So this homeless woman was sleeping in a church doorway. It was about 3 AM in the morning, in the quietest, coldest pre-dawn imaginable somewhere near downtown Tacoma. A freezing damp wind kept poking icy blasts into the holes of her threadbare blanket as she lay sleeping on some scrappy pieces of damp and dirty cardboard to protect her from the cruel cement. Her cold feet, especially her big toes, ached and hurt. Her feet had not dried out in over two days. They had blisters from walking in ill-fitting, soggy shoes. She needed to pee really badly, to use the bathroom. But there was no safe private place to go for another 3 hours until the little store run by a nice immigrant fellow two blocks up the road opened. He sometimes gave her a small paper cup of really bad stale coffee, but at least it was hot. She was aware that she didn’t smell so good. Her clothes were filthy and she hadn’t had a shower in weeks.
This is a video of the public testimony delivered on April 1, 2014, at the Tacoma City Council meeting regarding use permits needed to set up a tent city.
It began with John Harrington from the city Planning and Development Services Department giving a presentation. Councilwoman Walker said a few words in support of John Harrington and Colin DeForest’s efforts to educate the city council about homelessness.
Afterwards, there were 4 members of the public who testified, 2 in favor and 2 against.
Opposed were Pastor Bruce who ministers to homeless, and Valentine Smith, a member of a neighborhood council.
In support were Alan OldStudent and Neal Rogers, both on the Tent City Tacoma development team.
Our March 17th TCT Coordinators’ meeting has been canceled so we can attend the Neighbor and Housing Committee meeting. This is actually a meeting of a standing subcommittee of the City Council. Harry will make presentation about what the proposed ordinance calls THCs. (Temporary Homeless Camps). Although TCT coordinators can attend, we may not be able to speak. This meeting is at 4:30 PM, March 17, 2014, Room 248, Tacoma Municipal Building, located at 747 Market Street.
Details of City Council Subcommittee Meeting
|Neighbor and Housing Committee meeting
|Monday, March 17, 2014, at 4:30 PM
|Tacoma Municipal Building, Room 248
747 Market Street
PRESENT: Alan, Woody, Patricia, Neal, Lisa, Vince
- Website report.
- Basic documents.
- New business cards.
- Patricia: Report on contact with Pastor Nina. Contact with Elder Ron about another possible church location.
- Neal: Logistic concerns, porta potties, children, paid staff limitations (must have 2 residents accompanying them on official business meetings)
- Telephone costs.
- Next meeting time and location.
WEBSITE REPORT: Alan gave a website report. Our web presence is small at the present time, but we are attracting some interest.
Facebook: We have 78 total likes as of today. That’s up 2.6% since last week. A lot of people went to our new website as a result of our FB announcement.
PRESENT: Alan, Vince, Blaine, Lisa, Neal, Patricia
- Discussion of possible TCT camp sites
- Discussion on TPCCEH Coalition meeting
- Report on New Web site
- Bank account
POSSIBLE CHURCH LOCATION: Patricia and Neal reported on the meeting with the trustees at Bethlehem Lutheran Church (BL). Although not a member of BL, Elder Ronnie Warren, whom we met at the Coalition meeting in September, helped connect up TCT with BL as a possible site and got us an invitation to the trustees’ meeting on October 15. At that meeting, Neal gave a shortened form of the Power Point presentation he put together. The pastor explained that this was an introductory presentation only. The discussion of possibly hosting TCT will be held on Oct 29. Those present at the meeting responded positively to Neal’s presentation, including one individual who Pastor Nina Body felt was likely to be resistant. Before making their decision, the trustees want to talk to churches in Seattle who have acted as hosts to other tent cities. They also want clarification on liability issues, not only hold harmless agreements but how their insurance would view that agreement. Neal will get the contact information for Pastor Body.
Woodstock Buzz came to our Monday GA to announce great news for Seattle’s Nickelsville, a long-term homeless tent city in Seattle. The GA face-to-face attendees asked that this story appear on the Occupy Tacoma website.
The City of Seattle has ordered Nickelsville to abandon their encampment by September 1 and has plans to bulldoze it by September 2, the Labor Day weekend. That could mean the end of Nickelsville. But now it looks like they may not have to shut down.