The Mercer Island Reporter reports, as reporting is its mission and namesake, that Tent City IV is coming to Mercer Island Methodist in August. Tent City is a semi-permanent, organized camp of homeless people that moves every few months to a new location. The idea is to provide services and housing for those who are trying to get on their feet. Tent City is always invited by its host, usually a church, but oftentimes the neighbors of the host organization are less welcoming. Here’s a photo of Tent City III at St. Mark’s in Seattle:
Photo credit: Bjornb on Flickr.
Some readers may now be thinking, “I like the idea of helping other people, but how close will Tent City be to me?” it’s about as far away from most of Mercer Island as you can get and still be on Mercer Island:
NPR ran a story on Tent City, weighing the pros and cons. The story’s worth listening to, but here’s my summary:
- Pro: Tent city provides a path from homelessness to self-sufficiency.
- Con: It’s a band-aid that doesn’t solve any long-term problems.
Because life is rich and complicated, the answer must be a little of both: the Tent City concept is darkly wise and rudely great. I tend to believe that even in its imperfections, Tent City is one of the better attempts to solve a difficult problem. Other viewpoints, as always, are welcome here. Feel free to use the handy “Leave a Comment” feature to express yours.