Saturday, November 19, 2016

Two of our camps have some special needs. Can you help?

To all our faithful supporters!

Two of our camps have some special needs. Can you help? If so, you can deliver directly to the camps, deliver to our President’s home in Shoreline, or we’ll even come and pick up your donation. Contact us at if you’d like a pick-up.

Thank you for all your support of Greater Seattle Cares and the residents of Seattle’s transitional encampments! Greater Seattle Cares Board of Directors
Camp Second Chance, located at 9625 Myers Way S. in West Seattle, is expanding to accommodate more people living homeless. They are in need of:
  • Tents – singles (8’x10’), doubles (10’x12’), and family tents (9’x15’) 
  • Tarps – 16’x20’, 20’x24’, 18’x30’ 
  • Plywood –4’x8’ one-half inch sheets 
  • Cash donations to pay for gasoline for the generator and propane for a gas heater 
  • Cots 

Camp United We Stand, located at St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church at 722 N 145th St in Shoreline, is also expanding. They are now at their limit at 35 residents, but they need tent sites for the new residents. They are in need of:
  • Blankets and sleeping bags 
  • Plywood - 4’x8’ one-half inch sheets 
  • Pallets – 4’x4’

Thursday, November 3, 2016

What’s New with GSC?

New Tents and Tarps have been delivered! 

Thanks to our generous donors we were able to fill all the tent requests we received from Tent City 3, Camp United We Stand, and Camp Unity Eastside. We also provided them with a new heavy-duty tarp for each tent, and even carport tents that were requested for communal areas. These arrived just ahead of the recent heavy rains. Thanks to our donors for making this possible.
As the Seattle winter weather sets in, all the camps will be looking for winter clothing, boots, raingear, blankets, sleeping bags, batteries for flashlights and lanterns, and hand warmers. Large men’s clothing is always in need. We are looking into how to provide Goodwill Store vouchers to campers and will let you know once the process is in place.

Here are the current locations of the camps we support and their identified supply lists: 

Currently at: The George, 2212 NE 125th St, Seattle, WA 98125
Next move: TC3’s next move will be on December 17th to the University of Washington.
Requests: TC3 is asking for ponchos and rubber boots.
News: The camp is using a generator for power while staying at The George and GSC has been providing the gas. We recently replaced all five of their old, unsafe gas cans with brand new ones. GSC will also be hosting the Medical Teams International Mobile Dental Clinic at TC3 on November 19.

Camp United We Stand (CUWS) 
Currently at: Richmond Congregational United Church of Christ, 1512 Northwest 195th St. Shoreline, WA 98177, (206) 637-1052
Next move: CUWS is moving on Wednesday 11/7 to St. Dunstan’s Episcopal, located at 722 N. 145th St in Shoreline. The City of Shoreline permit has been delivered to the camp and the host.
Requests: CUWS is hoping for help with supplies for this upcoming move: garbage bags to keep belongings dry, gorilla tape, zip ties, etc. They have already enlisted the help of two non-profits with the loan of moving trucks. You can help defray the costs by move supplies by making a donation to Greater Seattle Cares and earmarking the gift for this purpose.
News: GSC has provided 750 feet of privacy fencing and 32 2x4s so that the camp can enclose the larger area they have available to them at St. Dunstan’s.

Camp Unity Eastside (CUE) 
Currently at: The Carol Edwards Center, 17401 133rd Ave NE, Woodinville, WA 98072
Next move: CUE will be moving this weekend, the 5-6 of November to Kirkland Congregational Church.
Requests: As with Camp United We Stand, CUE is hoping for help with supplies for this upcoming move. You can help defray the costs by move supplies by making a donation to Greater Seattle Cares and earmarking the gift for this purpose.

Camp Second Chance 
Currently at: Myers Way S, West Seattle
Next move: None planned
News: GSC supported this camp when it was first formed and then, for various reasons, had to withdraw that support. Recently, however, GSC was back in touch with this camp and found it to have stabilized significantly. While camping on public land due to the lack of a church willing to host the camp, the residents have won the support of the neighbors and even the police with their exemplary behavior and clean site. They are even starting a fund raising effort (see below) to help defray the costs of gasoline for their generator, the portable toilets and garbage collection! Impressed by the residents’ initiative and responding to the camp’s request, GSC has reinstated Camp Second Chance among the camps that we support. Here is link to the camp’s website.
Welcome back, Camp Second Chance!

CSC is selling polo shirts to support the camp. Here is their logo, designed by a CSC resident, showing a lucky 4-leaf clover.

Come down to camp and buy one!

If you would like more detail on this or any topic, please contact

Thank you all for your support and especially your big hearts and generous spirits in doing what you can to help those experiencing homelessness.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

What’s New with GSC?

We have great news!

All the encampments have been requesting new tents. This is especially important as they prepare for the rainy cold winter weather. With some recent generous donations and a grant from the Fales foundation GSC has been able to make a large bulk purchase of new tents and tarps for Tent City 3, Camp Unity Eastside and Camp United We Stand. Not only will we be able to fulfill the tent requests we have received, but we’ll also have additional tents to donate when new requests come in. These tents include singles, doubles, and family-size tents along with tarps for each, which make the tents last about twice as long. We have also purchased some carport tents, which the camps use for their public spaces, such as the Kitchen Tent, the Donations Tent and the Security Tent.

With winter not far away, waterproof shelter is not the only thing the camps will be needing. Winter clothing, blankets, sleeping bags, batteries for flashlights, lanterns and hand warmers will also soon be in great demand. Also, a hot meal can go a long way toward keeping someone warm in cold weather. Have you thought about cooking a meal for a camp near you? Check our the meal page on our website!

Here are the current locations of the camps we formally support and some needs that we are aware of.

Tent City 3 (TC3) is currently at The George in North Seattle.
2212 NE 125th St, Seattle, WA 98125

TC3 will be at this site until mid-late December, when it will move to the campus of the University of Washington.

Requests: TC3 is asking for men’s clothing and work boots.

Also, the camp does not have access to power while staying at the George and is using a generator. Gas for the generator will be an ongoing expense while in this location. If you’d like to help, you can either go to camp and offer to fill up a gas can, or you can make a donation to GSC with an earmark for that purpose.

Camp Unity Eastside (CUE) is currently at the Carol Edwards Center in Woodinville.
17401 133rd Ave NE, Woodinville, WA 98072

The camp will stay at the Carol Edwards Center until November 9.

Camp United We Stand (CUWS) is currently at the Richmond Beach Congregational United Church of Christ in Shoreline.
1512 Northwest 195th St. Shoreline, WA 98177
(206) 637-1052

CUWS is planning to move on 11/6 to St. Dunstan’s in Shoreline.

On Wednesday, October 5th, at 7:00 pm there will be a meeting at St. Dunstan’s Church to discuss plans to host. Camp residents and members of their Board will be present to address questions or concerns from the neighborhood. You are invited to come and to ask any questions you may have. St. Dunstan’s is located at 722 N 145th St, Shoreline, WA 98133.

Requests: UWS is hoping for men’s and women’s long johns (e.g. UnderArmor) socks, boxer briefs and other clothing.

Other Topics of Interest:

It’s nothing new to say that the answer to homelessness is to provide homes for people who have none. It’s also not news that the Puget Sound region does not have enough low-income housing. So, while people wait to get into housing, our area’s number of encampments has grown from two to ten. Seattle’s Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI) has been experimenting with a better solution though: semi-permanent Tiny House Villages. A Tiny House is defined as a building with less than 120 square feet (e.g. 10’ x 12’), sometimes with electricity. A Tiny House Village includes a number of these small homes with a shared kitchen and bathrooms. This week, members of GSC will be meeting with representatives from LIHI to tour one of their tiny house communities and learn what is involved in hosting one. We will soon be reaching out to see if any of our church contacts would consider allowing LIHI to build some Tiny Houses on their property.

If you would like more details on any of these topics please contact

Thank you all for your support and especially your big hearts and generous spirits in doing what you can to help those experiencing homelessness.

Friday, September 30, 2016

SHARE's Shelter Board presents the Harvest Auction October 8.

SHARE's Shelter Board has asked us to share this information:

The Shelter Board
presents the
14th Annual Harvest Auction
and Dinner

Saturday, October 8
Doors open at 3:30pm

Mountaineers Club
7700 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle

Ed Mast as MC
Special Guest Speakers
Entertainment by Seattle SeaChordsmen

Buffet Dinner provided by Pyramid Catering

To register

For more information

From 1903 to 2016 -- what's changed?

Jack London, in 1903, wrote a book titled, "People of the Abyss."

You can find it here. It includes pictures -- black and white, but pictures -- of the deplorable conditions found there.

In over a hundred years, nothing much has changed. We still see the same conditions in many "civilized" countries, "modern" cities, and "technologically advanced" areas. Silicon Valley. The Bay Area. Greater Seattle.

Here's a quote...
Tenements spring up like magic, gardens are built upon, villas are divided and subdivided into many dwellings, and the black night of London settles down in a greasy pall.
Has anything really changed? The names, the faces, the locations...

But still, today, we have corporations, faceless entities, buying buildings that people less well-off can live in, and replacing them with 38-story skyrises -- where those same people cannot afford to live. This creates homelessness.

Hasn't changed a bit.

And the conditions of the ghettos haven't changed much either. Landlords still try to suck every last penny out of the pockets of their tenants. Even landlords ostensibly trying to do the right thing.

Perhaps we should do something about that. What, I'm not sure. But something.

Monday, August 29, 2016

What's New with GSC

Here are the current locations of the camps we formally support and some needs that we are aware of.
Please remember when the weather gets hot, that all the camps can use ice.

Tent City 3 (TC3)
St. Josephs Parish
732 18th Ave E., Seattle, WA 98112

TC3 is moving this weekend to “The George”, which used to be St. George’s Episcopal Church at 2212 NE 125th St, Seattle, WA 98125.  Come help out with the move, at either end. Pick-up trucks, bottled water and willing hands all gratefully welcomed!

TC3 is asking for tents, printer paper and #63 cartridges for their HP inkjet printer. They can always use disposable items like garbage bags as well.

Camp Unity Eastside (CUE)
Carol Edwards Center
17401 133rd Ave NE, Woodinville, WA 98072

The camp is doing well and will stay at the Carol Edwards Center until November 9.

They have been growing beautiful vegetables for the camp to use.

The Woodinville YMCA has been very supportive of CUE during their stay. They have been soliciting donations on their behalf and have been allowing the campers to use their showers.

United We Stand (UWS)

Richmond Beach Congregational United Church of Christ
1512 Northwest 195th St. Shoreline, WA 98177

UWS has a new camp phone provided by GSC.  You can reach the camp at (206) 637-1052.

Camp Second Chance

Camp Second Chance is currently at an unpermitted site on public land known as Meyer’s Parcels
9625 Myers Way S. Seattle, WA 98108

Due to a series of circumstances, including this camp’s distance from GSC’s base of operations in North Seattle, GSC is no longer able to formally support this camp. However, Camp Second Chance is being supported by Patacara Community Services, a non-profit organization that also supports Camp Liberty.

Other Topics of Interest
  • Fall is quickly approaching, and all the camps will need new tents.  Tents typically last a year or less as most are not designed to be used 365 days a year. There is a sense of urgency to procure tents before the fall rains and cold weather starts.
GSC, with grant money received from the Fales foundation will be purchasing as many tents as possible.  A typical two-person tent can cost $80 to $100 and we have funds earmarked for about 25 tents. Let us know if you know of any resources for procuring sturdy tents or if you know of a group that would like to make project of raising funds for tents.  Some of the camps have needs for larger tents or even the tent carports.
  • We recently made contact with the Lyons organization regarding their program for supplying eye glasses for people who cannot afford them.We hope to set up a visit to TC3 in the near future.
If you would like more details on any of these topics please contact and we will respond.
While homelessness continues to grow in our area, we are heartened to meet so many people who care and who are willing to give their time and talent to do what they can to help.

Thank you all, and thank you for caring about the camps. :)

Monday, August 22, 2016

Tent City 3 is moving!

Tent City 3 is moving, August 27, 2016, from St. Joseph's on Capitol Hill, to George Center for Community on 125th Street.

They're going to need help! Call 206-448-7889 or 206-399-0412 for more information or to volunteer. They may be starting to move stuff on Friday, August 26.

Friday, August 12, 2016

You don't need a home to vote.

I'm not sure this really needs explanation.

You don't need a home to vote.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Tent City 3, upcoming move

Tent City 3 is moving on June 18!

 to St. Joseph's Catholic Parish on Capitol Hill (19th & Aloha).

Moving is one of the hardest things any camp has to do, and the larger it is, the harder it is. Moving is also expensive. Greater Seattle Cares is covering the cost of truck rental for 2 days, up to $500, instead of covering other move supplies (Tent City 3 requested this).

At the Tent City hosting committee meeting at St. Joseph's, Tent City 3 folks asked donors to give them Home Depot gift cards to help cover the cost of other move supplies. People interested in this should call Marvin Futrell, the Tent City Organizer, at 206-448-7889.

They're also going to need help Friday and Saturday at St. Joseph's, so call and volunteer.

Those who'd like to help Greater Seattle Cares can donate to us!

Monday, May 16, 2016

What’s New with GSC?

Hello to all supporters of Puget Sound’s Tent Encampments!

Here’s a quick update on the requests and needs from the Tent Encampments supported by Greater Seattle Cares. If you can donate any of these items, please contact the camp directly – thank you!

Tent City 3 (TC3) 206/399-0412 
University Congregational United Church of Christ 
4515 16th Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98105 
TC3 is currently depending on gasoline-powered generators for power and is periodically in need of gasoline.

Camp Unity Eastside 425/652-9170
Blessed Theresa of Calcutta Catholic Church 
17856 NE Woodinville Duvall Rd, Woodinville, WA 98077 

CUE’s current location does not have power, so they are in need of propane. 

United We Stand (UWS) 206/578-7134 
Haller Lake UMC 
13005 1st Ave NE Seattle WA 98125 
The camp has Richmond Beach Congregational lined up as their next host for July – September, but only if they can line up a host for after their stay in Richmond Beach. Do we have any suggestions of churches they could contact regarding a place to stay in the fall?

Camp Second Chance through Grace 206/578-6551 
Riverton Park United Methodist Church 
 3118 S 140th St, Seattle, WA 98168
Camp SCTG needs to find a host soon, as they must leave their current location in mid-June. Their support network is in the south end so a south-end host would be ideal.

GSC Board 
Our board recently said good-bye to Jenny Coss and Elizabeth Fenn. We are very grateful to both for their many years of service. Elizabeth Fenn will be focusing on her work with Operation Night Wath and will remain active in GSC as our camp liaison to Camp Unity Eastside. Jenny and her husband are moving back to the Midwest to be near family, and we know that with her big heart, she will remain active working on the issues surrounding homelessness.

GSC participated in the Seattle Foundation’s GiveBIG online fundraising event in May and raised $2130. Thanks to all who donated! 
We are still waiting to hear back from the Fales Foundation on our grant request to fund replacement tents for TC3, CUE, and UWS.

MTI Van 
The MTI mobile dental clinic will be at Tent City 3 on May 14th. We will send the word out as soon as we have the next van scheduled – hopefully in June.

Check out our website’s new page for Camp Second Chance through Grace!  

We are active on Facebook so please like and share our posts. 

Other Topics of Interest 
  • With the closure of the Aloha Motel there is a huge concern about where the camps will be able to wash blankets. Washing blankets every two weeks is a sanitary measure required by the Health Department. Can you think of any facilities that might be willing to assist at little or no cost? Big camps need to wash about 200 blankets per week. 
  • Tent City 5 apparently has some raised garden beds and asked for assistance with getting vegetable plant starts. We were able to glean some starts from Seattle Tilth, which had many remaining after their spring plant sales. 
If you would like more detail on any of these topics please contact us at

Homelessness continues to grow in our area and there are many challenges, but working together, we can make things better. 

Thank you for caring about the residents of Puget Sound’s homeless encampments.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Thank you for Giving BIG!

A big thank you to everyone who Gave BIG yesterday (and the day before)!

Greater Seattle Cares raised $2,130!

Seven donors contributed, and we met our matching grant challenge.

With this financial support, GSC is better able to supply area homeless encampments with needed tents, tarps, clothing, food, and dental care, as well as respond to emergency needs.


 If you were unable to donate via GiveBIG, you can still donate now.

And if you haven't visited an encampment recently, we encourage you to stop by sometime and ask for a tour.
Here is a list of current camp locations.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Amazon gives Mary's Place a place... for a while.

The Seattle Times ran this story on April 13.

The story: "The tech giant will let Mary’s Place, a nonprofit dedicated to helping homeless women and their families, run a shelter housing more than 200 people for a year in a former Travelodge that it bought as part of its downtown Seattle expansion."

Amazon purchased a number of properties downtown as part of its expansion project. Some of these properties aren't scheduled for demolition or construction for years yet, and Amazon is making this one available to Mary's Place for about a year. When the year is over, there's another property right across the street they're planning to let them use for another span of time.

Other businesses have chipped in to help the project.

Read the rest of the story at the Seattle Times.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Give BIG

Greater Seattle Cares is participating in
GiveBIG this year.
On Tuesday, May 3, 2016, Greater Seattle Cares is joining thousands of nonprofits in the Puget Sound area in raising money to help improve our local communities.

Together, we make impact.

What You Can Do

Greater Seattle Cares is a small, all-volunteer organization that assists homeless encampments around Puget Sound by providing material support & advocating for permanent solutions to the epidemic of homelessness in our region. GSC organizes assistance for 3 encampments, assuring food, clothing, & shelter for the residents in the following ways: 
  • Coordinating meal calendars. 
  • Collecting donated clothing and blankets. 
  • Maintaining the camp infrastructure by supplying new tents, pallets, & plywood. 
We base our aid on what the residents themselves say they need. GSC encourages local communities to become involved with the tent cities.

Please give generously and help your neighbors in need.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

What’s New with GSC?

The 3 camps we formally support have all recently moved.
Here are their new locations and some of their immediate needs and concerns:

Tent City 3 (TC3) 
University Congregational United Church of Christ
4515 16th Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98105

TC3 is in need of tents, batteries, protein based foods and general beverages.

Camp Unity Eastside 
Blessed Theresa of Calcutta Catholic Church 
17856 NE Woodinville Duvall Rd, Woodinville, WA 98077

 CUE’s current location does not have power so they are in need of propane.

Camp United We Stand (CUWS) 
Haller Lake UMC 
13005 1st Ave NE Seattle WA 98125

UWS is requesting beverages of all types. We will be bringing them some bowls and cups this week. While these are the camps we formally support we also entertain requests from other encampments.

Our board has submitted grant requests and hopes to hear back on these soon. We have submitted a grant request to the Fales Foundation to fund replacing tents in TC3, CUE, and UWS. We have also submitted a grant proposal to the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia, and we are planning a big push for donations through the Seattle Foundation’s “Give Big” campaign.

The van visited TC3 in both January and February, and our next visit is planned for May 14th.

Don’t forget to check out our blogs.

Other Topics of Interest 
We need Facebook support. If you have not already send us a friend request and please like and share our posts.

Here are some ideas the board is considering. These are just thoughts for now, but let us know if any of these items is of particular interest to you. These are just ideas for now.
  • Building a storage shed so we can hold more donations 
  • Helping facilitate micro loans for campers who have ideas for their own businesses 
  • Crowd Funding to support a defined initiative. We sure would love to update or replace the TC3 shower trailer. 

If you would like more detail on any of these topics please contact and we will respond.

Thank you all, and thank you for caring about the camps!

The State of Homelessness in America

The National Alliance to End Homelessness has issued its 2016 report on the State of Homelessness in America.  You can download it here.

Overall, homelessness in America decreased by 2%.

However, the number of people living "doubled up" has increased by 52% since 2007.

The number of people paying more than half their income for rent is up 2.1% nationally. Since 2007, this number has increased 27.7%. It has not decreased with economic recovery; the number has plateaued.

The national decrease in unsheltered homelessness was driven by large decreases in Florida, Texas, and Georgia. Unsheltered homelessness only decreased nationally by about 1800 people (from the graph on page 9 [page 11 of pdf]).

The national rate of homelessness was 17.7 per 10,000 people. Many states were below that, but a few (as well as the District of Columbia) were above (pp. 12-13).
  • Alaska 26.5
  • California 29.8
  • Colorado 18.6
  • Washington, DC 110.8
  • Florida 18.0
  • Hawaii 53.7
  • Maine 17.8
  • Massachusetts 31.3
  • Nevada 30.8
  • New York 44.7
  • Oregon 33.3
  • Vermont 24.3
  • Washington 27.5
The changes in unsheltered homelessness are startling. While nationally the rate decreased by 2.0%, in many states the number of unsheltered homeless rose starkly (map on page 16). Some of the more shocking figures:
  • South Dakota: 147% increase
  • Wyoming: 50% increase
  • Rhode Island: 80% increase
  • Illinois: 60% increase
  • Utah: 45% increase
  • Alaska: 119% increase
Just 18 states reported a decrease in unsheltered homelessness from 2014 to 2015.

The rest of the report is worth reading.

Friday, April 1, 2016

SHARE's troubles, redux

SHARE has established Tent City 6 around the King County Administration Building, in protest of King County's decision not to fund encampments (although they did establish a contract with Bill Kirlin-Hackett to "find hosts" for Tent City 4 in early 2015), as well as not to fund organizations that have anything to do with encampments.

Details are on SHARE's website.

I stopped by there early this afternoon to talk to the people there. There were 2 people sitting at a table (the "front desk"), and they seemed to know what was going on. Evidently things are going well so far. There are some funders who are concerned, and who may assist SHARE in covering its debts.

SHARE's information packet included letters from King County and from the City of Seattle, as well as details about SHARE's current financial situation.

This seems a typical SHARE solution -- a highly visible political protest about political decisions.

About Tents

It occurred to me that King County's objection to tents as shelter is well answered by Judge Thomas J Mahon's statements to the City of Seattle in 2002, during the lawsuit Seattle filed against El Centro de la Raza and SHARE: "Tents are a well-established form of shelter, with a long and distinguished track record extending back at least 4000 years."

Tents are still used as primary shelter in many parts of the world:


Now, that's a tent city.  Photo by Mubeen Rahman.
And still used by the United States Armed Forces:
Photo by the U.S. Army

As I stated in my last post on this matter, I think King County is clearly in the wrong on this matter.

That said, I agree that Encampments -- Tent Cities -- are not any kind of a solution to homelessness. What they are is a solution for survival while the residents gather resources to re-enter housing. That is their purpose in this time of a crisis in homelessness.

So, what about SHARE?

Many people say that SHARE has mismanaged what money it has. And that's possible. Yet, we can add the numbers, and we can discover that SHARE is correct: they have not been paid for all the things they have done, and they cannot continue to operate in the red. They need some permanent funding sources to the extent of about $10k a month. The spend about $150k on both Tent City 3 and Tent City 4, and they spend about $40k on Tent City 5 (not all costs are covered by the City).

The encampments are paid for entirely by donations. The encampments are necessary for people to survive. Their choices are simple: sleep in the open, or sleep in an encampment. Which is the better choice?

Given the reality of homelessness, what should be our response?

Camp Dearborn receives another eviction

Camp Dearborn is staying at 2314 E Spring St, at Umoja Fest Peace Center.
Yesterday, they and the primary tenant received a notice of eviction. A picture of it is shown (it's posted on the FaceBook page of the External Affairs Coordinator, Troy Morgan.

About Camp Dearborn

I stopped by their camp this afternoon, and they seemed fairly well organized. The camp was peaceful. I introduced myself, and asked a few questions.

So, Camp Dearborn, having split from Nickelsville, is still following somewhat of a Nickelsville model of governance structure, but not the Nickelsville model of governance style.

So, they have an Arbitrator, a Chief of Security, and an External Affairs Coordinator, elected by the camp.

They've decided that their rules are... not set in stone at the moment; they want some flexibility. So they've decided to call their rules "guidelines." So I asked the obvious question: What happens when someone refuses to follow the guidelines?

Their response: we'd bring it to the camp, democratically, and if the person refuses to follow the guidelines, we'd eventually have to kick them out.

So I asked about their needs. They said, "Water."

I could see, neatly stashed in a box, 5 empty gallon-sized water jugs. With about 20 people in camp, the need for water would be a no-brainer.

They probably also need food. I could see a propane grill, and they mentioned their meal calendar was bare. Which we can see after looking at it.

So, in 9 days they have to leave again. The City of Seattle seems to be stuck on repeating the past. This is approximately what happened with Tent City 3 16 years ago. They moved around a lot because the City of Seattle, despite the lip service it pays to "sheltering the homeless," doesn't seem to really like the homeless doing things for themselves.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

SHARE's troubles

SHARE is having financial troubles again.

... although we have been working on this to get more funding our efforts have fallen on deaf ears. ...

Unfortunately, we have reached the point when we can no longer AFFORD TO STAY OPEN, literally. To date we have $70K in unpaid bills, our staff has been withholding their salaries, and we don’t have enough bus tickets to last thru the end of the month.

The Central Committee has MSP’d to have the last night be on March 30th, hopefully we’ll have enough bus tickets to last us until then. On March 31st we will be marching to the King County Administration Building Plaza and staying there until such a time that we can negotiate the needed funding in order to reopen our shelters. We hope many of you will join us because this is the only way we will be successful.

We have faced similar crisis in the past and by staying together we have managed to prevail. For over the 25 years we have had many victories through direct action. These we achieved by staying together and UNITED. Our strength is in our numbers. NOW is the time to show our strength as a COMMUNITY.
Further on in their website, they comment on the reason given for refusal of funding by King County:
SHARE has been hobbled with debt the past two years. We’ve still managed to keep people safe and alive. Now though, through funding cuts and general increases in operating costs, we can’t promise we will be able to keep going much longer.We simply can’t function without more stable funding.   In spite of this King County rejected our two funding proposal requests without consideration in late February. In one case, the reason for denial was because “King County does not consider Tent Cities to be shelters.”
Tell a backpacker, "a tent isn't shelter," and he'll laugh at you.
We must demand that King County follow their own emergency plan, and fund SHARE. King County says they follow the “All Home” Plan (to end Homelessness) but they don’t.  That Plan is clear – existing shelters like SHARE’s should be preserved, not bankrupted.
King County is incorrect about tent cities, and a judge in 2002 commented on this. Tents have a long and well-established track record as emergency shelter. They've been around for thousands of years, and they still work.

That's not the real reason, though. That's the "ostensible" reason, and since it's clearly false, there must be another -- unstated -- reason. We know that the Human Services people of both King County and Seattle act as though they utterly despise SHARE.

I agree that tent cities are not a solution to homelessness. They are not. You will not get any staffer at SHARE to agree that tent cities are a solution for homelessness. Tent cities are an interim survival mechanism -- as are all other homeless shelters. That's all they are. And an "interim solution," it seems to me, should be as cheap as possible, on the very grounds that it's not a permanent solution. We should be spending our money on permanent solutions, not on temporary ones, if we can at all avoid it.

Tent cities are one of the cheapest forms of shelter available. Even at $90k a year for 100 people, this is $2.50 per day per person. Tent cities don't have bedbugs (unlike the indoor shelters, which have them in profusion).  Yes, they are minimalist in terms of shelter. But there are reasons why many people use them. See my post on why people refuse shelter.

Tent cities are very visible reminders of homelessness.

And then there's this: if SHARE disappears by going bankrupt, will the Tent Cities disappear?

NO, they will NOT disappear. The tent cities of SHARE can operate without SHARE, and will if they need to.