Our residents and staff were deeply saddened and angered by the death of Charleena Lyles, a Solid Ground resident, at the hands of police. As our Sand Point Housing campus begins to transition from crisis to recovery, we want to let you know about how Solid Ground and community partners are responding to residents’ concerns and needs.
Immediately following the tragic events of June 18, Solid Ground took action to provide additional support to Sand Point residents. On the day of the tragedy, Solid Ground senior leadership and staff were on site over 11 hours coordinating with the family, residents, and first responders. Onsite grief counseling was available that day to the family and residents, and this has continued with drop-in group and one-on-one grief sessions. Solid Ground staff members have been working long hours to juggle crisis response, community vigils, meetings and ongoing services, and to ramp up summer programming. The full list of programming and resources below is our attempt to present to you, our community, a comprehensive picture of how our organization is addressing this tragedy.
First and foremost, Solid Ground must be accountable to residents. We know that accountability starts with self-examination. To this end, we will be launching an independent assessment of our services and procedures and work to identify ways that we, and the systems of care we operate within, can provide the protection and support everyone deserves.
Solid Ground is also committed to a much more robust process of engaging with residents through community organizing and by revitalizing our Residents’ Advisory Council. We look forward to sharing more details about that shortly.
As a direct service and social justice organization, it is incredibly frustrating to see our community’s social service, housing, mental health and other systems can and do fail the people who come to us. DSHS, mental health, housing funders, and other systems need to be at the table with housing service providers — and these services must be funded and available to people who need them and cannot pay for them.
We are incredibly grateful for the outpouring of community support. I won’t speak for residents, but it is clear to me how much your love and presence means to them. We are especially grateful for the leadership and generous involvement of the Sand Point Elementary School PTA and other school communities.
If you want to help
In an effort to better coordinate with community partners, we have named Susan Walsh as our point of contact for people and groups interested in supporting the community by bringing people or resources onsite. You can reach her at 206.753.4830 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We all must do better to make our community the equitable, safe place we all yearn for. With your support and caring involvement, for which we are so deeply thankful, we will recover from this tragedy and create a stronger community at Sand Point.
Gordon McHenry, Jr.
President & CEO
Comprehensive Listing of Resources & Programming for Sand Point Housing Residents
Therapeutic & healing support brought onsite
- Drop-in grief counseling sessions began the day after the shooting. While they were initially held twice daily, with separate sessions for staff and residents, we are working with residents to refine the schedule to better meet their needs. Community partners who have offered their services include the Crisis Clinic, Wellspring grief counselors, Virginia Mason separation and loss services, Ryther therapy for children and families, Navos, Asian Counseling and Referral Service, as well as individual providers.
- Drop in acupuncture and massage treatments.
- Therapeutic Health Services, an ongoing partner provider, has committed to broadening their services on- and offsite for our residents.
- We are currently coordinating therapist support in multiple languages for residents, so that when requested, it can be delivered in a culturally-appropriate manner. We continue to have conversations with residents to get input about how to do this better.
Increased staffing & programming
With our traditional increase in summer staffing beginning this week, we have additional staff onsite. In addition, most members of the Solid Ground management team and other agency staff have come to the campus repeatedly over the past week to hear residents’ concerns and ideas. Beginning this weekend, we are expanding our weekend presence on campus and increasing summer activities for the children.
We are adding to our staff two summer Children’s Advocates and a part-time Family Case Manager. Our current campus staff includes:
- 9 Case Managers, 2 assigned to Brettler Family Place
- 2 mental health professionals who serve the campus
- 3 children’s staff who serve the campus, with 1 additional temp and 2 VISTA positions being hired for summer
- 3 Program Managers
- 5 Operations and Management staff
Programming at the Lowry Community Center will be expanded to weekend afternoon hours beginning with the 4th of July Holiday Weekend.
- A few days after the shooting, we held a campus meeting where residents had the chance to tell myself, Mayor Murray, Police Chief O’Toole, and some of their other elected representatives what they wanted from Solid Ground and the City. Solid Ground staff and volunteers provided child care, food, and case management support to get residents to the session. We are in ongoing communication with them as we strive to deliver the support and resources they have identified.
- On Tuesday June 27, residents, staff and members of the school community met with Native American elders to hold a cleansing, smudging ceremony outside of Brettler Family Place 3, where Charleena Lyles and her children lived. We are planning to host another cleansing ceremony for the broader community soon and will communicate details when we have them through our website as well as via social media.
- Coordinating and delivering transportation for residents to the June 27 City Council Town Hall hearing, as well as organizing them to speak if they wish.
- We are bringing food from local food banks to the campus for residents who have not been able to get offsite.
- Created storage and distribution for in-kind donations for the Lyles family and residents.
- Distributed multiple messages to residents updating them on activities and resources, including posting on all residents’ doors.
Ongoing summer activities include, but are not limited to:
- Rock the Park day camp through the Magnuson Community Center
- Summer Meals – breakfast and lunch (started 6/28)
- Running club, soccer clinic and staff support helping kids connect with camps
- Computer labs, college prep and tutoring
- Boy Scouts
- Weekly book mobile for teens and younger children
- You Grow Girl (starts 7/13)
- Weekend fitness camps (starts 7/8) led by the Austin Foundation in conjunction with Seattle Children’s
- Developing for later in the summer: anti-bullying program, girls’ coding class, and other activities designed to develop and enrich children who live on campus.