Friday, April 29, 2011

Check out music from Glen Still - Spoken Word & Monday usual: peanut soup

• Nickelsville is  MOVING 5/15 & YOUR HELP IS NEEDED!!! - please, read the bar on the right.

• Another song from Glenn Still for your listening and thinking pleasure above. 

• One thing about blogging:  noticed that unless the post is made close to the time it describes it's almost impossible to come up with anything but bland platitudes:  the fleeting impressions are gone and so are the observations made in that time.  Unfortunately, I waited too long to write about last Monday and now my head has something like this to say: came, cooked and left:(....  I know i talked to a few people about how did the Easter egg hunting/barbecue go, but can only report 'fine', as all the details left me, except that it wasn't raining....

I briefly talked to John of China, his going back home now moving from April to May - last week he missed his wife's birthday and was pretty dispirited about it.  Have you called her? 'The day didn't start in China yet, waiting for her to wake up'...  Jarvis is out of Nickelsville, and in Tent City3 now.   Mike was making sure that we have everything we need for cooking, and Richard went through the veg donation pile to see what could be salvaged.  That last task was somewhat depressing,  the produce is likely donated the day of or day after 'sell date';  some of the things are half rotten already and if you leave them for another day or two, the entire content of package is one smelly mess.  I once volunteered in the food bank doing the same sorting job every week and thinking that in a perfect world it would be the poor people getting wonderfully fresh and nutritious produce that they desperately need, and the rich and healthy would have the job of sorting out the leftovers to see what could go well with their caviar and shrimp.   

All I have is pictures of Monday chopping team - by now it is quite easy to find a whole group of people doing this communal task of making gigantic pot of soup.   I know I enjoy this time together, when we talk and laugh and chop.
4/25/11 - Tony, a.k.a. L.A, Richard, Terry and Patricia - soup prep
4/25/11 - Tony a.k.a. L.A.  and Richard
Tomorrow is butoh dance performance in Nickelsville!  Hopefully I'll be able to post some pics.

• An item I found in Seattle Times, published 4/25/11:

Seattle homeless man and dog live in rowboat
The Seattle Times

Under the concrete pillars of the Highway 520 bridge, anchored in a foot of water, William Kaphaem and his dog, Lulu, live in an aluminum 14-foot rowboat.

They seem to have found peace at the edge of the Arboretum.  Kaphaem has rigged the boat so it's covered by a 20-by-18-foot brown plastic tarp, with a few feet of headroom. It seems to blend in with the muddy bottom by the bridge posts of the Montlake Boulevard East exit.

You wouldn't even know there was somebody inside unless you yelled over the noise of the rumbling cars and trucks above, "Hey, Three Stars!"

Kaphaem, 51, says he has Mohawk ancestry and so he prefers to be called by that name, which reflects the outdoors.   Hearing your voice, Kaphaem - Three Stars - will lift up the tarp that serves as his cocoon.  "Actually, a lot of light gets through," he says.
The rest is here....

Check out the comments under the article, too -  I find them more interesting than the article itself: some positive, but some complaining about the writer's trespassing privacy of the man:
I do not believe you should have published this article. He was doing just fine without any help from you.  Now he has officialdom looking into his situation. The state will want to charge rent for him anchoring on state property. The Coast Guard wants ot know what he is doing with waste. That will be the end of that.

I certainly can identify with complainers, since this is the very issue I struggle with on this blog - how to write about the homeless people without bringing an attention they might not wish upon themselves: which details are ok to share and which are too private - thanks people of Nickelsville for teaching me some of that!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Thursday: Chicken Rice Curry and Easter prep

• Nickelsville is  MOVING 5/15 & YOUR HELP IS NEEDED!!! - please, read the bar on the right.

Easter egg painting - 4/21/11
When Lynnda and I got to Nickelsville last Thursday, the Easter preparation was in a full swing:  Joanna was leading a session of egg painting for kids and a man from the neighborhood was there too, to talk about Easter Sunday egg hunting and barbecue in the nearby park.  Later in the afternoon Monte from Tent City 3 came over with a woman who brought stuffed bunnies for the children - Nickelsville looked like any home full of youngsters preparing for a day of fun and sharing.

Mike P. making a fruit salad - 4/21/11
Lynnda  has been going an extra mile or 2 for her days in the camp lately:  her last Thursday's production involved not only Brooke's cupcakes (this time decorated thoughtfully decorated with Easter-colored jelly beans - THANKS AGAIN, BROOKE!), the curry/chicken soup/stew but also what looked like a result of a small fruit-stand robbery:  bags and bags of fruit she found on sale somewhere.  She had Mike P. devoted to chopping them all afternoon, before she sprinkled them with fresh lemon juice and mixed into delicious salad - the most popular food item on the menu that day, as everyone is obviously craving fresh fruits in this cold and rainy spring.
Paul with cabbage and cilantro - 4/21/11

The chicken curry soup/stew:  while Paul and Richard were dicing and slicing onions, carrots, garlic, cabbage, potatoes, turnips and cilantro Lynnda and I threw a 2lb bag of brown rice into a boiling water and let it cook for about 15-20  minutes before we started to add the other veggies; we also raided the freezer, which is now overstuffed, and must be emptied before the move on May 15th - we relieved it form a bag of frozen carrots and several bags of broccoli/cauliflower mixes.  When the stew was not far from ready we added a huge pot of chicken in curry sauce which Lynnda precooked at home.  On the end we decided it wasn't curried-out enough, so we threw in about 1/3 of a huge curry container content, some hot pepper flakes, lemon juice and of course what crowns nearly every of our kitchen soup inventions:  natural vitamins in the form of fresh garlic and 2 bunches of chopped cilantro + some green  parsley we found in the kitchen wanting to be used.  For the sake of accuracy I should add that for broth we used chicken and beef bouillon cubes + powder of several Knorr onion soups, but you can simply use salt.

Homeless in Seattle:  Here is a link to Seattle Community Network webpage on Homelessness: it contains various info and resources for the people who might find themselves homeless on the streets of Seattle - I should show it to Julie and ask her if perhaps we could review all those links (I found some of them broken and outdated) perhaps Nickelsville already has a better list?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

News from T.J. and Julie + Monday usual

• Nickelsville is  MOVING & YOUR HELP IS NEEDED!!! - please, read the bar on the right.

T.J. in Nickelsville's kitchen - 4/18/11
Monday a week ago I added some (about to go bad if not used) mushrooms into the soup and asked Tracy to alert T.J. not to eat it, since she is highly allergic to mushrooms.  Tracy responded   that T.J. is very sick, 'on a bed-rest, not eating anything, too weak to eat or even walk'. The following Thursday I saw T.J. walking around the fire-station with a puppy in her  hands - she said she is slowly starting to feel better, but only last Monday I saw her feeling well enough to participate in Nickelsville's life again - she came to the kitchen and did the stack of dishes.  Over a week ago, when  her condition was the worst she went to hospital to get some help, but the hospital refused to admit her, claiming  that her awful condition requires longer care, therefore she is not an ER candidate.

T.J. might have had a mini-stroke, or temporarily collapsed lung  (she said it happened to her before), but our 'best in the world' medical care had no place for her in the system and turned her away because she is uninsured and requires longer  treatment than emergency solution (I personally saw this great logic employed many times when my uninsured son was refused medical care while suffering attacks of chronic illness - the reason I'm mentioning this is to highlight the fact that it is 'normal'  in our world of for-profit healthcare - according to government statistics 40 thousands people die in America each year due to lack of access to medical care + think about those countless that our government didn't track).  Will picked T.J. at the hospital waiting room, and cared for her with other friends in Nickelsville: he stayed by her bed at night watching over her, and over the course of several days slowly put some fluids in her and fed her with chicken soup he bought for her, and when she finally regained a bit of strenght he  helped her to get up and walk again.  T.J.  told me how grateful she is to Will and her Nickelsville family for being there for her when she needed their support - I'm honored to put it on the record here.  Some day I should find out and  post more about how Nickelsville residents cope with medical issues...

Also, update on Julie, the former paralegal - a good update, too boot: Julie became a step-mother or an auntie for 4 adorable puppies when her friend (a dog-breeder) suddenly became homeless - the experience was therapeutic, because in puppies' company she found out she can be alone again as a human (Julie is recovering from a bad relationship, effects of which sent her into being homeless).  Julie also found her calling: advocating for the homeless - her skills already made her one of the arbitrators on the site and as self-proclaimed workaholic Julie gets involved in many administrative duties as well.  She thinks those new activities + first hand knowledge of the issues facing people that are homeless + passion  for the subject could lead to paying job in the field and to being self-supporting again.  May those wishes come true for Julie very soon;  she quipped that her new field of expertise will definitely be more joyous and good for her heart than being paralegal:)...

Mike and Richard are the new kitchen coordinators and Richard helped with chopping veggies for soup, as always, and so did Ramone and  Jeff, who chopped fast and fine but left to see a friend before the soup was ready (I think Jeff is new at Nickelsville or perhaps he is just never around during soup-time).  For the last two weeks in order to continue the 'Monday usual' tradition I started to bring peanut butter along with the veggies,  because we finally depleted Nickelsville's seemingly vast supplies of it and apparently, some people were not too happy about it:  2 people recently stopped by the kitchen to ask similar question: 'So, what goes into peanut soup?  you just open a jar of peanut butter and it goes in?'  Yep.  They both walked out without continuing the conversation, perhaps preferring jars of peanut butter over peanut soup...

Monday, April 18, 2011

Thursday: Lynnda's Tex-Mex chicken soup

• Nickelsville is  MOVING & YOUR HELP IS NEEDED!!! - please, read the bar on the right.

• Lynnda got sick with that nasty bug going around, but she still pre-cooked the chicken in the broth, soaked 3 lbs of beans overnight and delivered it all to Nickelsville with bunch of red peppers and huge bag of frozen corn + jar of Tex-Mex seasoning and instructions on how to assembly the soup.  She also brought Brooke's cupcakes, which Jeremy promptly hid in the office, so nobody mistook them for appetizers :)...

Glen the poet shredded the chicken which we added to beans cooking with onion and carrots. Richard and Nam were chopping veggies - Nam not too successfully, as he didn't sort out bad veggies from good ones in donated bags that were lying around for a few days; my assumption that everyone is good in the kitchen turned out wrong - Nam said (afterwords) that he is 'lousy' at kitchen tasks as I took his bowl of chopped veggies to the compost bin:(..  We added a package of broken into small pieces linguini pasta for volume, found some frozen veggies, then threw in chopped fresh peppers and a bag of corn.  Tex-Mex seasoning and a head of chopped fresh garlic (Richard's steady job) was just what the soup needed for finish - wonderful smell had people commenting well before we were done cooking. Along with the first bowls ladled out, Jeremy assembled Brooke's cupcakes on a big tray - THANKS, BROOKE!

•  The date for Japanese butoh dance performance has been fixed for Saturday, April 30 at 7 PM. It'll be private event just for Nickelsville residents, titled: IMPRINTS, collective and individual images and stories of our lives we share with our bodies in motion.  THANK YOU ALL SIX DANCERS, and especially Will, who created this beautiful poster for the occasion (click on the pic to enlarge):

•  Mental chew for today:
Tent Cities in America - compilation of links, videos, articles about homelessness from Squidoo - a popular publishing platform and community that makes it easy for you to create "lenses" online. Lenses are pages, kind of like flyers or signposts or overview articles, that gather everything you know about your topic of interest--and snap it all into focus. This one is about homelessness:

This is the most desperate our citizens have been since the great depression. Tent cities are springing up everywhere.  People are simply not able to support themselves right now.  What are we doing about it?
I am seeing a lot of blame, but is that really helping? Do we really think it is helping these people to make it a poltical issue?
It is a humanitarian issue.
Let's get down there and help our neighbors, folks.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Check out music from Glen Still - Spoken Word

Glen did email me his poems, his photo and his bio - all below.  He also sent a link to his website which contains awesome songs for a free download (sample above).

"I infiltrated the homeless [part one]"

I got my orders in the spring of 2008
But before that date
I was going through every intel scenario
That you could throw down my throat

I stepped outside my porch
Looked up and down the block
Saw the U-Hauls drive off
Towards something desperate
Telling the kids in the backseat
To just hang on
Ma’ doing her best to convince the family
That it would be alright

Me, myself and I were preparing for a mission
I was a bit skeptical
About how it would all fold out
Knowing that I would love my dogs
Until they were gone
Knowing that they would never last
As far as I had to go

One got contagious to the China strain of poison
I watched her die everyday
Skinning out into bones
With me there
Nothing I could do to save her
I just bit my lip
Wanted Wal-Mart to fold into ashes
If I ever thought of planting a bomb
I did then
But I never did

She died on a stainless steel table
At a Veterinarian
That took her in without charge
Administered that sweet syringe
That took the last of her life
Before she left
She looked up at me and smiled
I said it then and I meant it
"I'll see you on other side"
And somehow - I know I will

The only other life that I knew as home
Died in my arms
On a dark dark road along a river
Somewhere south of the city lights
Of Ashville North Carolina
I was holding her leash
As the first car propelled her into the air
The tug at my hand
Told me instantly that she would be dead
When I covered the few footsteps
Just to get her into my lap

She died there
Me crying like I’ve never cried before

When she died
I knew then and there
I had infiltrated the homeless

Glen Still [The Seattle Sessions - 4.3.2011]

"What It’s like to be on Welfare"

First and foremost
I’m protected
Not like you
On the street
Trying to forget the way it use to be
I'm stable
With 100 plus billion dollars
Coming down the pipe
Into my coffer

I got a lobby
While you wait in the lobby at DHS
I just whisper and suggest
And what I want
Reveals itself
If I want land
I got a politician
That will reach out and grab it
Build a factory for me
No dues paid...
Just payoffs

If I want cheap labor
I got so much in foreign countries
Little girls and boys underage
Barely able to lift this capitalist bag
Upon their shoulders
But they never falter
‘cause I got the prime minister
And dictators in  just about every country
Paid off and delivered
Until they figure out
They could pull on the chain
But then I send in the Military
I can never allow that!

Like Noregia and Qaddafi
And all the others that have been like Blackwater
They storm troops
Into slave factories
A phone call from me

-Kill every mother fucker
That thinks about forming a labor union-

Need I say more?

(Wal-Mart - Your Fiend-ly Neighborhood Store
Neal Stephenson was right
Look into Corporate Sub-Division ruling over the world)

So baby,  this is corporate welfare
All the subsidies
All the rivers that were once clean
All the air that we can’t breathe
All the seas polluted
All the dying of nature
Everything I put my hand to
And i don't respect it
I'm a capitalist
A welfare client
A contingency
Under Cover

Because I’m a lazy fuck
And my goal is to make you want to work
For just about nothing
To lift that heavy load
While I demand that you pay
Into that 410K
That won’t mean shit when you need it
Because I’ve got politicians
That will allow me to fold it up
Just when you really thought
I’d pay you back
For that 20 or 30 years of indentured servitude

You serve the corporate welfare system like a
Stupid mother fucker
Like a sheep don’t keep up on the details
Like an uneducated imbecile
Like the slave that we expect you to be

Now here’s a lesson...

Never expect a handout
Unless of course you sit on a corporate board
Wear a $5000 suit
We ain’t like you

We're a class above you...

And we're always figuring out ways
For you to give us more
Of your fucking money!

Glen Still [The Seattle Sessions April 4, 2011]

Glen Still, who originally came out of the Southern California area, is a spoken word artist and poet in the true sense of the word.  His commitment to the arts has taken him around the country mesmerizing his readers with the clear and dead on observations of an artist at the top of his game.

Glen’s creativity is not exclusive to his own work; he is also one of
the original founders of 10K Poets Zine, a group of artists dedicated to spreading the word and sharing unique, eye opening views that annihilate the stagnate, tried and true visions the average person has become stymied under. In addition, Glen has blazed a new trail with such work as, “A True Liberator”, “I Have Found” and “She’s My Religion”. His body of work breaks through the boundaries too often seen in the world of writing.

When Glen Still is not writing or performing his own work, he uses his time motivating and supporting the typically struggling artist and creating venues and avenues that allow them to get their work out into an often difficult and brutal arena, making him not just a great artist, but a humanitarian as well in a world lacking humane traits.

For more on Glen Still, visit his website at: or add him on Facebook at

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

About Garrett + Monday usual

Monday usual being West African peanut soup - everybody seems to remember by now what Monday usual is and it is expected like Wendy's weekday special, and that is a good thing, I hope. No problem finding helpers, either, although a gripping film-drama played in TV room had Ramone too transfixed to chop, so I had to nudge him every so often. Richard and Taco smartly left the TV room to chop without visual  distractions: Richard in his usual zen-meditative way till he is done (he has a way of timing it with when it's needed to finish the soup), and Taco in a fast and furious manner: 'and what's next?'  Turns out Taco worked in restaurants and has speed-chopping in his blood.

Over a bowl of finished soup I met Glen Still, a spoken word artist, a poet and a musician  originally from California, currently working on a book about homelessness.  Glen noted that the last blog post included poetry and shared some of his very interesting own; he promised to email me a few of his poems, so hopefully the next blog post will be featuring his work.

After soup and with my laptop in hand I started to look for Garrett to write down his story.  Garrett lead me to a cozy back room,  equipped with a beautiful bright red sofa and hopefully, said Garrett,  WiFI as well (connection rather spotty in the building).  Surely enough my laptop registered 'Home' network, which Garrett said I could join without special password.  Now we were in business:  here is Garrett, in his own words:

• Garrett – Nickelsville resident

I was a computer network engineer for 18 + years, also independent consultant, once earning $100/hr

Garrett in front of Nickelsville's entrance
When the economy dropped from underneath me, all the contracts that were plentiful at one time, dried up. To make a long story short, I lost my wife, my home, my dog and cat, and now I’m here.  I would encourage everybody reading this to donate to this worthy cause.  

When I was employed and still a network engineer, I used to watch on the news the tent cities; I used to tell my wife that I want to buy a trailer, and I wanted  to configure that trailer with wind generators and solar panels and battery back up.  

I wanted to pull that trailer behind my jeep and take it to the various tent city sites, to supply both free energy and WiFi Internet access to the individuals in those tent cities. 

That was my dream.  Then I lost my income, but it is still my dream, because I have not given up. I’m determined to give something back to society because much has been given to me.

Now the journey begins.  Getting back on my feet, reestablishing myself, being an example and making a positive change, that is what I encourage everyone to do.   God bless…

Garrett was born in Tampa, Florida, and grew up in Compton, CA. While 5 years in the Navy he traveled to Japan, China, Diego Garcia Thailand and various other countries.  After an honorable discharge from Navy he traveled a couple of years around Brazil from Rio to Salvador Bahia, to learn the culture and the language.  After returning to US, Garrett eventually settled in Seattle, where he met his wife – he has been a Seattle resident for 15 years.  The distress started 2 years ago, and about a year ago it affected his marriage…  After his marriage broke down Garret lived downstairs (garage level), while his wife occupied the main part of their house. The couple was unable to meet mortgage obligations, and Garrett left so his wife could rent downstairs and be able to pay the mortgage….

•  And here is voice of a fourteen year old Troye Sivan (hails from South Africa, but calls Perth, Australia his home), who shares Garrett's dream of helping the homeless:

Troye Sivan’s first original song, For Them, focuses on a very urgent issue: the homeless children around the world. Written specially for Troye by British songwriter Anthony Johnson, it has powerful lyrics and bring us an extremely important message...  More at Troye's website (click here).

•  About the new sponsor of Nickelsville: it's JAZZ WITH JUSTICE:  a progressive organization of legal professionals without a website, Peggy and Scott said, hm.  Googling it seems to suggest that it's a national movement of lawyers with conscience - I found JAZZ 4 JUSTICE, and several similar names tied to bar associations around the country - looks like grass root, not a top-down type of organization.  Thanks whoever you are!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Thursday: Cookies, lazanki and poetry

T.J is back - a couple of weeks in Montana was enough for her to decide she didn't fit there:  seems a bit too far from civilization for her liking.  What about your boyfriend?  'He is not my boyfriend, although he likes to say that he is; he likes it in Montana, so I helped him to pay for necessities and came back here'.

Thursdays in Nickelsville:  Lynnda bakes cookies or brings Brooke's cupcakes since she started coming over a month ago - by now that feature also must feel like 'Thursday usual'; last thursday delicious chocolate cookies.  I keep wondering if making things 'usual' is bringing comfort or discomfort if one is homeless; there is certainly some level of comfort when we create routines or traditions, as there is a comfort of things repeating themselves in the ever changing storms of life.  But if you move often like Nickelsville does, or if you are there only a few weeks like some do, is 'usual' maybe just a burden if so fleeting?  I mean, perhaps it is better not to expect routines than later miss them?  I guess I should ask people of Nickelsville what they think about it. (Note to self: also ask about who the new sponsor is).

Lazanki with cabbage and sauerkraut
Lynnda now plans Thursday meals, but was out of town to plan ahead, so we turned to an easy comfort food, lazanki - a recipe I brought along from my old country.  It's a close cousin of lasagna, but more-leftover based and not requiring special type of pasta; basically it's just any short pasta mixed with onion, cabbage and sauerkraut, everything else added is optional -  tomatoes, cold cuts, sausage, etc.   When we were  looking for kitchen assistants in the nearby TV room, one man (he and I never met) turned directly to me, smiled and  said:  'I want to chop for you';  Ramon's simple statement  had such a comical effect (obviously intended) that everyone burst out laughing and in no time we had a small army of chefs slicing and knifing fast and furiously.

While noodles were cooking in one pot, we fried onions and sausage in a small amount of oil in another pot, then added some water and two chopped heads of cabbage + some extra veggies we found lying around; when this was cooked (10-15 minutes) we added industrial size (5lbs) can of diced tomatoes, then same size can of sauerkraut, salt and hot pepper flakes and cooked some more.   Jarvis offered his help with just perfect timing:  combining the content of two big pots was a big man's job, and so was the job of mixing it.  Well, even Jarvis couldn't do the mixing because by now the restaurant size spoon was too short to reach the bottom of the huge vat the noodle dish was in.   So Jarvis divided the noodles again between the two pots, mixed them separately and again combined.  As if on cue Richard showed up with  his expertly fine-chopped 2 heads of garlic;  we turned the stove off and added it, along with chopped parsley and cilantro (not needed, but a nice vitamin injection to go with any meal).

Dana, a new kitchen manager, had a huge apple cobbler (made from scratch!) in the oven when we arrived - it was done and cooled by the time lazanki were ready and she was serving it with ice-cream for a dessert;  it was scrumptious.

Garret with a bowl of lazanki
Before leaving I asked if anyone feels brave enough to have their picture taken for the blog - that is how Garret and I met; Garret said he doesn't mind sharing his story either, because anyone can become homeless anytime and knowing something about it beforehand  might come helpful.  He also added that that if we humans keep on the direction we are going, pretty soon Nickelsville's experience will be sough after type of organizational knowledge and skill (paraphrasing here, didn't record or wrote down his exact words). Garret said he is a network engineer, and interested in collaboration on this blog!  So next time my laptop goes to Nickelsville along with the soup ingredients.

Seattle has one of the best in the country homeless people's paper called Real Change -  it offers an interesting mix of local and international politics, cop-beat regarding homeless people, philosophy and even poetry - my personal favorite to start the reading with.  Below is what I just grabbed from their on-line edition - I do not know who Mac Crary is, but I like his the images he creates a lot (google turned up a vet with disability, originally from Pittsburgh,  a poet who currently lives in Seattle, not sure if the same person):

Poem: My Girlfriend

Jun 23, 2010, Vol: 17, No: 26

Tennis shoes suspended in space
dangling from telephone wires
absolutely delighted deaf Jeannie.

It was as if some perfect stranger
had sent her an extra-terrestrial postcard
and she had fallen immediately in love.
I, her boyfriend, was put aside
to her rapture.
Try though I would, I could never make her laugh that way.

As we walked down the north side of the riverside
Ray said to me behind her back in sign language,
“She’s beautiful!”
Coming from Ray that really meant something.

—Mac Crary

If you read that far, here is your dessert (4/12 is 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's  flight into the outer space):

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Monday Usual: what is usual in temporary state?

Pam, Richard and Jimbo chopped the veggies and quite a few people stopped to ask 'what's the soup today?'  Oh, Monday usual.  Many smiled back: 'ah, peanut soup'... It made me think how in a short space of several months of Nickelsville's time at  the fire stations something became 'usual', and how temporary that 'usual' Monday comfort food is to be, in the light of the upcoming move May 15th.  Nickelsville  will probably move away from my neighborhood, my involvement will end, and so will the Monday 'usual'.

I was probably not the only one thinking about it, because when John mentioned that he has a source for inexpensive sea food, and I asked if he could access it fairly soon (repeat of shrimp linguini?) so we can cook it while still having a real kitchen, Tracy nodded in agreement...  There might be no kitchen when the camp moves.  Again.  Look below for NPR story about Nickelsvile - it mentions that the camp moved 17 times already.

Joan Laage stopped by Nickelsville to address the upcoming butoh dance performance; Nate gave her a tour and they discussed organizational details.  Nate will be talking to Scott about securing a date and get back to Joan on this.

Scott's weekly letter to supporters is almost all about moving preparations:

Greeting from Nickelsville!
It has been another busy week for us and we are still working non-stop to find a permanent site. Our efforts include:
    A meeting with Councilperson Nick Licata and a strong contingent from last falls "Mayors Encampment Panel.'
   A tour and chat with Councilperson Tim Burgess.   He reported that Lake City Community and Business Leaders both had positive reviews of Nickelsville.
   An evening community meeting with Deputy Mayor Daryl Smith, where the future need for an interim survival mechanism for the Lake City community was expressed by Share/Wheel, the Mennonite Church, Local Homeless Advocates, and ourselves.  (Also mentioned was that Nickelsville is moving on May 15th, with thanks.)  Deputy Smith was encouraging, articulate and optimistic.  He said that a lot of things were still on the table to be worked out.
   An important discussion, with the Leadership Team at El Centro De La Raza, was held to plan for the future. Once we have a workable Request for Investment Proposal for the Sunny Jim site, the dialogue
will continue to create a partnership for the betterment of all.
   A meeting with a sub-committe of the Lake City Taskforce to End Homelessness. Many different ideas are still under consideration, but we all agreed upon the great need for Old Firestation 39 to continue to be open for the homeless community (with new management) after May15th.
    We were invited to a Persian New Year Celebration sponsored by a UW student that featured. phenomenal traditional dancers to say the least.

There will be many events during our last week at Nickelsville - get
them down in your calendar now!:

Sunday the 8th will be our last Mandatory Meeting and Tent Clean Up day.  Monday the 9th is Red Beans and Rice Day, followed by our last day of rest on Tuesday.  Wednesday the 11th, as always, is the Central Committee.  Thursday the 12th will be Music night, with surprise guests and chili-dogs.  On Friday the 13th the Nickelodeons will challenge bad luck with the Black Cat Caravan which will proceed from Nickelsville to City Hall in the mid afternoon.  There our elected officials will be reminded that Sunday is move day.

Saturday will be de-crudification day at the Old Firehouse.  Your participation in moving excess belongings to the dump will be greatly appreciated.  We want to leave the Old Firehouse in as good of shape as when we came!  The Nickelsville Pets will be sent to volunteer Pet Farms for the reminder of the weekend, in preperation for the move.

Sunday will not be a day of rest, but it will be a day of worship at the Old Firehouse.  Final packing will finish in the morning.  At 3 PM we hope the Religious Community will join us in worship, and at 5 PM
the trucks, cars, and other vehicles will head out to the permanent site.
You are needed - so we hope you'll be there with us!

CAUTION - Keep your ears open and your eyes peeled.  Times may change with short notice!
PS:  Our current needs include 33 gallon garbage bags, twine, permanent markers, duct tape, nails, and toilet paper.

Here is a NPR story on Nickelsville which KUOW run on February 11, 2011:

Homeless Camp Puts Down Roots With Seattle's OK
In July 2009, Ion Gardescu lifts up his tent to shake debris out as he breaks camp at Nickelsville.             Ted S. Warren/AP

A lot of cities view homeless encampments like weeds that have sprung up in the civic garden. Sacramento and Fort Worth, for example, have shut them down. Seattle, though, is taking a different approach: It wants a city-run camp on city-owned property. But some locals are criticizing the project for being at odds with the city's own plan to end homelessness.

'There Needs To Be A Place For Them'
Seattle's camp is dubbed Nickelsville — as a jab at the city's former mayor Greg Nickels, who tried to shut it down. The camp came together about three years ago and has moved 17 times since then.
On a recent Sunday night, Nickelsville was full to capacity. About 100 of Seattle's more than 8,000 homeless people live there. For now, it's set up at an old firehouse in the city's north end, next to a stretch of strip malls. The parking lot is packed with tents.

Around 6 p.m., people start to wander inside. "Nickelsville does take pets and children," says Peggy Hotes, one of the camp's organizers. "I think we have around nine dogs and eight cats."
The rest of the story is here (text and audio)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Thursday: Chicken Corn Chowder and more Brooke's cupcakes

Lynnda decided to start the soup on time while I was detained by my dentist; by the time I got to Nickelsville she had the chicken sautéed,  bacon fried and now combined with onion, carrots and potatoes in the pot half full of water and she was trying to will it to boil (industrial size pot on the home type of range - that's never going fast);  Tracy was working on a head of garlic.  We looked what else is going to the pot and decided to bring the soup volume up by throwing about half of the package of broken into small pieces spaghetti noodles.
Brooke's cupcakes arrive

When everything was about getting almost soft we added lots of whole and some smashed in the blender  corn, a can of smashed chipotle peppers in adobo sauce for a kick, and little by little the creamy part:  milk, cream, shredded cheddar cheese and on the very end a box of instant potatoes. Garnished with chopped garlic and big bunch of Italian parsley - the best corn chowder I ever had.

Jeremy transfers cupcakes
onto big tray
Over the soup and Brook's cupcakes had a chance to catch up with Joanna, who was hoping to pass the post office exam for a job there, but now says that the post office is laying off its employees, so she is likely stuck with her job at Jack-in-the-Box for a while longer.  Her daughter LeeAnn was also eating at the table, so I asked how she is getting along with the 2 new boys;  Joanna told me that now there is 6 children in Nickelsville, so LeAnn can now play with the girls only, 'no boys':).

While monkeying around with camera I checked with  Jarvis what is ok to post about him on a public blog:  'that you are waiting for ankle surgery, and when this is done and healed you want to start trucking school and then trucking job, and everything will be all right for you then'.  'Yes', he smiled, 'if life would be only THAT simple, but as a matter of fact I can check on the school next week and will, because I can start the school before surgery'.

Lynnda and Jarvis
John of China was laid up with some stomach bug for a few days, but better now.   While we were eating Tracy came from the food bank a few blocks up, carrying a load of donations; she looked pale and nearly dropped her box - turned out her asthma caught up with her  and no inhaler in her pocket.  When she put the box on the table she produced a happy smile while showing a big block of cheese - a rarity in Nickelsville.  Both Andrea and Jeremy visited (they live in the tent outside, not the communal structure of the fire station) with the rest of us for a meal.
Here is a fragment of the  article 'Why are People Homeless':

Why Are People Homeless?
Published by the National Coalition for the Homeless, July 2009

Two trends are largely responsible for the rise in homelessness over the past 20-25 years: a growing shortage of affordable rental housing and a simultaneous increase in poverty. Below is an overview of current poverty and housing statistics, as well as additional factors contributing to homelessness. A list of resources for further study is also provided. 

Recently, foreclosures have increased the number of people who experience homelessness. The National Coalition for the Homeless released an entire report discussing the relationship between foreclosure and homelessness. The report found that there was a 32% jump in the number of foreclosures between April 2008 and April 2009. Since the start of the recession, six million jobs have been lost. In May 2009, the official unemployment rate was 9.4%. The National Low Income Housing Coalition estimates that 40 percent of families facing eviction due to foreclosure are renters and 7 million households living on very low incomes (31 - 50 percent of Area Median Income) are at risk of foreclosure.

Homelessness and poverty are inextricably linked. Poor people are frequently unable to pay for housing, food, childcare, health care, and education. Difficult choices must be made when limited resources cover only some of these necessities. Often it is housing, which absorbs a high proportion of income that must be dropped. If you are poor, you are essentially an illness, an accident, or a paycheck away from living on the streets.

Homelessness results from a complex set of circumstances that require people to choose between food, shelter, and other basic needs. Only a concerted effort to ensure jobs that pay a living wage, adequate support for those who cannot work, affordable housing, and access to health care will bring an end to homelessness. 

The rest of the article here....