Thursday, December 29, 2011

Sacramento, CA: Homeless campers forced to move say shelters not an option

Came across this article at - mainstream news... A college student . . . A part-time office worker with pets... A man with children who was a carpenter, but work dried up...    Sacramento encampment  used to have more than 150 people, their stories are very similar to stories of people in Nickelsville, Tent City 3 and other tent cities;  the stories are the same across the country.  And now Sacramento people have nowhere to go.   Watch the video and read the entire article at link below, I only quoted some of the closing paragraphs. We better wake up.

Homeless campers forced to move say shelters not an option
8:56 AM, Dec 29, 2011  
copied url of the pic from the article, but it gives no credentials...

"I can't go to a shelter, because it'll conflict with my schooling," full-time Sacramento City College student Jordan Davis said. "The scheduling for sign-ups is tedius and certain programs you have to attend, if you miss one, they'll kick you out."

Another homeless woman refuses to give up her pet dog she's had for 10 years to enter a shelter.

"Can you give up your best friend? My dogs are all I have," said the woman who didn't want to be identified, because she works part-time in an office.

"There's no shelters you can go to with dogs."
Rest of the article here....

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

1.6 million US children are homeless now - Merry Christmas America

Nickelsville's Christmas tree - 12/16/11
With all good wishes for a Merry Christmas and 
a Happy new Year to our friends in Nickelsville!

While the mainstream media informs us that CEOs of our banks will unwrap the biggest ever (did I say 'ever'?  Yes, EVER) bonuses this year for Christmas, I found this, just published gem on the webpage of  The National Center on Family Homelessness:

America's Youngest Outcasts 2010

A new report by The National Center on Family Homelessness finds that more than 1.6 million children - or one in 45 children - are homeless annually in America. This represents an increase of 38% during the years impacted by the economic recession. The 124-page report, America's Youngest Outcasts 2010, ranks the 50 states from best (1) to worst (50), and offers specific policy solutions. Read the full report and find out where your state ranksMedia inquiries.

Nickelsville, 12/16/11 - general view

Six of those children, aged from 1 y.o. to 16 y.o. live in Nickelsville now; sure they have extended family of 120+ tent city members  who dot on them and take turns providing care for them, which is way better that untold numbers of other homeless children who will spend their Christmas in cars, shelters, friends' couches or maybe nowhere close to warmth and light;  but is this kind of childhood we meant for our youngsters?  One in 45 children means roughly one child in every classroom in America!

T.J. and her son, Adam - Nickelsville, 12/16/11

Last Friday Lynnda packed her car full of wood for Nickelsville, bags of warm clothes she collected among her neighbors, bags of fresh fruit (none of her signature cookies, because we read in 'Real Change' paper that Nickelsville is currently overloaded with surplus  holiday pastry donations from bakeries and restaurants, and that they wish for simple fresh fruit) and off we went to see our friends, who still live outside of the city, on Marginal Way (address and map on the right hand corner of the blog), where they moved to in May of this year.  Of course we brought a bucket of soup, and of course it was West African Peanut soup, which became my signature by now...

The camp's original entrance became a donation gate - Nickelsville 12/16/11
The gate of Nickelsville has been moved to the opposite side of the encampment, much closer to the bus.  The original entrance serves as donation entrance only (has parking space).  We found mainly new faces in Nickelsville, and what appeared as an extended area of tents, way past the line where it ended when we visited in September; but we were told that the current number of residents is still the same: about 120 (including six children), and that some of the tents are temporarily empty.

The camp's original (and resident from the Day 1)  historian of the place, Richard, did leave as planned,  and hopefully is enjoying holiday cheers with his family in Arkansas - hand-wave to Richard in Arcansas...  Lynnda was worried about Jarvis - his phone has been disconnected for a while and he no longer calls her, either - we learned that he reunited with his wife and kids in California, so hopefully he and his family also enjoy a  nice holiday break now - hi Jarvis in California...

Greg enjoying a quiet moment by the fire - Nickelsville, 12/16/11

Tracy and Mike are still in Nickelsville, and so is Nate (we didn't see him), Jerry, Greg and T.J.  We run into T,J, and she was beaming - introduced us to her just recently found son, Adam, who came to pick his mother up and drive with her to see their family in Bellingham - hope Adam's truck is now safely parked there and there is lots of family joy to share.

Nickelsville has a beautiful Christmas tree and there was a party to dress it - lots of lovely hand made decorations and even some gifts under the tree already; Lynnda and I wondered who has a job of moving them indoors when it rains.
Tracy's sic-pawed cat, Socks, is all grown up and very cuddly.  Nickelsville, 12/16/11

Nickelsville has large number of military vets, maybe next time I'll find a study on how America treats them - judging from number of them being homeless, not too kindly.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Sweet and sour sorrel soup

7/22/11 • new bright fence
at the entrance to Nickelsville

Lynnda came on Thursday with her car full of firewood (her yard lost a tree recently) arranged around a big rain barrow and with big box of her homemade cookies on top of the pile, of course – she seem to be unable to leave the house without them (my husband thanks you, Lynnda, for the cookies you kindly appropriated to him, he is enjoying them as I am writing this).

We poured the content of two big pots (sweet and sour sorrel soup – recipe below) into a soup bucket and off to Nickelsville we went.  Lynnda had, but I did not visit the place since June - the new, bright colored fence greets visitors at the entrance: such a joyful accent!

9/22/11 • General view of Nickelsville from the entrance
9/22/11 • Inside the kitchen tent
Right now Nickelsville hosts about 120 residents, including 2 families with 8 or 9 children between them: we met very pretty Jackie, almost 2 year old, enjoying a quiet lunch with her mother…  At the height of summer Nickelsville had about 150+ people + numerous four-legged family members (lots of them still there).  Many new faces now, but we met some old friends, too: Tracy, Richard, T.J., Nate and Tim; there must be more, because as Richard walked us through the compound to show the new developments we heard greetings of recognition: the soup ladies are here… :)

9/22/11 • Container garden space

Richard may be leaving soon:  his family had a reunion in Seattle this summer and there was a talk that he may join them in Arkansas - he would live with his sister, while helping elder family members with tasks they no longer can do.

9/22/11 • Swing set for
the children of Nickelsville
So, what is new in Nickelsville? Several more structures went up, the container garden is growing healthily,  there are 2 resident-goats which are tasked with clearing the brush, a play-structure for children was assembled and there is a cat castle – a separate tent where kitties enjoy  each other’s company + cat-gym and toys.

I’m sure there is more that I didn’t catch –our visit too short, as usual, alas.

9/22/11 • Shelly petting resident goats

(Vegan – but you can ‘fix’ it by throwing chunks of chicken in the beginning).

The ‘essence’ of this soup, as Brian, a one-time resident of Nickelsville would put it, comes from combining the sweetness of sweet potatoes and caramelized onion with tartness of sorrel.

I cooked it in 2 large pots: the actual soup in one and the filler (to make the soup go further) in second.  You can either follow the actual soup and skip the filler, or add some (or all) of the ingredients from the filler part to your ‘actual’ soup pot, if you are cooking for 60+ people.

‘Actual’ sorrel soup:

1.  Combine in pot and cook till carrots are semi-soft (about 10 minutes):
- Caramelized onion (you know that one:  sautéed on low flame in scanty amount of olive oil, till it is very juicy and sweet, about 20 minutes – I actually do huge amounts in crock-pot ahead of time, and freeze it in containers for further use)
-  Chopped carrots
- (Optional:) any seasoning you have – mine: laurel leaves, chopped fresh rosemary leaves, lovage spring or 2)
- Water to cover the stuff in the pot; + add water later as you see it fit.

2.) Add chopped sweet potatoes and cook some more till carrots and yams are almost soft, but not mushy (about 10 minutes more)

4.) Add veggie cubes and chopped sorrel – the more sorrel you add the more  sour the soup will be (I harvested and chopped  a humongous bunch from 2 pots  - this stuff is easy to grow and seem eternal as it comes back in same pots for years now).  Cook for some 5 minutes (not long, you want the leaves in nice green color, not rotten green).

5.) Add chopped broccoli and turn the flame off (broccoli needs just the surrounding heat to steam itself up) and some canned butter beans (or other favorite beans you) for protein content.

6. Finish the soup  - all optional; my fixings here:  crushed garlic, olive oil (anything with fat will taste better) and chopped cilantro and parsley.  If the soup is not sour enough for you, add lemon juice, too.  Serve with good bread.

Soup filler (you can use any, all or none from this part of the recipe); mine was a combo of:
- Red lentils (cooked for some 20 minutes to thicken the soup)
- Broken spaghetti noodles  (5 more minutes)
- Chopped cabbage (+ 5 minutes)
- And more veg cubes.
9/22/11 • Kristin and Abbie.  Abbie is an cat from India, where Noreen rescued it and brought back to US last July.
9/22/11 • Tracy's cat:  Socks
9/22/11 • Lynnda and Richard look at the new structures;
the blue tarp/tent on the right is a house for the goats

P.S.  Sorry for possibly misspelled names in captions – will get it fixed when able.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Comment from Hanna: Another article on homeless vets from 'Seattle Times'

'Stand Down' offers homeless vets access to services, benefits, clothes

Some three hundred homeless veterans went to Seattle Central Community College on Thursday for a "Stand Down" event where they could access health care and counseling and learn about disability benefits or other services. At the end, they could leave with a new backpack, a jacket, socks and other essentials for life on the streets.
Seattle Times staff reporter

Vietnam veteran Jerry Shaw, 57, picks out a sleeping bag from a pile of government-surplus items Thursday.
Enlarge this photo
Vietnam veteran Jerry Shaw, 57, picks out a sleeping bag from a pile of government-surplus items Thursday.Jerry Shaw, a rail thin Vietnam veteran, entered the gear room at Thursday's "Stand Down" at Seattle Central Community College and gazed at the huge piles of sleeping bags, gloves, hats and jackets.
"This will save lives here this winter," Shaw said. "If it only saves one, it will be great."
Shaw was one of about 300 men and women who showed up at the event, which offered homeless veterans a kind of one-stop shopping, where they could access health care and counseling and learn about disability benefits or other services. At the end, they could leave with a new backpack, a jacket, socks and other essentials for life on the streets.
The event was a cooperative effort launched by veteran and student Sam Barrett, 30, and involved more than 50 agencies and organizations. Barrett is a Seattle Central graduate now attending Seattle University, and both institutions helped sponsor the event.
King County officials estimate 2,500 to 3,000 veterans are homeless in King County, and their plight has twice-spurred voters — in 2005 and again this past August — to approve a special levy to help improve their lives. The levy has raised more than $13 million a year for veterans and was one of the funding sources for Gossett Place, a 62-unit low-income housing complex that opened in Seattle's University District earlier this week with some apartments set aside for homeless veterans.
Thanks, Hanna!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Another article

Sol commented below on another article, here it is, with an active link:

Feeding Seattle's homeless: a decade of doing "good"
Posted by Nancy Leson

In 2001, John Platt and Paul Butler had an epiphany: They could help feed the homeless. As owners of St. Clouds bistro in Madrona, Platt (who knows his way around the kitchen) and Butler (whose contribution to the cause is a central spot in the dish-pit) remain committed to that goal. On Aug. 17, they'll celebrate the 10th anniversary of their "Homeless Cooking Project."

What began as a half-cocked effort to feed 125 residents of a nearby tent city has blossomed into a monthly community celebration providing a restaurant-quality meal to 450 people at seven shelters throughout Seattle.

On the third Wednesday of each month, a small army of volunteers descends on St. Clouds. Troops show up at 9 a.m. with paring knives and cutting boards, fresh produce and other staples. They're done by 1 p.m. Old hands know the drill. New recruits ask, "What should I do?" Platt -- a former high-school principal -- is the friendly taskmaster who provides the answer: "Good."
Rest of the article here....

Now that I'm back from travels, time to check on my friends who are homeless ....  Lynnda says tent city 3 is moving again....  They are closer to me than Nickelsville so I may visit them first.  She also said that the homeless in Seattle funding was cut by FEMA -  it affects SHARE and WHEEL...  A story on this on Nickelsville's FB:

Visiting Krakow this summer I noticed many homeless?/begging people on the streets - a truly sad sight...  I guess they are now free to beg...

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Article about homeless family in Seattle

I will be traveling most of July, but before I go just wanted to bring to your attention an article about a single mom in Seattle - it is written by Mark Horvath, Founder of

I spent the day with a homeless family here in Seattle, yet it felt like spending the day with a normal family. The big difference was at the end of the day Carey and her daughter Maggy drove their van to a park to sleep for the night.

I first met Carey Fuller through I post she wrote on, "What It's Like To Be A Homeless Mother". She blogged anonymously so I had to beg the editor to connect us. From that point on, I have been so very impressed by Carey. I have done everything I can to help her and will continue to do so.

Yesterday, I met Carey and her daughter at a yard sale they were holding. On weekends she tries to make a little money by selling either old stuff she had in storage or new stuff she finds. Carey is very resourceful. When she needed money to repair the van they live in, she published a Kindle version of a book she wrote on, Writings From The Driver's Side.

Carey wants to start chronicling homeless life on video. I was bringing her cameras, but they were stolen at my first stop when my car was broken into. I am all about empowering homeless people so that did not stop me. I just took Carey to Best Buy and let her pick out a camera that would fit her needs.
If you live in the Pacific Northwest and can help please contact me or Carey directly. Let's get this family the support they need. Let's get this family into housing.

The rest  + video is here....

Friday, June 3, 2011

5 bucks shower & need for (hale - cross that out) HAY bales

5/2/11 • Guard gate at Nickelsville
P.S. 5/4 - Lynnda just pointed out that Jeremy asked for HAY bales, not hale bales - thank you my friend! (I do keep making words up - why is the world not catching up to them, dammit)....

Tracy was waiting by the gate when Lynnda and I arrived at Nickelsville; she left a message earlier  that morning, and  I called back, thinking that perhaps she wanted to alert us to some specific needs we might fulfill, but no, Tracy doesn't have a computer (she wishes she had), didn't know we were coming and generally just called to see how I am - what a timing!  'I'm several shades darker than last time you saw me' - she laughed, responding to my noticing how suntanned her face is;  she must tan very easily, as we had total of 1.5 days of sun since Nickelsville moved to Marginal Way.

Tracy gave us a camp tour while other residents were emptying Lynnda's car  from firewood and lawn chairs she packed for them, and oh, the cookies she bake, too - Jeremy intercepted them with a fast smile, saying he will hide them till proper dinner time, when most people are in the camp - I didn't even see what kind of cookies Lynnda baked:)...

5/2/11 • Nickelsville
We walked past sheltered from rain and sun social area of tables and chairs, along rows of tents and toward the end of the encampment, where the first solid wooden structure was being completed behind the orange warning fence.  The pic here shows men working on it, although it was finished by that very evening (go to Nickelsville's FB page to see it); Jeremy was rushing there to help, too, even though he and Andrea are planning to move to their own place August 1st (Andrea's daily school commute is now 1.5 hrs to reach her veterinary school in North Seattle) - there was a sense of pride, excitement and solidarity in the voices of all who talked to us about this project:  homes they are building together for themselves, more solid than tents and mainly using recycled materials, true eco-village.   They have architectural and material support from friends of Nickelsville and need some more - again check Nickelsville FB page, hopefully somebody posts a list of needed materials and maybe you even have it in your garage.
5/2/11 • Work on the first wooden home-structure

Tracy sounded quite happy and settled about being in the tent again and pointed out that although the old fire station provided them with kitchen and roof, it was definitely crowded and people were more cramped than they are now.  Presently camp has about 120 residents, which is 20 above the fire station capacity - and there is space for more; she also mentioned the benefits of the fresh air.  Asked about daily life details, Tracy said there are 2 food stores in a short bus ride distance - it would be walkable distance, but it's up the steep hill to White Center, so the bus ride is definitely preferable; they had some food shortages at the beginning and went through the most of the canned soup pantry collection, but now  are reconnecting with services + a few local churches also started to help.  I promised Tracy to find a phone contact number for the agency which used to drop wrap-sandwiches to their old place - need to ask Lynnda about the name of the agency...

How about laundry and showers?  That is somewhat inconvenient, informed us Tracy - the closest facility is downtown service center with free showers and laundry, but a bus ride there costs $5 round trip - $10  if she and her husband Mike go together....  We run into Julie, who seems fine and was about to go out for the 5 bucks shower with 2 friends - she, too, said that is one of the inconveniences of being not close to city services; she mentioned that she obtained a voucher for a bus ride, so it'll be free for her, but just the idea of having to figure out where to get voucher for the bus, then ride it with backpack full of change clothes in order to complete such a simple task as shower, gave me a pause.

5/2/11 • Richard and puppy Bear
We were about to leave and I still didn't see Richard, so Tracy pointed out to his tent and I went to harass him - I called his name and told him mine when he responded with 'yes?' He came out for a brief chat and played with baby dog Bear (now much bigger than puppy we saw back in the fire station).

Our visit happened to be in a dry moment of  this rainy Seattle spring, but the puddles around the camp  were not quite dry and Tracy cautioned us repeatedly to avoid them.  Dealing with mud must be one of the daily irksome tasks of life in Nickelsville, because Jeremy was  speculating on how much time it'll take for it to dry completely - a month? two? - and before we left he asked to post this message on the blog: 'WE NEED HALE HAY BALES, PLEASE'.  So if you have them - share with Nickelsville, so their pathways are dry and safe to walk on.

• The soup, for those wishing for a recipe:  Lebanese tomato soup with rice  and black-eyed peas; originally it was a simple black-eyed pea stew in tomato sauce, very garlicky and served over rice that my friend's Lebanese mother fed us on her visit to Seattle.  Here I just combined it into one pot meal: soak the peas overnight then cook till soft (about 1 hr+), add rice and more water, cook additional 20 minutes till rice is cooked, add canned tomato or tomato paste, season (salt, pepper, lots of fresh garlic + I added chipotle chili peppers for a kick, but not necessary), and you are done.  Nickelsville version had onions, celery and carrots added for extra nutrition somewhere around with rice, as well as loads of fresh parsley and cilantro on the end, but none of that was in the original Lebanese recipe - you have to figure out your own proportions, we cooked for about 50-60 people.

• I'll finish this long post with a link to very interesting article form,  the last place I'd look for such story, but here it is:

'I didn't think I'd stay homeless for that long ...'

By Rick NewmanU.S. News & World Report

A few months after losing her administrative job in the summer of 2008, 23-year-old Brianna Karp got rid of her furniture, a beloved piano, and most of her books so she could move back in with her parents. When that didn't work out, she moved into an old trailer a relative had left her, settling into an informal homeless community in a Wal-Mart parking lot in Brea, Calif. By the summer of 2009, she was living without electricity, regular showers, home-cooked food, and most basic conveniences.

Karp held tight to her laptop, however, and began writing a blog about her experiences. That generated attention that helped her land a part-time magazine internship, and eventually ink a book deal. Although her book, "The Girl's Guide to Homelessness," was recently published, Karp still lives in a dilapidated shed that the state of California considers not fit for human habitation. I spoke with her recently about her experiences.[...]
The rest of the article here...

Note, that Briana has a blog 'The Girl's Guide to Homelessness', and a recently published book based on her blog, she also has a job and still is semi-homeless (she cannot afford an apartment) - very instructive and well told story which will resonate with struggles of many people trying to survive in the present economy of no jobs or low paying jobs and scarce affordable housing.  This is what she said when asked:

[...]  What do you feel people should know about the homeless? 
There's a stereotype that they're lazy, dirty, mentally ill, or there because they want to be. It's a hard life. You can't be lazy and be homeless. You have to do so much just to survive, to get by from day to day. You don't always have transportation, money, or food. You have to worry about where it comes from. Yet get tired easily, and depressed more easily. It's not like you say, I don't feel like working any more so I'm going to go sleep on a park bench. [...]

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Thursday is coming

I read Ibu's post on FB a few days ago about people being hungry....  It made me sad; I don't know what exactly is happening, but imagine that being far from stores and food-banks does not help.  Having to truck water, no electricity, no kitchen. And all that energy spent to adapt to the new environment. Must not be easy.

Last issue of 'Real Change News' had a short  article about former Nickelsville's home, Fire Station 39:

With Nickelsville gone, old Fire Station 39 up for grabs
by: Cydney Gillis , Staff Reporter

Now that residents of Nickelsville have moved out of the old Fire Station 39, two groups are competing for control of the 1949 building.
Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn announced that he and council would work to turn the firehouse into a shelter, but the question is, who will run it?
The rest is here....

Anyway, this coming Thursday Lynnda and I will go to Nickelsville; will bring some cookies and soup;  Lynnda also found more firewood.

P.S. Perhaps I should take my super-simple solar cooker to Nickelsville and see if anybody is interested - that is if we have any sun in Seattle anytime soon...  I cooked quite a few soups and stews in it - it's wonderful, because it requires no energy but solar to use it - you just put the soup stuff in it, turn it towards the sun, go do something else, and 4-6 hours later the soup is ready, no sweat, no worry. Mine looks like the picture here - just a cardboard with reflective aluminum foil.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Visit to the new location, 5/24/11

Nickelsville 5/24/11 • Food tent
(limited amount of food available to residents);

by Lynnda

Nickelsville 5/24/11• Cooking area
with 2 propane grills and one charcoal grill

Yesterday, I was in South Seattle and decided to visit the relocated Nickelsville. I have been making soup with Aleks on Thursdays, and last week was the first week I wasn't cooking in the Lake City Fires Station. I missed visiting with my friends. So, I was glad to have the opportunity to drop in and bring a batch of freshly baked cookies and a carload of firewood.

Jarvis gave me a tour of the camp as others unloaded the firewood. The outdoor cooking area has two propane powered grills and a few smaller ones.

Nickelsville 5/24/11 • water station (water brought in from off site
since there is no city water at Nickelsville)

Nickelsville 5/24/11 • social area and meeting location.

Water is brought in from off site and is available at the entrance to Nickelsville. They use wheelbarrows to transport heavy objects lile the firewood. There is a community gathering place with lawn chairs around a firepit. It was sunny when I visited and everyone seemed to be in good spirits.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The kitchen is closed.

It's a bit over a week since Nickelsville moved from my neighborhood - I miss the people and hope everybody is dry, warm and has a full belly, too. Present location of Nickelsville precludes my routine involvement, so now I'm only able to follow on Facebook or through emails, unless I'm as lucky as Lynnda who run into Jarvis on the bus the other day!

So no more direct reports, unless I visit, which I occasionally plan to do - there is no way to actually know how people are, without actually seeing them in their environment.  I know Lynnda is planning a visit shortly;  she will be in Nickelsville's  new neighborhood for something else and plans to drop off some firewood she has and never uses, but they are short of - have you seen that pic Pamela Kliment posted on FB where cardboard is burned with a caption 'needing wood'?

Again: Nickelsville's Facebook page, click here.

I will try to keep the pages of this blog alive by posting local stories about Nickelsville or issues of homelessness, as i find them.

Here is one very nice, from 'West Seattle Blog', although I loathe the premise of the article - that there is a separate category of people who are homeless, and the authors found one who is, surprise, surprise, just like the rest of us.  The truth is the people in tent cities are one of us, and we are one of them; there is no separation.

I'll assume that the authors knew the normal bias mainstream media has when it comes to the homeless people in our culture (quite sick culture of revering the rich no matter how they gained their goods, and blaming the poor people for their misfortune) and decided to work from that angle against the bias;  but I'd much prefer if they quit looking for 'special' homeless people and realized our common humanity.  With that small complaint, enjoy the article (most comments are refreshingly sane in support of Nickelsville, at least when I looked at them some 12 hours ago):

So you think you know who’s at Nickelsville? Read Mike’s story

May 20, 2011 at 10:22 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 67 Comments

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Shortly after the encampment that calls itself “Nickelsville” returned to West Seattle a week ago, two longtime WSB Forums members e-mailed with news that another longtime member and WSB site participant, whose many comments have provided humor and history, Mike aka “miws,” was among its newest residents; they helped him get set up there after he was evicted from his Morgan Junction apartment. We have met Mike several times over the past few years; we knew he was struggling, but didn’t know he had become homeless. We were glad to hear they wanted to tell his story, provided he gave his permission, which he did.)

Story by Joanne Brayden
Photos by Kevin McClintic
Special to West Seattle Blog

On Monday, Mike, who posts on the West Seattle Blog Forums as miws, became a resident of Nickelsville, the tent-city encampment that recently made news as it moved out of a city-provided shelter at old Fire Station #39 and back to an empty field in the industrial area along the Duwamish River at the eastern base of West Seattle, without the city’s blessing.

By Wednesday, Mike had already worked one shift as Security and voted in camp meetings that will determine the future of his new home. He hasn’t just settled in, he has become part of the community, and can’t stop telling everyone how lucky he was that Nickelsville moved back to West Seattle so there was space for him when he needed them.
The rest is here...

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Saturday visit to ex- Nickelsville.

I stopped by the fire station in the evening on a hunch that somebody might  still be there:  maybe cleaning, maybe guarding, or maybe packing whatever was left.   2 or 3 people were on the guard duty and 6 or 9 people  (coming and going, hard to count),  I'm not sure why still there:  looking for a way to get to the new Nickelsville location?   Cleaning stuff?  Packing? I really don't know - but we were all very happy to see each other - like an extra bonus time given after our paths were destined to part.  One of the hugs nearly  broke my ribs - given in such an earnest joy.

Oh, and we saved the fish:  'I lived in this pet room for six months - with cats, dogs and fish.  People took their pets with them to the new Nickelsville location, but that one fish was somehow left behind, I don't know why.  I just put it in a small aquarium and want to save its life.  Soup Lady, could you please take it and keep it?'.  Oh, sure, I said - the young man's empathy for the fish was contagious and who wants to be on the  record as a fish-executioner?

'Look here, it comes with this big nice aquarium, and great  stuff to put it in for the fish to play with - (looked like a fish-playground and a tree-park) and there is the fish food to go with, too'.  He was now emptying the big aquarium from water and working fast on assembling the whole thing for me to take, breathlessly advertising how personable the fish is + its biological name (which I promptly forgot by now); all the  while my mind was in over-drive trying to figure out who should inherit the fish - I know nothing about the fish-keeping, and at this point mainly worried that I'd off the fish accidentally (by not feeding, not playing) while looking for a  home for it.

Then I met Rob -  he was there volunteering to help with the move, and presently was in the parking lot packing two residents' belonging into the trunk of his car - he was about to give them a ride to the new location. Fortunately Rob has 2 children and he thought his boy and  girl would enjoy taking care of the fish.   THE FISH HAS A HOME - hallelujah!  Thank you Rob, and whoever left the fish behind feel better, too.

How about dinner at the fire station?   'Well, could  you make a soup out of fake eggs and old bread?' -  somebody asked jokingly.  That was all we found in the kitchen, so I went to Fred Meyer nearby and brought back some sandwiches, roasted chicken  and potato salad.  It went fast - the people were hungry, probably no food since Nickelsville moved 24+ hours ago..

Later in the evening  I looked at Nickelsville's Facebook page and found pictures and videos from the new location - was very happy to see familiar faces in the pics, making themselves home and  pitching the tents .  Less happy about the  all night  rain, followed by nearly all day rain today and cool temps...  Hope  everybody is warm and dry.

TJ posted on the FB about trying to get to Nickelsville on the bus + this poem - a very sweet one:

10 years have past since ive been back
to the seattle streets i call home
I,ve missed the well known faces
and wondering around by road


And here a  story about Nickelsville from yesterday's KOMOnews:

SEATTLE - The homeless camp known as Nickelsville is back where it began.

Tents now sit in the same South Seattle lot where the camp first popped up in 2008, when Greg Nickels was still mayor of Seattle. The city forced everyone out in 2009 - sending them all over town to find new locations every three months.

While Seattle is in the process of finding the camp a permanent location, residents say this is their choice.

"It's a good middle ground - a lot of green, a lot of room for people to come in anytime they need to, good bus routes, only a few neighbors who might have a problem with us - and who we hope to negotiate with them in good faith," says Nickelsville resident Nate Martin.
The rest here....