SHARE/WHEEL Encampment Proposal (warning: LONG)

Anitra Freeman (
Wed, 12 Aug 1998 15:26:52 -0800

This is the encampment proposal that SHARE/WHEEL submitted to the North
Beacon Hill Community Council, on request.  It will be discussed tonight at
the Community Council meeting; the Community Council expects *very* large
attendance, so much so that they have moved the meeting to the Asa Mercer
High School.

A copy of this proposal is also posted online, at

To:	North Beacon Hill Community Council
Date:	7/29/98
Subject:	Solicited Proposal for a Six-Month Trial Encampment

Enclosed is the proposal that your Community Council asked us for in your
July 14th meeting.  We are sending this by postal mail to all members of
your Board of Directors and by email to all of your Directors who have
email addresses.  There will be some overlap.  We hope that your Directors
will in turn circulate the proposal widely to the general membership and
the rest of the Beacon Hill community.

We look forward to discussing this proposal with your community on August
11th.  We know there will be much more to talk about and questions to

One of the questions that the City of Seattle has had about the encampment
proposal concerns the record of encampments elsewhere in the country.  We
will bring documentation of such encampments to the August 11th meeting if
requested.  We have not included such documentation in this proposal.

We have reports of two successful long-term encampments, one in Eugene
Oregon and one in Hawaii.  In addition, there is a long-term encampment in
=46lorida which has been cited both as an example of an unsuccessful
encampment and an example of a successful one.  This points out the
difficulty of evaluating situations at a distance.

Seattle is a unique city in many respects, and SHARE and WHEEL are unique
organizations.  All of us involved here know our own situation and our own
people far better than we can know those in another city, or they can know
us.  We have focused in this proposal on information that will help you to
evaluate what this project, run by these people, means for your own

If you have further questions before the August 11th meeting, you may
contact us by
	phone:	448-7889
	fax:	448-2389
	postal:	PO Box 2548 Seattle WA 98111-2548

Thank you for your consideration.  We look forward to working together to
solve the problems that affect us all.



=46rom SHARE/WHEEL to the North Beacon Hill Community Council
for a Model Encampment Trial Period

Objective: A six-month trial encampment on the SHARE/WHEEL model, with a
citizen review.

I. The Need

II. Who Are SHARE and WHEEL?

III. The Model
	A. Description of Tent City 2
	B. Copy of the standard rules
	C. Description of security arrangements
	D. Standing committee of community members & camp members for quick
resolution of any problems arising
	E. Working relationship with City & service agencies so that people
who enter the camp move on up the continuum of care to permanent stability
	F. Alternative sites and shelters

IV. Review Board
	A. 1/3 Beacon Hill community residents & City staff; camp
residents; service agency personnel
	B. Criteria for evaluation will be worked out by the board; some
suggested elements:
		1. Safety and cleanliness
		2. Maintenance of drug-and-alcohol free conditions
		3. No occurrences of crime and violence
		4. Good condition of the natural environment
		5. No disruption of the neighborhood
		6. Benefits to the neighborhood
		7. Increased numbers of people moving on to improved
conditions; jobs, housing, etc.

V. Emergency Encampment Civility Code
	A. Our proposal to the community and the City Council, to provide a
tool for support of safe encampments and control of unsafe ones.


 I.	The Need

	There are 5,000 men, women and children homeless on the streets of
Seattle every night, and approximately 2300 shelter spaces.  A number of
groups, including the King County Executive office, the Seattle Mayor's
office, and SHARE/WHEEL, are working to increase the amount of shelter.
More than one-tenth of the shelter spaces in Seattle are provided by the
self-managed SHARE system, and we recently opened another new shelter.
	But developing new resources takes time.  There are people outside
and at risk now.
Last year, a woman who had been turned away from overcrowded shelter was
run over by a truck while she was sleeping in an alley, and lost her legs.
A man was set afire while sleeping on a bench in front of another
overcrowded shelter.  Over this last year we had a rising number of murders
of homeless women; in May of this year, the Seattle Police Department
announced that at least three of those murders had been the work of one
serial killer.
	The police are aware that homeless people are more often the
victims of crime than the perpetrators of crime.  However, they still have
to enforce laws that forbid sleeping almost anywhere outdoors, even while
there is no room indoors.
	It is difficult for people who are isolated, scattered and with few
resources to keep themselves and their environment clean and healthy.  This
has an impact on everyone in the City.
	SHARE and WHEEL have demonstrated by eight years of successful
shelters that when we work together as a community we can keep ourselves
clean and safe.  We proved in Tent City 2, the encampment on Beacon Hill,
that our shelter model works just as well outdoors as it does indoors.
	There are already people sleeping outside on and around Beacon
Hill.  An organized encampment can provide these people a safe, clean space
to sleep until more resources open up to help them permanently out of
homelessness.  The encampment can provide the first experience of community
to people living in isolation.  It can provide the first step in the
continuum of care, and start people moving forward.
	It can provide another way for the Seattle community to heal its
divisions and begin working together to solve problems that affect us all,
like homelessness.

 II.	Who Are SHARE and WHEEL?

	The Women's Housing, Equality and Enhancement League (WHEEL) is a
non-profit and non-hierarchical group of homeless and formerly homeless
women working on ending homelessness for women.  WHEEL is all about
empowerment and action.
	WHEEL is the women-only, women-concerned sister organization to
SHARE, Seattle Housing and Resource Effort.  Both WHEEL and SHARE provide
self-managed shelters for homeless people.
	WHEEL's mission is to get women out of the places they have been
hiding, recognize each woman as an individual, and get women to participate
in the process of improving programs and creating new programs. WHEEL's
goals are to give voice and leadership to homeless women, to organize
campaigns around increased services and safety for homeless women, and to
develop and support self-managed shelters. (We currently have three
self-managed shelters for women only.)
	SHARE, Seattle Housing and Resource Effort, is an organization of
homeless and recently homeless men and women doing our best to make our
condition better and wipe out homelessness.  We currently manage eleven
shelters for a total capacity of 250; a storage locker program currently
providing 221 free storage lockers; and a "SHARE2" program, in which we
hire members of our shelter community to supervise at downtown and Winter
Response shelters in exchange for a room in a shared house.
	SHARE has an eight-year track record of successful programs.  SHARE
was instrumental in the beginning of the Aloha Inn, a program helping
people in transition from homelessness to permanent housing, and the Low
Income Housing Institute, a nonprofit organization developing and managing
low-income housing.  Both SHARE and WHEEL have partnered many times with
community groups, service agencies, the City of Seattle, King County, and
even Federal agencies, and have a good and growing reputation.  Deputy
Mayor Tom Byers said, "SHARE/WHEEL are established organizations and their
intent is to create safe, clean, emergency shelter for homeless people."
	Our intent is more than that.  We intend to end homelessness.

III.	The Model
A.	Description of Tent City 2

	Tent City 2 was a trial encampment intended to demonstrate that the
SHARE/WHEEL model of self-managed shelter could be applied to outdoor
encampments, providing a means for people without shelter to organize, stay
safe and clean and become a beneficial part of the neighborhood community.
	SHARE/WHEEL began with tenting, bedding, hygiene and food supplies
and other provisions sufficient for an encampment of up to 100 people.  The
highest occupancy of the encampment in its total three-week existence
(counting both locations) was 68.
	The physical layout consisted of a variety of tents, from group
tents for single men and single women, approximately twenty of one gender
in each tent, to smaller tents owned by individuals when they arrived,
occupied by families, couple or individuals.  The encampment included a
Sani-Can, two large covered garbage cans, a water-cooler provided by the
Department of Health, and a central covered area with tables, for food and
other supplies.
	The residents of the camp included men, women, couples and families
with children.  A large number of the adult residents worked or were
participating in some form of training or other job preparedness program.
Almost all persons in the camp had previously attempted to get into
shelters or housing.
	The management of the camp was according to the SHARE/WHEEL model
of self-managed shelters.  Certain core rules are set for all shelters: no
alcohol or drugs, no fighting, no theft.  Responsibilities must be shared
equally among participants and the shelter must participate in the
community activities of SHARE.  Beyond those guidelines, each shelter sets
its own rules and elects its own representatives to enforce those rules.
The Tent City 2 encampment had a Coordinator, an Assistant Coordinator, and
a five-person Bar and Screening Committee.
	It is the job of shelter coordinators to guide others into speaking
up on issues and taking responsibility for projects, rather than to do all
tasks themselves.  There is evidence that this was successful at Tent City
2 in numerous quotes from community members who accepted our standing
invitation to visit the camp.
	Deputy Mayor Tom Byers said, "The encampment is being run with a
firm set of rules, and residents understand that violation of the rules is
grounds for removal."
	Jimmy Kubach, Senior Pastor of Meals from Heaven, said, "I have not
seen a more organized or better-structured encampment anywhere in America."
	Lynn Tucker, Vice President of the South Beacon Hill Neighborhood
Council, said, "I am impressed with the governing system that the Tent City
folks have instituted to ensure the safety of its residents and the
surrounding community..."
	Elise DeGooyer, Beacon Hill resident, said, "If you have an
opportunity to experience one of SHARE/WHEEL's tent cities, you'll see
their commitment to build community and a sober, non-violent, safe and
clean environment."
	Immediately upon "moving in," the camp residents began talking with
residents and local businessmen, seeking out community centers, and working
to become a contributing part of the community.  Several members are still
involved with such community improvement projects as the VA Medical
Incinerator issue.
	Camp residents kept their area clean and attempted to
counterbalance their impact on the natural environment by planting tomatoes
at the Beacon Hill Reservoir, flowers and a small tree at Jose Rizal Park.
Ted Shirey, camp resident, says, "We didn't go around tearing up everything
in sight.  We were trying to leave the space that we were using in better
condition than we had found it when we started putting up our tents."
	SHARE and WHEEL has its own continuum of services, offering people
in need a safe, clean place to sleep then providing steadily increasing
opportunities for responsibility and involvement, including hiring our
staff members out of our shelter membership.  Four of the original
residents of Tent City 2 have, in fact, gone on to become SHARE staff
	We communicate with other service agencies who can provide needs
beyond our own resources.  Health Care for the Homeless was extremely
helpful in consulting about sanitary arrangements and other health
procedures, and providing water and other health and hygiene necessities.
	Several residents of Beacon Hill come to the encampment to offer
residents a temporary job.  Such occurrences are evidence of the promise of
such camps.  People hiding in dark places in the undergrowth or the alleys
is unhealthy for themselves and for the community.  An encampment provides
a safe place where people from the homeless community and people from the
housed community can meet in the open and start forging a better way of
living for us all.



We, the people of SHARE/WHEEL,
In order to keep a more harmonious community,
Ask that you observe the following code of conduct.

The SHARE/WHEEL Tent City 2 is a drug and alcohol free zone. Those caught
drinking or using drugs
will be asked to leave.  Sobriety is required.

No weapons are allowed.
Knives over 3 1/2 inches must be checked in.

Any violence will not be tolerated.
Please attempt to resolve any conflict in a creative and peaceful manner.

Degrading ethnic, racial, sexist or homophobic remarks are not acceptable.
No physical punishment, verbal abuse, or intimidation will be tolerated.

We are a community.
Please respect the rights and privacy of your fellow citizens.

No men in the women's tents.  No women in the men's tents.
No loitering in the neighborhood or the Jose Rizal park.

Attendance of at least one of the several community meetings held
throughout the week is required.  The community will see that these rules
are respected and that work is fairly divided up.

If these rules are not respected and enforced, Tent City 2 will be
permanently closed.


IIIC.	Encampment Security Arrangements

	=85 At least two people on monitor duty from 8 PM to 6 AM.  If the
physical size of the encampment grew to the point that two people could not
effectively cover the area, more monitors would be required.
	=85 At least one person on monitor duty at all times from 6 AM to 8 PM.
	=85 All residents, new or old, must take at least one shift a week
monitor duty.
	=85 No new person is on monitor duty without a more experienced
person with them at all times.
	=85 Duties of the monitor:
		=85 Sign in all residents and guests.
		=85 Note any signs of drug or alcohol use.  Forbid entry to
residents or guests under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
		=85 Enforce rules of the encampment, including: no drinking,
no drugs, no violence, no abuse, no theft.
		=85 Respond to emergencies.  A cell phone is available to
call 911 in need.  Fire extinguishers and first-aid kits are available; all
monitors must know their location and how to use them.
		=85 Monitors are expected to act with respect toward others,
as others are expected to respect the monitor on duty.
		=85 Security monitors at Tent City 2 did not find it
necessary at any point to escort someone out of the neighborhood for
breaking the rules and refusing to leave.  We are, however, prepared to do
that.  In such cases, two people will do the escorting and two people will
remain on duty at the camp.
	=85 We make every effort to resolve any dispute peaceably before
calling 911.  If we are forced to call 911 because of any individual that
individual is permanently barred from all SHARE shelters.
	=85 In addition to a Coordinator and an Assistant Coordinator, the
camp elects five members to a "Bar and Screening Committee".  This
committee resolves any disputes about interpretation of the rules,
eligibility for entry, or the validity of a bar.

IIID.	A standing committee of community members and camp members

	We recommend that on adopting this proposal the North Beacon Hill
Community Council, the owners and managers of the host property, and the
Tent City 2 residents each select among themselves from one to three
representatives to an Encampment Community Relations Committee, to meet
within one week to begin implementation of the proposal.
	SHARE and WHEEL have learned by experience that shelters run the
smoothest where there is the most communication between the hosts, the
neighbors, and the shelter.  A model that has worked very well for new
shelters is a committee of two members from the shelter, two from the
neighborhood, and two from the church or other center hosting the shelter,
meeting on a regular basis to resolve any concerns as they arise and to
strengthen the shelter's participation in the wider community.
	During startup of the shelter, this committee works out any
adjustments to shelter rules and procedures necessary to answer concerns of
the local community, recommends additional resources that the shelter can
use, and sets up means of communicating quickly between the shelter, hosts
and community when any problems arise.   During this time period the group
may be quite large and meet several times a week, as more members of the
community have concerns.  As concerns are met, the numbers attending will
drop back down to a more average committee size.
	For the first month of shelter operation, the committee may meet
weekly.  When operations become more routine, the meeting schedule goes to
once a month, and in long-running shelters may become every two months, or
quarterly.  The meeting schedule is established by the committee itself, as
One of the decisions to be made in adopting this proposal is the siting of
the encampment; whichever site is selected, the owners or managers of that
property would be the "hosts".
	All members in the committee are expected to be reporting back to
their own groups and getting input from those groups.  SHARE and WHEEL
consider this aspect of true community participation more important than
specific people showing up for each meeting, and in fact our own
representatives often rotate.

IIIE.	Working relationship with City and service agencies so that people
who enter the camp move on
	up the continuum of care to permanent stability.

	None of the residents of the encampment envision this as their
ideal lifelong living space.  SHARE and WHEEL, with their emphasis on
self-management and working together as a community to improve conditions
for all, attract people who are working to improve their lives.  Those who
used Tent City 2 while it stood at the Reservoir, and below Jose Rizal
Park, were also people who were making efforts to overcome their hardships
and move ahead, and we expect that those who come into any future
encampment will be the same.
	We see Tent City 2 as a first step on the continuum of care.  There
are still people on the street who do not know about any of the resources
available to help them; there are many who have never had the experience of
working as part of a community and have no idea that communities like SHARE
and WHEEL exist.  The encampment is closer to where they are now,
physically and symbolically.  It can bring more people inside and steer
them toward other services.
	This will be a great deal easier if we have a working relationship
with the City and service agencies. Community Service Officers, Access
outreach workers, and others are welcome in the encampment.  The more
information they can provide to the coordinators and screeners, the more
often we can refer people to existing programs that will help them.
	Among the homeless in Seattle are families with children, mentally
ill individuals, and others with special health needs.  Child Protective
Services, Public Health, mental health outreach workers and other agencies
must have access to the camp to monitor these needs.  Other agencies, such
as the fire department, will want access to the camp to insure safety and
health requirements are met.
	One of the advantages of the encampment is that it provides a
situation where this access is possible, and these needs can begin to be
met.  There are children sleeping in alleys in Seattle now, out of reach of
the agencies charged with their protection.  There are mental health
patients sleeping under bridges out of reach of outreach workers trained to
help them toward stability.  There are seriously ill people going without
treatment, drifting from doorway to doorway.  An encampment will not bring
all of these people in need into services.  But it will open a new and more
accessible door for many.
	One of the objectives of the encampment is to have a high rate of
turnover; people moving on upward to more stable conditions, while more
people in need move in.  The encampment is not intended to become a static
"ghetto", but a dynamic place where people who have been living in
isolation begin to rejoin the larger community.

 IIIF.	Alternative sites and shelters
	The actual location of the site should be worked out between the
community and the encampment.  Some alternatives that have been discussed:

	A.	Beacon Hill Reservoir
	This is the current site of choice for the following reasons:
	1. Ease of access.  This is important not only for residents, but
for community service personnel, public safety officers, fire department or
anyone else who needs to monitor the encampment or to respond to
	2. More level and even ground.
	3. Less impact on the environment.
	The camp residents attempted in both locations to have minimum
negative impact on the natural environment.  One hundred people, however,
are going to make some inroads on the foliage.  The Reservoir area is
already kept mown and open.  The Jungle area below Jose Rizal Park was not
originally cleared; Tent City 2 residents had to clear grass and weeds to
make camp, and their foot traffic created some erosion of the trail area.
Although we were at the Reservoir area for a longer time, with more people,
than at the area below Jose Rizal Park, there were less marks of our
presence at the Reservoir site.
	4. More visibly a part of the community.
	5. The camp would fill a community need for productive use of the
area by the Beacon Hill Reservoir.  We could do plantings or other
agreed-upon improvements to the area.  There is no need for such
improvements in the area below Jose Rizal Park.

	B.	The Greenbelt area below Jose Rizal Park
	C.	The "Quarters 10" building at Pacific Medical Center
	D.	Cargo containers, at an unspecified location


IV.	Review Board
A.	The Review Board

	We suggest that the success of the encampment be evaluated after a
six-month period by a diverse group representing all elements of the
communities affected: the residents of the Beacon Hill neighborhood;
members of SHARE/WHEEL/Tent City 2; City agencies and service providers.
=46uture action will be decided by all participants.  Options are:
	1. Close the encampment.
	2. Continue the encampment with no change.
	3. Continue the encampment with changes in location or operation.
B.	Criteria for evaluation  will be worked out by the board; here are
some suggested elements:
	1. Safety and cleanliness
	2. Maintenance of drug-and-alcohol free conditions
	3. No occurrences of crime and violence
	4. Good condition of the natural environment
	5. No disruption of the neighborhood
	6. Benefits to the neighborhood
	7. Increased numbers of people moving on to improved conditions;
jobs, housing, etc.




In times of emergency Seattle lacks adequate indoor shelter or housing for
all its residents.   During such emergencies those without indoor shelter
or housing have no choice but to sleep outside; in cars, alleys, doorways,
bus stops, treehouses, vacant lots, dumpsters, vacant buildings, parks,
greenbelts, rooftops and parking garages.

Impacts are serious.   For those sleeping outside the risk of assault,
theft, illness, rape, murder and death increases dramatically.   Most find
it impossible to either maintain a job or manage a regular life until
stable shelter or housing is found.

=46or the wider community the costs include increased police, court, jail,
hospital, and nursing home expenses when homeless people are victimized.
When individuals are not allowed any stability while sleeping outside other
impacts include problems of litter, trash, and human waste.   In addition,
the moral cost of ignoring the desperate condition of individuals in need
can rip apart a caring community.


=46or these reasons an Emergency Encampment Civility Code should be enacted.
Here are some of the features we recommend for consideration:

	- It apply only in emergencies, defined by the Department of
Housing and Human Services as those periods when there is less available
shelter and housing in Seattle then there are homeless men and women.

	- It apply only in Greenbelts.    The Director of Parks, at his
discretion, would also be allowed to designate specific park areas wherein
the Emergency Encampment Civility Code could apply.

	- It be enforced with the same mechanisms contained in the Parks
Exclusion Ordinance - Chapter 18.12.278 of the Seattle Municipal Code..


The Code itself could include the following items:

	-   Sobriety, non violence, and the absence of any drugs or alcohol
would be requirements of any encampment.

	-    Sanitation, water, trash, and other services would need to be
provided by the encampment in a manner that neither jeopardized the
Greenbelt or surrounding neighborhood.

	-    Open flames and noise that disturbs the surrounding community
would not be allowed.

	-    Security in the encampment must be sufficient to both ensure
its functioning internally and assure that encampment participants do not
adversely impact the neighborhood.

	-  The encampment would have to move whenever its continued
presence would irreparably damage the greenbelt.

	-  No structures would be allowed that could not be immediately
dismantled and moved, or that would cause damage to the greenbelt.

	- Openness and cooperation would be required with the Seattle
Police Department, CSOs, CPS, ACCESS Workers, and surrounding community.


Anitra L. Freeman, for SHARE/WHEEL
Seattle Housing and Resource Effort
Women's Housing Equality and Enhancement League
Tent City 2