30 March 2009

Tent Cities Help so Stop Destroying Them

From Democracy Now! comes an interview with homelessness activists who discuss Seattle's most recent tent city, Nickelsville. The relevant portion begins at 15:12.

The interview brings home a message I've been trying to raise without success, locally and elsewhere. Those most resistant to my suggestion to leave tent cities alone are politicians and, of course, the neighbours who would rather see people dying on the streets alone rather than grouped together in a community of relative safety and companionship.

The point is, "affordable" housing will continue to be an issue for decades to come. So rather than bulldozing over the communities that homeless people have created for themselves and pushing some of the affected people into overcrowded, unwelcoming "shelters" which impose unkind and often illogical rules, leave the people where they are. At least in tent cities, homeless couples can stay together, pets are allowed, belongings are relatively safe and people who use substances aren't shunned.

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