Tuesday, April 12, 2016

UW Possibly Placing Homeless Camp In Outlying Parking Areas Next Year For 3 Months

The Laurelhurst Community Club (LCC) would like to share with the community that the  UW is considering putting a homeless tent camp, Tent City #3, on the outskirts of their campus winter quarter of 2017, for 3 months.  

The goal is for students and faculty to have an interactive experience with their residents to build empathy.

Today from 12-2pm, in Room 250 at the HUB, there will be a public meeting to collect input/feedback in the next few weeks. 

Through April 30, neighbors can send concerns about purpose, function, safety and location and general comments to regional@uw.edu.
LCC said that after examining their proposed locations, with several of the on-campus sites, now ruled out, it currently appears that the tent city might actually be located specifically in these areas, which the UW says are closer to transit for their residents' convenience:
  • E-1, E-18  next to Laurelhurst
  • E-12 off Montlake Boulevard
  • W-35  next to the  Montlake/Portage Bay neighborhood, near the stadium
  • W-35, near Roosevelt Ave , near the University Bridge neighborhood
LCC says

Few details are available about any specific educational commitments or programs and no site definitely named, but there are promises of connections for student/faculty learning.   
Governance is not certain about which entity will actually be the administrator of the tent city at this time.  
The University asserts that police services would be provided by the University's patrol.   
The Tent City is independently run by their residents, and toilets and water, and cooking stoves are provided, although no showers.   
Their residents are screened for sex offender clearance as well.   
During daytime, residents must be out of the tent doing productive work, or working on site for the encampment's needs.   
SPU, (Seattle Pacific University), a smaller faith based university, hosted a smaller tent city last year as part of their school's religious mission. It was located on their main quad for student involvement and building awareness.

Below is information from the UW and here is a recent post in MyNorthwest.com.
Office of the President header graphic
Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

Our city is facing a crisis. Thousands of our neighbors are forced to make their homes in doorways or under bridges since they lack affordable housing. Consistent with our public mission, the University of Washington has been seeking solutions to the homelessness crisis through scholarship and service. But we have an opportunity to do more.

Earlier this year, I commissioned a working group to assess the feasibility of hosting an organized tent city encampment on the Seattle campus for 90 days during the 2017 winter quarter. Tent cities are by no means a permanent answer for homelessness, but they do provide a safe place for residents to live as they seek stable housing. This working group met with representatives from
Tent City 3, Seattle city government, community organizations and members of the Tent City Collective, as well as with colleagues from Seattle Pacific University and Seattle University, both of which hosted Tent City 3 on their campuses and found hosting to be a valuable educational experience for their students.

I want to single out the Tent City Collective for particular praise. Its members, which include UW students, alumni and Tent City 3 residents, have been steadfast advocates for our neighbors facing homelessness. They have also made many connections with faculty and departments eager to incorporate service learning into their curricula via the opportunities hosting an encampment would present.

The conclusion of the working group is that hosting an encampment is feasible, provided that we have community support; connect with an experienced, responsible organizer; make a decision early enough for faculty to incorporate relevant service learning into their curricula; and have detailed plans for security, safety, health and sanitation to ensure the well-being of residents and community members. Participation in UW activities related to hosting would be voluntary for our students, just as they would be for encampment residents.

I am now seeking your feedback on whether the UW should step forward and host Tent City 3 — which has an extensive track record and clear code of conduct for residents — during the 2017 winter quarter.

No taxpayer or tuition funds would be used to host the encampment, which would be limited to no more than 100 residents. There are
several locations under consideration, which you can view on the Regional and Community Relations site.

You can also share your thoughts by emailing regional@uw.edu. The goal is to make a decision by the end of the academic year in order to provide time for logistical and curricular planning.

Service to our community is central to our mission, as is providing students with experiences that help them become educated, engaged citizens. Informed feedback from the campus community and from nearby residents and businesses is vital as we consider whether to host Tent City 3, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

President Ana Mari Cauce's signature
Ana Mari Cauce
Professor of Psychology

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