Moving days are never easy

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Tents of all sizes are essential and since most are made for weekend camping the UV sun exposure deteriorates them easily. Photo copyright, Marc Weinberg

Text and photos by Marc Weinberg

I’ve been writing about and photographing various tent camps for more than 10 years. The Seattle Times regularly features the many sides of the issue of ‘homelessness’. Like most objective observers, I see camp members who desperately need the shelter and assistance that it provides. 

There are also those whose histories of domestic abuse/divorce or financial crisis have left them with little alternative. Whatever the case, or whatever you believe: the reality is what we see or read about every day.

Garden of greens makes things more like home
Photo copyright, Marc Weinberg

One particular camp called United We Stand has managed to successfully organize itself around a model that has been tested over time and is self-managed with the help of a Board of Directors which meets monthly, and the camp management team which meets weekly.

With a license to shelter 35 residents the camp maintains a manageable size, with a few newcomers each month as others move on. They have 501c3 status, so donations may be tax deductible. More than fifty percent of the members are employed and most of the others are looking. There is a zero tolerance policy for drugs or alcohol.

Camp Galley for food storage and meal preparation 
Photo copyright, Marc Weinberg

Residents pay a monthly maintenance fee to help support expenses like portable toilets, power and water. They are always in need of blankets, hand sanitizer, lumber, large tarps, tents and propane.

When I visit garage or estate sales I always ask if they would like to donate to a camp like this. There have been times on a Sunday when my car has been packed to the roof with items I have collected in this way. For me it’s like a scavenger hunt finding things they might need. Give it a try and see what useful items you can find. The pleasure of giving in this way is gratifying.

For short trips around Shoreline, like to the YMCA for a shower, bikes come in handy
Photo copyright, Marc Weinberg

Camp United We Stand is currently at Calvin Presbyterian Church at 18826 3rd Ave NW (at the corner of 185th St). They will be moving to Shoreline Free Methodist Church, 510 NE 175th St during the week of June 8-15, 2019.

Veggies on the vine, home grown peas
Photo copyright, Marc Weinberg

Moving Days are Never Easy and help is needed. If you have a pickup or van and you could spend even half a day during this time you will get an insight into the people and the culture of tent camp life. On June 15th in particular any help will be appreciated as materials will be transported in larger trucks to their next home site.


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