A Tent City in Tacoma, Part 2

This is the second in a series of articles on a tent city for Tacoma. The first can be found by clicking here. Based on my past experiences in tent cities, a Tacoma Tent City could well be organized and governed as follows:

Camp Organization

  1. The responsibility of electing leadership and establishing permanent rules within the camp shall fall upon the residents of the camp at the time by a consensus vote (consensus as determined by the camp as a whole).
  2. The responsibility of enforcing rules, resolving disputes, establishing temporary rules, and coordinating ongoing and day-to-day operations of the camp shall fall upon an executive committee (EC), comprised of five primary members and two alternates. These executive committee members shall be elected once a month and shall not serve a term of more than two consecutive months.
    • Alternate executive committee members shall serve in the place of primary executive committee members in the event that a primary executive committee member cannot discharge his or her duties at the time.
    • If, at any time it is felt by the camp that an Executive Committee member cannot discharge his or her duties properly and fairly, then the camp may hold a mid-term election, or force the EC member in question to step down for the remainder of the term.
  3. Security personnel shall be charged with keeping the peace in the camp, and serve as an extension of the executive committee member on duty at the time, executing his or her instructions as time and duties permit.
    • Each resident shall serve a number of security shifts each month as determined by executive committee. The EC determines the number of shifts needed to ensure that 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, there are two individuals serving as security
  4. Basic requirements for residents are established as follows:
    • Completion of a required number of hours as security, as determined by the executive committee based on needed shift coverage.
    • Completion of a number of “community credits” that are necessary to keep the public informed as to the condition of tent city, needs of tent city, and benefits of tent city.
    • Conducting yourself in a civilized manner based on rules established for the residents of tent city
    • Participation in a once-per-week meeting of camp residents, to keep the residents informed of upcoming events, rule changes, and election of leadership as needed.
  5. Basic rules for camp conduct will be as follows:
    • No alcohol in camp (this includes being intoxicated while in the camp).
    • No drugs in camp (this includes being under the influence in camp, exceptions made for those who are prescribed these substances and can provide copies of the prescription with contact information for prescribing doctor)
    • Violence will not be tolerated and will result in arrests. Camp rules require EC members to summon EMS to deal with emergency situations. Violence will result in a minimum 72 hour ejection.
    • Derogatory comments against individuals because of their protected status, such as race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, etc are not permitted.
    • Weapons are strictly prohibited in camp. Violation results in a minimum 72-hour ejection and notification of authorities.
  6. Penalties for violations will be as follows:
    • As determined by the EC on duty at the time of the violation(s):
      • Additional duties as required by the camp (additional security shifts, “community service,” etc.)
      • 24 hour ejection
      • 48 hour ejection
      • 72 hour ejection
    • Penalties requiring review and approval by a minimum of 2 other primary EC members
      • 4 day ban
      • 7 day ban
      • 10 day ban
      • 30 day ban
    • Penalties requiring a consensus of primary and alternate EC members (4 or more)
      • Permanent ban
  7. Other leadership/ responsibilities may be needed. These include, but are not limited to:
    • Tent master — responsible for maintenance of tents and tent accessories.
    • Kitchen master — responsible for cleaning and maintaining the kitchen tent and its supplies.
    • Move masters — responsible for coordinating any moves of the tent city as necessary.

Thank you for your attention. I hope that this will permit a more meaningful cooperation between the city and the services that seek to help the homeless find more permanent solutions to their housing issues. Please feel free to comment on this article.

3 thoughts on “A Tent City in Tacoma, Part 2”

  1. You know the funding for fema might allow funding as well there is also a program called Voa and Salvation Army funds other countries maybe they could help too. Again Goodluck to you&Lisa & your team. M

  2. Thanks for the ideas. I’ll bring them up at the next development meeting, which you are most welcome to attend. It will be at 4 PM at the First United Methodist Church, 621 Tacoma Ave S, Tacoma, WA 98402. You can click here to see the schedule.


    Alan OldStudent

  3. My son my boyfriend and myself are desperately looking for shelter my dad passed away 2 months ago my car broke losing my storage I have poor health my son and I are severely depressed my boyfriend has a job but my credit isn’t the greatest its been impossible to find a place to rent I’m checking out of a hotel this morning which we stay on weekends to shower. I have no family here anymore I have ran out of ideas of places to g o we will be walking with all my belongings at checkout time is there availability at Tacoma tent city my phone has been shut off but I can wi fi can anyone help

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