On August 16, a group of advocates for the unhoused met with a representative from Senator Patty Murray’s office, Kierra Phifer. The advocates, members of the Tent City Tacoma development team and allies from Seattle SHARE/WHEEL came to discuss with Senator Murray’s office the question of homelessness in Tacoma and how an organized tent city (OTC) can provide a partial solution. Liz Falconer made a compelling video about this meeting and the experience of the homeless in Tacoma.
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
|What:||Neighbor and Housing Committee meeting|
|When:||Monday, March 17, 2014, at 4:30 PM|
|Where:||Tacoma Municipal Building, Room 248
747 Market Street
Tacomans Are Once Again Discussing a Tent City
We had this conversation a decade ago, when street activist Hank Montgomery confronted the needs of homeless people – and all the people who were trying in good faith to meet those needs. It was a caustic experience, though. On the bright side, Montgomery did end up with housing. He is doing well, and is happily married.
In the decade since, the people who dedicate their lives to trying to end homelessness have made progress. They have adopted strategies that work for families, teens, veterans, people with disabilities, addicts and those with mental illness.
This is Part 1 of a 2-part series. Click here to see Part 2
Have you ever pondered on the homeless and how they fit in the society we have now? The plain answer is that they do not fit in. Homeless people are forced to live on the fringes of society, forced to live under oppressive systems without any say in how they are run. Their critics scream at them to get a job, yet homeless agencies forbid them the tools to do so.
Established social service agencies expect no protest or complaint when they tell their clients they cannot take their personal belongings with them into the shelters. The shelters expect them to adhere to a meal schedule that forbids the possibility of a job search. The shelters expect them to come at specific times, or they don’t get a bed. This makes taking night jobs impossible. In short, the homeless are denied the rights that Occupys all over the country have been fighting for.
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:
- 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).
- 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.
Thanks to Vince Hart for writing the original draft that you’re now reading, and thanks to Patricia for proofreading the leaflet based on Vince’s draft.—editor
——CHANGING THE WORLD: STARTING LOCAL——
For several months, Occupy Tacoma (OT) activists and various homeless advocates have been gathering data, seeking out resources, identifying potential allies, and assembling relevant legal documents—all for the sake of launching a vital project to meet the needs of many local homeless people.
Now, a FIRST PUBLIC INFORMATION MEETING has been scheduled for Monday evening, June 10, at the First United Methodist Church (clickable link), 621 Tacoma Avenue South, to kick off the Tent City Tacoma project.
- Please Come: Church leaders, civil organizations, public health and law enforcement representatives, staff from city departments, and ALL OTHER INTERESTED PERSONS are invited to attend.
- Meeting Program:
- Refreshments: The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. with refreshments.
- Presentation: An OT member, formerly a homeless person himself, will share a PowerPoint presentation describing how he and other homeless advocates and activists have participated in the organization and running of successful Tent Cities.
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.