Sunday, November 16, 2008

Need Housing?

Photo & Text Copyright 2008 Seattle Daily Photo. All rights reserved, including reproduction or republishing.

. . .that's what the banner on the apartment house reads. It predates the homeless encampment on the parking lot of University Christian Church. The church is being fined by the city for hosting the encampment, named "Nickelsville" (a la depression era "Hoovervilles") for mayor Greg Nickels, whose support for sweeps of homeless campers from parks, underpasses, and vacant lots last year and this prompted protest and an attempted but thwarted large encampment on city and county lands last month before relocating here. Several of the city's christian congregations have hosted a well organized rotating "tent city" in their parking lots over the past number of years and been similarly threatened with fines for doing so under former mayor Schell and current mayor Nickels. Many congregations have opened their indoor spaces to serve as evening shelters, but not all can. One wonders if the tents were those of a youth group, cancer walk or scouting event if the city would take notice or impose fines for camping on private property. According to reports, the city is suggesting that the church shelter all 80 campers inside their building rather than host an exposed encampment, but offers no financial assistance to do so.


Bruce said...

My friend teaches at a school nearby and told me about this camp being set up. I get the impression that Nickelsville is a quite contentious issue in the neighborhood. We can only hope that one day we won't even need places like this.

Wayne said...

We haven't got to the point of churches setting up tent cities but we have had tent cities and to the best of my knowledge they've always been torn down. Even though cities have failed miserably at solving homelessness they don't even seem to have the collective will to find a creative temporary solution.

It's a total embarrassment.

Al said...

I love the irony of this photo!

Jill said...

To be homeless, especially in the cold, wet winter, is not something that any of us would want. There was a 70-something woman who slept in a restaurant doorway at night. She was a 'normal' person, not really much different from me. She told me there was no place where she could go. The one shelter only allowed her to stay one year and then it was back to the streets. People brought her food. Someone gave her a warm sleeping bag. She told me she used her SS check for a motel room twice a month. I was (am) too selfish to bring her home. Instead I bought her a one-way bus ticket to a place she suggested. I haven't seen her since so I hope the move brought her a better life.

Anonymous said...

Kim! This should be a front page picture. It says more than 1,000 words. I love it. Sara.

Becky said...

Wow, this picture and the story it tells is a moving one. It's clear where you stand on the issue...and I'll join you in your stance. Our town is too small to have issues like this come up, but we have over 400 homeless people in a town of 30,000. The thing is...they are next to invisible. I don't know where they are or what they do...where they go...someone has done a good job of hiding them. Perhaps they hide themselves?

Homelessness is a HUGE problem in the U.S. and it seems we overlook it in favour of the issues other countries are dealing with. I wish we'd fix our own problems before telling others how to fix theirs. The plank in your own eye, ya know?

Anonymous said...

I am feeling badly because I haven't visit yet. It was a nice artical and interesting......

Anonymous said...

Fabulous and interesting artical. This picture story that tells homelessness is a huge problem for everyone