The name CHILL was chosen at the second meeting of people that want to find a solution to issues arising from a local influx of travelers, migrant workers, tourists and houseless people. They met on Friday, Oct. 25 at the Vets Hall in Garberville. The name chosen was worked out from the acronym everybody liked, CHILL, which they decided could stand for Community Help In Living Locally.
There were about 17 people at the CHILL meeting, though it was light on representation of main street businesses. Some of those present thought that may have been due to the Homecoming football game at South Fork High School that night. The Chamber of Commerce has expressed interest in some kind of volunteer town presence or patrol to address the issues with travelers in town.
The CHILL concept taking shape is that there will be teams of two people with some identifying item of clothing or gear available in town with literature and information, and training that would include conflict resolution and nonviolence.
Local merchant Paul Encimer said that he had talked to the sheriff, who supported the idea but didn’t want citizens trying to do police work. Encimer pointed out that there are places in town that seem to be pressure points. The idea is to have people trained to have some ways to reduce stress when it comes up in front of businesses or on the street.
Discussions about what would be in the literature included the Hobo Creed, bus schedule, suggestions on etiquette, information on churches, bathrooms, camping sites and a map.
Many people said they thought a central call location was important, so that migrant workers did not just disappear into the hills into unknown circumstances without checking in with someone to keep track. One person shared that United Way has a call number, 211, that gives information about services.
Another person said that in other places she had seen signs that say Leave No Trace and she thought that would be a good idea for here.
In addition to discussing literature, they talked about the logistics of dealing with the situation including how not to alienate the people that they were trying to help, both those on the street and the merchants, what times would be best for being out in groups, and what to wear. Some thought a hat could be an identifying item for CHILL, others thought a sash, scarf or vest might be better. They hope to get more ideas from attendees at the next meeting.
The group will host a workshop at noon on Saturday, Nov. 9 at the Vets Hall in Garberville to begin nonviolence training, role-playing, more discussion and a fashion show for CHILL wear The meeting is open to anyone interested.