[Hpn] census in Seattle tent city

Fri, 28 Apr 2000 08:44:32 -0400 (EDT)

In a message dated 4/28/00 7:33:17 AM Central Daylight Time, HOBOMATT writes:

 <<< anitra,
    could you give us a census of the folk in tent city? you know a
 demographic breakdown. how many are using the circle?
  Roughly.  Just before the tents moved on Tuesday, residence was up to
  90.  <<snip>>
  Reasons for
  staying at Tent City varied: preferring it to traditional shelters (one
  woman says "there's better ventilation"; another woman says "I feel
  safer out here"; another man said quite honestly, "I'm in recovery; it's
  easier to stay off the stuff here"); not being able to find space at
  traditional shelters (many had given up looking); not being able to fit
  into traditional shelters (couples wanting to stay together; working
  people who couldn't make shelter in/out hours); being barred from
  traditional shelters (some people who can't get along with others in
  cramped quarters can get along fine in a Tent City); wanting to show
  support and win the right of all to sleep safely. >>

Here in Colorado Springs, we 'piggy-backed' a local homeless survey onto the 
April1 US Census, in get a handle on how many and who is out there. However, 
in the catagory list of "what contributes to your being homeless", the form 
only offers negative responses: can't afford rent, fled domestic violence, 
lost job, substance use, lack of education and so on. We totally left out the 
10 to 20% for whom it is a life-style choice and offer positive reasons for 
living outside. Glad to see that in Seattle that reality is acknowledged (and 
talked about).
Matt Parkhouse, RN; Colorado Springs, CO