Editorial comment

After months of planning and anticipation, Tent City 3 moved onto Wallace Field at Seattle Pacific last Saturday morning.

Over 100 volunteers showed up, coordinated by Latreia, to help Tent City move. Student involvement has begun.

Although student involvement and attention is a good thing, students need to realize several things about Tent City 3 that set it apart from other housing solutions for the homeless.

Tent City 3 residents are high-functioning individuals. A rigorous screening process and extensive camp rules do not allow room for people with mental illness or chemical dependency.

Additionally, residents of Tent City are different from those who may be found at other sites, such as the 1811 Eastlake project, which provides support and housing for homeless alcoholics, and homeless shelters downtown. Tent City caters more to unmarried couples or people with pets, who otherwise have a hard time finding housing. No children live in Tent City 3.

The best thing Tent City 3 provides is an opportunity for community members to be educated about homelessness; it gives us a chance to talk to residents, serve them meals and otherwise be closer to people who are usually avoided on the streets.

So as you find yourself interacting with Tent City 3, keep in mind that this encampment is only a small portion of the homeless population. For a fuller perspective on homelessness, students should seek out other opportunities for interaction.

Volunteering at a shelter and getting educated about the homeless population in Seattle would be logical next steps; that way, Tent City 3 will have served its purpose at SPU.

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Title: Editorial comment | Author: Unknown | Section: Opinions | Published Date: 2012-01-25 | Internal ID: 7974