News Blog for Seattle's Wallingford Neighborhood

 

Tent City 3 on Ravenna Ave: Answers to Questions Neighborhood Residents Might Have

October 17th, 2014 · No Comments

Our sister site University Distric Daily has written a post addressing the new Tent City 3 Location that has popped up between Ravenna Ave and 8th Ave NE.

YOU MIGHT HAVE NOTICED THAT A TENT CITY HAS POPPED UP ON RAVENNA AVE AND 8TH AVE NE. BEING A RESIDENT OF THIS NEIGHBORHOOD I HAD SOME QUESTIONS. I DECIDED TO STOP BY AND GET SOME ANSWERS.

A blue tarp circles the encampment. I walked until I found the entrance on the Ravenna side. I was immediately greeted with smiles and directed to the front “office.” I met a volunteer organizer who asked to be called ‘Micky Mouse’ to protect his identity. He told me about theSHARE/WHEEL organization that runs Tent City 3 then he introduced me to resident Tom who gave me a little tour.

SHARE stands for Seattle Housing and Resource Effort and WHEEL is for Women’s Housing, Equality and Enhancement League. As mentioned on their website:

“SHARE and WHEEL are a self-organized, democratic, grassroots organizations of homeless and formally homeless individuals. SHARE was founded in 1990 and WHEEL was founded in 1993.  For 22 years we have been working to eradicate homelessness, educate the community, and empower homeless people.”

Mouse told me that Tent City 3 has be running for 13 years and is a model for tent cities across the nation. They are self-managed to help promote the dignity of the individual members.

People might wonder what kind of people are allowed to be part of this Tent City, how long they will stay in a location and why they are here in the first place. Mouse gave me some of their standards:

To be welcomed into the community one needs to have a current ID and must pass a sex-offender check. Tent City 3 does not allow anyone with a sex-offense in their operation. Mouse said that no level of sex-offense is acceptable for their city.

Stays can run from three to six months, but tend to stay in the three-month time frame. They create a contract with their host or neighborhood and they are very strict about sticking to that contract. This tent city is set to relocate to the Seattle University Campus on Jan 11th 2015.

Also of note is that Tent Cities provide their own trash removal and port-a-potties. Bus tickets are provided to each participant each day so they can get to work or appointments. Each Tent City has a food preparation area and volunteers bring hot meals most evenings while other times area residents kindly bring food donations. Some local construction companies have even stopped by to offer work to able-bodied folks.

Tent City 3 also has their own security-safety patrols. Volunteers work up to 30 hours a week to help maintain the site.

Mouse tells me passionately that the people here are not ‘camping,’ they are ’surviving.’ In the words of a resident from their website:

“People are people are people.  What do we want?  We want our lives back.  We lost our lives for the most part when we lost our jobs, housing, and opportunities to the rough times we are living through right now.”
Tom gave me a tour and showed off his awesome long hair!

Mouse said that tent city gives some of these people a safe way to survive that is a step above some other options available to homeless people in this city.

How can you Help?

Most importantly, Donations are gladly welcomed. On the website, there is a detailed list of wants and needs. Items such as hardware, kitchen, office, camping, health supplies and of course clothing is always needed. I spoke to another resident of Tent City 3, Roger, who said that sometimes neighbors order them pizza’s.

Pictured in front of his Tent, Roger said he was a network engineer before the ‘dot bomb’

To some neighbors, it might feel shocking to have a Tent City pop up in their ‘hood. What I found is that taking the time to stop by and meet these people puts a friendly face to an important issue.

As I got in my car and drove away, I felt more at ease knowing that there are great people out there working hard to help people struggling to survive. It was also inspiring, especially knowing there is more I can personally do to help out struggling families in our surrounding areas.

For more information, to volunteer or donate supplies please stop by and talk to the people at Tent City 3, or visit the website.

Online Donations can be made at their PayPals Page.

SHARE is a 501c(3) non-profit registered in the state of Washington and all donations are tax-deductible. WHEEL shares SHARE’s 501c(3).

Tent City 3 is located at:

NE 64th St and 8th Ave NE
Seattle WA 98115

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