Tent City 3 will return to campus next winter quarter and may be located in Tiffany Loop, university officials said.
“It’s an opportunity to build community, link to the history and heritage of SPU,” said Jeff Jordan, vice president for Student Life. “An opportunity to learn about homelessness and we can engage the culture and change the world.”
Jordan said the exact location of Tent City hasn’t been determined yet, but the group will be staying eight to 10 weeks.
Tent City is a collection of people who live in tents, staying at various churches and other host sites as an alternative to homelessness.
“The Tent City folks haven’t done a site visit yet, so we may have to revisit that,” he said.
Tent City stayed on a grass Wallace Field two years ago during winter quarter. The field has since been redone with artificial turf.
“We learned as much as we provided something we have to be open,” Jordan said. “As someone who got to help guide and lead it, it was quite a humbling experience.”
Owen Salle, coordinator for global and urban involvement, said students helped Tent City move in last time.
“Last time it was cold, wet and nasty,” said Salle, adding there are plans for students to help with move in next year.
Salle said Tent City could move into the Student Union Building and Collegium if temperatures dip below freezing.
Residents are given a safe place to stay and are supplied with clothing, bus passes, food, necessities and social services.
Tent City 3 is currently at St. Dunstans Episcopal Church in Shoreline. Tent City 4, another group part of the same organization, is staying at Lake Sammamish State Park.
Tent Cities are allowed a maximum of 100 residents and are usually 60 percent men. Couples are also allowed to participate in Tent City.
Tent City also enforces strict no drugs, alcohol or violence rules. There are also enforced quiet hours from 9 p.m. to 8 a.m.
“People associate homelessness with being dangerous and that’s just not the case,” Sallee said. “
When Tent City 3 last visited SPU, some Queen Anne residents opposed SPU hosting Tent City, citing safety concerns.
The last Tent City visit to SPU saw no major issues.
“When students and their families visit for preview days they can see our faith in action,” Sallee said. “People recognize SPU for putting ourselves out there to do what we talk about.”
Junior Danielle Valdes said she looks forward to Tent City coming to SPU.
“Each homeless person is not the same,” Valdes said. “They all have their own story.”
“Tent City will be a learning experience for everyone,” she said.