to www.quixotevillage.com

 

And the Walls Go Up!

Here we are back in summer again, and the blue skies are a photographer’s delight!  Especially one that gets to record Quixote Village going up!

Quixote Village's community building continues to take shape.

Quixote Village’s community building continues to take shape.

 

Fun in the sun!

Fun in the sun!

 

 

The crew has even started framing the floors of the cottages nearest the community building, those that are ADA compliant.  A village is going up!

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The foundations for the cottages on the west side of the village.

 

 

 

 

Floor joists for the eastern cottages.

Floor joists for the eastern cottages.

Don’t forget to keep checking out this blog, as we document the birth of Quixote Village together!

 

Neither Snow nor Rain nor Heat nor……

WORK ON QUIXOTE VILLAGE CONTINUES DESPITE TORRENTIAL DOWNPOURS

Well, QV fans, I guess we have had rainier days in the Puget Sound area, but not by much. Rainfall from the last few days has nearly set records and triggered flood watches (already!) for  Grays Harbor, Clallam, Island, Jefferson, San Juan, Skagit, Whatcom, King, Kitsap, Lewis, Mason, Pierce, Snohomish and Thurston counties.

The rain left a small lake where the stormwater ponds will be.

Wednesday’s rain left a small lake where the stormwater ponds will be.

Despite the conditions, the crews from Construct, Inc., and Black Hills Excavating, Inc., have stayed at it, and all of a sudden WE HAVE WALLS!

Jill Severn (in doorway, left) admires the north- and south-facing walls of Quixote Village's community building

Jill Severn (in doorway, left) admires the north- and south-facing walls of Quixote Village’s community building.

Footings for the cottages dot the damp landscape.

Footings for the cottages dot the damp landscape.

Stay tuned….

Its Really Getting Interesting at Quixote Village Site!

QUIXOTE VILLAGE IS TAKING SHAPE WITH HELP FROM LEGISLATORS!

Last week at the construction site of Quixote Village, on Mottman Road in SW Olympia, major milestones were passed, and a couple of friendly legislators dropped in to see what is going on.

Rep. Ormsby (right foreground) helps smooth the slab

Rep. Ormsby (right foreground) helps smooth the slab

State Representative Timm Ormsby (D – Spokane) showed up just in time to help Construct Inc. pour the slab for the 2,723 square foot community building that will house kitchen and dining facilities, showers and laundry, and meeting and office space.  Rep Ormsby has been a long and vigorous supporter of our efforts, and, fortunately, he used to be a cement finisher, so he knew what he was doing.

The finished slab of the Community Building

The finished slab of the Community Building

Friday, new Washington Congressman Denny Heck (D- 10th District), took time off after his town hall meeting at nearby South Puget Sound Community College to visit the site and be briefed on the Village by Panza Board member Jill Severn.  By then the footprints for the 30 small cottages that will house residents had been marked off, and the crew was preparing to set the footings that will support the foundation beams.

Congressman Denny Heck gets briefed on the Village (staffer, Brendan Woodbury to the right; photo courtesy of Mr. Heck)

Congressman Denny Heck gets briefed on the Village (staffer, Brendan Woodbury to the right; photo courtesy of Mr. Heck)

Workers set up Snootubes as forms for the cottage footings.

Workers set up Snootubes as forms for the cottage footings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Watch out World, walls are coming!

My Kingdom for a…. Footing!

We have Lift Off!

Last week the concrete foundation for the community building was poured.

Workman smooths the top of the foundation for the Quixote Village community building.

Workman smooths the top of the foundation for the Quixote Village community building.

The excavation crew is still removing excess dirt, but now also installing the sewer lines for the community building and cottages.  It turns out that the western half of the lot is mostly fill, and so easy to dig in.

Installing the sewer line

Installing the sewer line

The eastern half, however. is all old, undisturbed earth, and much harder and full of stone.  The crew has dulled several sets of teeth on the backhoe and removed a number of large boulders in the process.  They’ll add a lot to our landscaping!

Stay tuned to see what’s next in the building of Quixote Village!

Yes, There is Progress!

If you have driven past the Quixote Village site recently, you might have thought,  “What’s going on? Nothing’s happening!”  Well, appearances aside, a lot has been going on, but behind the scenes.  Get this: the site has been leased to us by Thurston County (for one dollar a year for 40 years, thank you very much!), it actually falls within the jurisdiction of the City of Olympia, and the City of Tumwater, which is right across the street, actually provides some utilities.  Which resulted in some confusion about who gets to charge us for what that has taken some time to work out.  But word came down Tuesday that we are good to go, and additional excavation will begin next Monday (look for the clouds of dust!).  Meanwhile, our contractor has been assembling materials for the cabins and community building and making all the other arrangements that need to be done at this stage.

And, thanks to Camp Quixote resident/graphic specialist Jon Colt, we have a construction banner, acknowledging the major players in making Quixote Village happen, posted at the site:

Next time you drive by, things should be jumpin’!  Give a toot on your horn to show your support!  More, anon.

Time to Get Down to It!

Serious work began last week at the Quixote Village construction site, off Mottman Road.  The first step is to level the ground, which means lots of great shovel work (who remembers Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel? ), lots of noise and dust.

IMG_0075_resizeFortunately the excavated dirt is being trucked only as far as the next lot, where the owner needs to fill in a hole.

I’ll be keeping you up to date on progress made as we go along.

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(Below) Some of the cast of characters at the first of twice monthly construction meetings:  Jill Severn of Panza; Bob Wolpert, Board member and Owner’s Representative for Panza; Mike Goheen from Construct, Inc.; Garner Miller of MSGS Architects; Max Benson from Community Foundations; and Amy Head from SCJ Alliance.

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(Left) Jill confers with Mike Goheen

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(Right) Camp Quixote residents Scott and Steve hammer out details with the crew at MSGS architects.

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It’s Happening! Groundbreaking, we have our contractor, and more!

Well, fans, so much has happened that I hardly know where to start! Among the biggies:

Groundbreaking for Quixote Village

On Saturday, the residents of Camp Quixote and Panza put on quite a show for 150 plus members of the public.  In attendance were former residents of Camp Quixote, Frank Chopp (Speaker) and others from the state House of Representatives, Thurston County Commissioners Karen Valenzuela and Sandra Romero, and Olympia City Council members Roe, Hankins and Jones, as well as many familiar faces from the ranks of friends and volunteers that have supported Camp Quixote over the years.  Camp residents and Panza Board members sported blue Quixote Village t-shirts adorned with an excellent design by Camp resident Jon Colt (see photo).  Music, including a final sing-a-long to Pete Seeger’s “If I had a Hammer,” was provided by the Olympia Unitarian Universalist Church Choir.

Jon Colt’s t-shirt design

The event was an opportunity for the residents of Camp Quixote and members of Panza to thank those who had major roles in making Quixote Village happen, from legislators and local officials who fought for funding, to Garner Miller at MSGS Architects, our attorney Barnett Kalikow, Ginger Segal from Community Frameworks, and others who have worked so hard, often on a pro bono basis, to bring us to this point.

Speaking for the Camp residents, Jon Colt was witty and sincere in thanking the scads of people who have supported the camp, as hosts and movers, over the years.  Former Panza president and Camp mother, Jill Severn, spoke eloquently of Quixote Village, saying, “We are not just breaking ground, we are breaking new ground by building a new kind of housing for people who’ve been homeless.” She received a standing ovation from the assemblage.  Yours truly took the opportunity to express our thanks to the faith communities who have supported the Camp with funds and by hosting for the past seven years.

Camp Quixote President Steve Clark and resident Kevin Johnson break ground.

I also informed the crowd of some of our recent difficulties with funding for Quixote Village, including the loss of promised Section 8 vouchers that had been expected to make up a significant portion of the annual operating costs for the Village (including rents from the residents themselves).  We are continuing to seek every new opportunity for construction and operations money, but as suggested by the theme of the day–“It takes a village to build a village”–we need help from everyone.  Please consider making a contribution to Camp Quixote, Quixote Village and Panza today by clicking on the “Donate Now” button to the right.  You, too, can help make this extraordinary experiment in reducing homelessness in our community happen!

The Bids are In!

Last week seven firms submitted bids to build Quixote Village, and the low bidder was Construct, Inc. of Olympia.  Happily the bid was in line with our expectations. We even have been able to contemplate adding back in some of the items, like downspouts and gutters, that we were forced to set aside as only “possibles” when we got new cost estimates earlier this year.

There are still some i’s to dot and t’s to cross, but if all goes according to plan, building will actually start later this month, and of course our goal is to get the residents into their new homes before Christmas.  Andrew Christiansen, owner of Construct, Inc. was able to join us for the groundbreaking.  Welcome, Andrew and crew!

Quixote Village, where it rains!

If you don’t live in Western Washington, then you may not know that it has been raining pretty steadily for almost a couple of weeks now–typical May showers followed by May downpours in anticipation of June floods!  Thanks to Alan Potter of AEP Hauling & Dozing Inc., the village site has been cleared and leveled, in preparation for digging of the storm water ponds, which, if you squint at this picture, look like they have already been filled!

Hopefully things will have dried up considerably in time for THE QUIXOTE VILLAGE GROUNDBREAKING CELEBRATION scheduled for Saturday, June 8th at 2 pm.  All friends of Camp Quixote and Quixote Village are invited as we take the opportunity to thank everyone who has helped move this unique, model response to homelessness in our community forward.  It will take place, come rain or come shine (the weather forecast is actually pretty good!), but we’ll have a big tent, just in case.  Please join us!

And if you are looking for a way to get involved, Camp Quixote will be moving its location, hopefully for the last time, on Saturday, June 29th, from its current site at First Christian Church on Franklin Street in Olympia to Westminster Presbyterian Church on Boulevard Road.

Moving Camp Quixote

Pickup trucks and strong backs will be needed all day, and it will be another great opportunity to get to know the residents and your friends and neighbors who  are helping.  If you want more information about the move and what’s needed, please contact Miriam at (360) 584-9804.

Oh, and please be sure to “Share” and “Like” our Facebook posts.  We need all the friends we can get!

Work on Quixote Village Begins!

Welcome to the first issue of the QUIXOTE VILLAGE BLOG!

Over the next few weeks and months we will keep you up to date here with progress made in the construction of Quixote Village, a permanent supportive housing site for homeless adults in our area.  The development will include 30 small cottages surrounding a community building, and we hope it will look something like this:

Artist’s birds eye view of Quixote Village

The residents of Camp Quixote and Panza have been dreaming of building the Village ever since the camp began, and now, after years of fundraising, planning and designing, the day is finally here!

 

We are overjoyed to announce that what used to look like this:

The site on Mottman Road, “before…”

 

 

 

 

Now looks like this:

And “after.”

Thanks to the extremely generous donation of Alan Potter and his crew at AEP Hauling and Dozing, clearing of the site has begun, and excavation of the stormwater ponds will soon follow.  HoooooRahhhh!

So keep an eye on these blog pages for on-the-spot and up-to-date postings on our progress!  If you want to know more about who we are and where we’ve come from, check out the rest of the Quixote Village website.

Oh, and be sure to mark your calendar for June 8th and our groundbreaking celebration at 2 pm at the construction site, 3350 Mottman Rd SE, 3/4s of a mile west of South Puget Sound Community College, in Olympia.  It will be a grand time, and an opportunity for everyone to get involved in this wonderful project to help our homeless neighbors.  See you there!