News Blog for Seattle's University District Neighborhood

 

Inside the Tent City On Ravenna: A Well Organized Effort

October 17th, 2014 by master

You might have noticed that a tent city has popped up on Ravenna ave and 8th ave NE. Being a resident of this neighborhood I had some questions. I decided to stop by and get some answers.

A blue tarp circles the encampment. I walked until I found the entrance on the Ravenna side. I was immediately greeted with smiles and directed to the front “office.” I met a volunteer organizer who asked to be called ‘Micky Mouse’ to protect his identity. He told me about the SHARE/WHEEL organization that runs Tent City 3 then he introduced me to resident Tom who gave me a little tour.

SHARE stands for Seattle Housing and Resource Effort and WHEEL is for Women’s Housing, Equality and Enhancement League. As mentioned on their website:

“SHARE and WHEEL are a self-organized, democratic, grassroots organizations of homeless and formally homeless individuals. SHARE was founded in 1990 and WHEEL was founded in 1993.  For 22 years we have been working to eradicate homelessness, educate the community, and empower homeless people.”

Mouse told me that Tent City 3 has be running for 13 years and is a model for tent cities across the nation. They are self-managed to help promote the dignity of the individual members.

People might wonder what kind of people are allowed to be part of this Tent City, how long they will stay in a location and why they are here in the first place. Mouse gave me some of their standards:

To be welcomed into the community one needs to have a current ID and must pass a sex-offender check. Tent City 3 does not allow anyone with a sex-offense in their operation. Mouse said that no level of sex-offense is acceptable for their city.

Stays can run from three to six months, but tend to stay in the three-month time frame. They create a contract with their host or neighborhood and they are very strict about sticking to that contract. This tent city is set to relocate to the Seattle University Campus on Jan 11th 2015.

Also of note is that Tent Cities provide their own trash removal and port-a-potties. Bus tickets are provided to each participant each day so they can get to work or appointments. Each Tent City has a food preparation area and volunteers bring hot meals most evenings while other times area residents kindly bring food donations. Some local construction companies have even stopped by to offer work to able-bodied folks.

Tent City 3 also has their own security-safety patrols. Volunteers work up to 30 hours a week to help maintain the site.

Mouse tells me passionately that the people here are not ‘camping,’ they are ‘surviving.’ In the words of a resident from their website:

“People are people are people.  What do we want?  We want our lives back.  We lost our lives for the most part when we lost our jobs, housing, and opportunities to the rough times we are living through right now.”

Tom gave me a tour and showed off his awesome long hair!

Mouse said that tent city gives some of these people a safe way to survive that is a step above some other options available to homeless people in this city.

How can you Help?

Most importantly, Donations are gladly welcomed. On the website, there is a detailed list of wants and needs. Items such as hardware, kitchen, office, camping, health supplies and of course clothing is always needed. I spoke to another resident of Tent City 3, Roger, who said that sometimes neighbors order them pizza’s.

Pictured in front of his Tent, Roger said he was a network engineer before the 'dot bomb'

To some neighbors, it might feel shocking to have a Tent City pop up in your ‘hood. What I found is that taking the time to stop by and meet these people puts a friendly face to an important issue.

As I got in my car and drove away, I felt more at ease knowing that there are great people out there working hard to help people struggling to survive. It was also inspiring, especially knowing there is more I can personally do to help out struggling families in our surrounding areas.

For more information, to volunteer or donate supplies please stop by and talk to the people at Tent City 3, or visit the website.

Online Donations can be made at their PayPals Page.

SHARE is a 501c(3) non-profit registered in the state of Washington and all donations are tax-deductible. WHEEL shares SHARE’s 501c(3).

Tent City 3 is located at:

NE 64th St and 8th Ave NE
Seattle WA 98115

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New Goodwill donation center opens at University Heights Community Center

December 19th, 2011 by master

Just in time for the holidays, Seattle Goodwill just opened a new donation collection site in the parking lot of the University Heights Community Center.

Please take into account the following when preparing your donation: Goodwill can’t fix items that are broken or are in poor condition and can’t except anything that’s been recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. You can find a list of those items at www.cpsc.gov. And it seems like a no-brainer but it appears it needs to be said that they don’t accept hazardous, poisonous or flammable material.

Here’s a list of what they do take:
Antiques and Collectibles
Art
BBQ grills (must be clean and without propane tanks)
Bed frames
Books
Camping Equipment
Carpeting (new, never installed)
Cell Phones
CDs, records and cassettes
Clothing and accessories
Computers – desktop, laptop and monitors* (see below)
Computer accessories – printers, mice, scanners, keyboards, etc.
Computer software (factory sealed)
Small electronics
Exercise equipment
Futon frames and gently used futon mattresses
Home decor
Household appliances (no large appliances)
Jewelry
Lamps and light fixtures (no fluorescents)
Lawn equipment, including gas powered (must be drained of all fluids)
Linens
Portable heaters (must have three prong plug)
Rugs
Shoes
Sporting Goods
Televisions* (see below)
Tools
Toys
Vehicles – Call 1-877-999-8322 to donate your vehicle

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UW Farm looking for bike donations

November 8th, 2011 by master

A recent expansion of the UW farm has created a bit of transportation problem for student volunteers. The two farm sites, one on the campus and the other at the Center for Urban Horticulture, are a half an hour apart. To help student farmers get back and forth quickly, the farm is creating a community bicycle system. To help build the system, the farm is looking for rideable and working bike donations.

If you have a bike that you can donate, please email Ross at rover.ross@gmail.com.

For more information about the farm check out their blog at http://students.washington.edu/uwfarm/blog/.

A student farmer rides a donated bike between UW Farm sites

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