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Creative Engagement With Global Housing Crises
Add Nickelsville 
Linked below is the transcript of a segment on Democracy Now! yesterday. It is about Nickelsville, an encampment of unhoused people of Seattle. It has been moved around the city, sometimes brutally, and currently resides in the parking lot of a church. One really great argument that is made is that churches occupy grey areas of the law in this country and can be used to do the kinds of social justice work that our cities are failing to do.

Nickelsville: Seattle's Homeless Name New Tent City After City's Mayor
By Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!
March 31, 2009

An encampment is made up of over a hundred pink tents and is named to protest Seattle Mayor Greg Nickel's policies around the homeless.

JUAN GONZALEZ: As the nation’s economic and housing crisis worsens, homelessness is also on the rise. A report from the National Center for Family Homelessness estimates that one in fifty American children are now homeless. With the number of homeless people far exceeding the existing network of shelters, an increasing number of people are setting up roving encampments or shanty towns that are popularly known as tent cities.

AMY GOODMAN: And right here in Seattle, tent cities have been around since the late ’90s, have also served as centers for organizing around affordable housing and services for the homeless. Seattle’s newest tent city is called Nickelsville. The encampment is made up of over a hundred pink tents and is named to protest the Mayor Greg Nickels’s policies around the homeless.

I’m joined here in Seattle by two people: Bruce Beavers, who lives in Nickelsville, and Anitra Freeman. She is formerly homeless. She is with the homeless organizing groups in Seattle.

Click to go to the rest of the story.


Here is a small collection of images of Nickelsville in an earlier incarnation that was posted on Flickr. The set also includes a brief history of the roving encampment, and the vicious policies of a irresponsible and ideology-driven mayor.


Here is the account of the origins of Nickelsville:

Nickelsville is the newest Tent City in Seattle. On April 4th, 2008 the Mayor’s Office of Seattle issued an executive edit that homeless people cannot stay on city property such as overpasses, parks, and greenbelts where many of the homeless take shelter each night. Seattle’s Mayor is Greg Nickels, thus the name Nickelsville. The camp has been on the run since September.

A bit of history: On September 22nd at 5 AM the Nickelsville camp was built at 7115 West Marginal Way SW. Four days later, on 26th, 70 tents and 5 wooden buildings were removed, and 23 people were arrested. The homeless found a temporary shelter in the Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center in Discovery Park. On October 10, 2008 they had to leave Discovery Park. The new location of the camp is the University Christian Church’s parking lot in U district. The agreement was reached and the residents were given the permission to stay on the grounds until January 01, 2009 (they were helped by the fact that the church’s parking lot is a private property).

However, the city seems to have decided to try to get rid of them again. That's according to KUOW, who reported that the city had told the residents to leave the parking lot by 10.31.2008.
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