[HPN] SHARE/WHEEL TENT CITY

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Wed, 12 Apr 2000 00:12:45 -0400


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'City' opens its tents to Seattle's homeless=20

            Monday, April 10, 2000=20

            By CHRIS McGANN=20
            SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER REPORTER=20


           =20

           =20

            The Charlestown Street signpost on Martin Luther King Way =
South marks its not-so-grand entrance. Two Honey Buckets on the left and =
a few dozen freshly planted marigolds on the right funnel you to the =
make-shift, palette and cinder-block bridge leading into the camp.=20

            A hand-printed sign in front of about a dozen tents lists =
the check-in requirements: sober, no weapons, no fights, respect, =
campers must check in with security.=20

            It isn't the scene most people would associate with an open =
house, but that's what representatives from the Seattle homeless =
organization, SHARE/WHEEL, called a tour of the tent city for the =
homeless that they organized yesterday.=20

            The event was designed to bring attention to one short-term =
method of dealing with Seattle's homeless problem until longer-term =
solutions are implemented.=20

            "This (tent city) is not a protest," organizer Anitra =
Freeman said. "It's a survival need. The ideal is to have permanent =
housing for everyone, but that takes time. We need a way to keep people =
safe right now, and tent cities provide that."=20

            Tent city advocates say that by maintaining self-imposed =
rules and a close-knit community, the camp can be a viable way to help =
the homeless where city programs are coming up short.=20

            But city officials, while supportive of the grassroots =
sentiment, disagree about how to best direct the energy.=20

            "We feel strongly that tent cities are a diversion and not =
part of the solution," said Tom Byers, Seattle's deputy mayor in charge =
of community development.=20

            The city administration's policy is that the energy instead =
should be put into permanent housing, transitional housing, and shelters =
supported by services and employment opportunities, Byers said.=20

            Byers said this year Seattle put $2.8 million more into =
homeless services but at the same time lost $3 million of federal =
support. He considers the open house a protest.=20

            "If they really wanted to get at the culprit, they'd be down =
at the Federal Building," said Byers, adding that suburban jurisdictions =
and King County should do more to prevent homeless people from ending up =
in Seattle in the first place.=20

            Only about 54 percent of people seeking shelter had their =
last permanent residence in Seattle, Byers said.=20

            Darryl and Ann Hibbler, of Minneapolis, have been staying at =
the tent city for the past three days while they try to save enough =
money to get permanent living quarters in Seattle.=20

            "I'm on that road now," Darryl Hibbler said.=20

            The Hibblers said check-in times at other area shelters were =
restrictive and prevented them from doing the temporary work they had =
found.=20

            "This is the best thing that's happened since we came here," =
Hibbler said. "My wife and I can come here to rest, relax and get =
something to eat before we have to go to work. I can leave (my wife) =
here and go to work without worrying."=20

            Tent city organizer and tent builder Claude "Cowboy" Nalls =
said there is room for all types of people under the canvas and nylon =
tents at the site, where 45 people stayed Saturday night.=20

            "I don't turn nobody away," Nalls said, with the exception =
of troublemakers and those who won't follow the rules.=20

            Nalls and other organizers stressed that by sticking =
together and helping maintain a strict code-of-conduct, the camp can =
provide safety for people who would otherwise be at great risk.=20

            But Byers said that although such provisions often work in =
the beginning, over time the safeguards deteriorate and cities end up =
with problems.=20

            For now, the SHARE/WHEEL's code may be intact. But its claim =
on the once-vacant lot in the Rainier Valley is precarious.=20

            Byers said the city will enforce the law, which has no =
clause for tent cities.=20

           =20
              =20


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'City'=20 opens its tents to Seattle's homeless

Monday, April = 10,=20 2000=20

By CHRIS = McGANN 3D"Mail
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER = REPORTER

The Charlestown Street signpost on Martin Luther King Way = South=20 marks its not-so-grand entrance. Two Honey Buckets on the = left and a=20 few dozen freshly planted marigolds on the right funnel you = to the=20 make-shift, palette and cinder-block bridge leading into the = camp.=20

A hand-printed sign in front of about a dozen tents lists = the=20 check-in requirements: sober, no weapons, no fights, = respect,=20 campers must check in with security.=20

It isn't the scene most people would associate with an = open=20 house, but that's what representatives from the Seattle = homeless=20 organization, SHARE/WHEEL, called a tour of the tent city = for the=20 homeless that they organized yesterday.=20

The event was designed to bring attention to one = short-term=20 method of dealing with Seattle's homeless problem until = longer-term=20 solutions are implemented.=20

"This (tent city) is not a protest," organizer = Anitra=20 Freeman said. "It's a survival need. The ideal is to = have=20 permanent housing for everyone, but that takes time. We need = a way=20 to keep people safe right now, and tent cities provide = that."=20

Tent city advocates say that by maintaining self-imposed = rules=20 and a close-knit community, the camp can be a viable way to = help the=20 homeless where city programs are coming up short.=20

But city officials, while supportive of the grassroots = sentiment,=20 disagree about how to best direct the energy.=20

"We feel strongly that tent cities are a diversion = and not=20 part of the solution," said Tom Byers, Seattle's deputy = mayor=20 in charge of community development.=20

The city administration's policy is that the energy = instead=20 should be put into permanent housing, transitional housing, = and=20 shelters supported by services and employment opportunities, = Byers=20 said.=20

Byers said this year Seattle put $2.8 million more into = homeless=20 services but at the same time lost $3 million of federal = support. He=20 considers the open house a protest.=20

"If they really wanted to get at the culprit, they'd = be down=20 at the Federal Building," said Byers, adding that = suburban=20 jurisdictions and King County should do more to prevent = homeless=20 people from ending up in Seattle in the first place.=20

Only about 54 percent of people seeking shelter had their = last=20 permanent residence in Seattle, Byers said.=20

Darryl and Ann Hibbler, of Minneapolis, have been staying = at the=20 tent city for the past three days while they try to save = enough=20 money to get permanent living quarters in Seattle.=20

"I'm on that road now," Darryl Hibbler said.=20

The Hibblers said check-in times at other area shelters = were=20 restrictive and prevented them from doing the temporary work = they=20 had found.=20

"This is the best thing that's happened since we = came=20 here," Hibbler said. "My wife and I can come here = to rest,=20 relax and get something to eat before we have to go to work. = I can=20 leave (my wife) here and go to work without worrying."=20

Tent city organizer and tent builder Claude = "Cowboy"=20 Nalls said there is room for all types of people under the = canvas=20 and nylon tents at the site, where 45 people stayed Saturday = night.=20

"I don't turn nobody away," Nalls said, with = the=20 exception of troublemakers and those who won't follow the = rules.=20

Nalls and other organizers stressed that by sticking = together and=20 helping maintain a strict code-of-conduct, the camp can = provide=20 safety for people who would otherwise be at great risk.=20

But Byers said that although such provisions often work = in the=20 beginning, over time the safeguards deteriorate and cities = end up=20 with problems.=20

For now, the SHARE/WHEEL's code may be intact. But its = claim on=20 the once-vacant lot in the Rainier Valley is precarious.=20

Byers said the city will enforce the law, which has no = clause for=20 tent cities.=20

 
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