Post navigation

Prev: (09/02/13) | Next: (09/03/13)

Two Nickelsville camps settle in the Central District

A resident checks out the Jackson site (Image: Nickelsville Works)

A resident checks out the Jackson site (Image: Nickelsville Works)

With Labor Day weekend came the deadline for Seattle’s “Nickelsville” to move from its longtime Marginal Way encampment. The solution is to split the camp and its more than 100 residents into sites across the city — two are in the Central District.

This weekend, crews set up new camps at two CD locations: South Jackson at 20th and the empty lot owned by Good Shepherd Church, on 22nd and Union. Residents near the area were informed of the incoming campers in recent weeks. The West Seattle Blog covered the main camp’s big moving day. In June, the Seattle City Council approved funds to help “transition” campers off of the city-owned lot the group had called home.

While the immediate knee-jerk reaction to living near a homeless encampment is likely not a positive one for many residents, the camps are a regular part of the environments around local church properties including seasonal camps at St. Mark’s and St. Joseph’s on Capitol Hill. Residents must abide by a code of conduct which includes a ban on alcohol and drugs, weapons and abusive behavior. We’ll continue to watch how these more-permanently planned encampments fit into the Central District.

If you’d like to help, check out Nickelsville Works on Facebook.


Subscribe and support CHS Contributors -- $1/$5/$10 per month

11 thoughts on “Two Nickelsville camps settle in the Central District

  1. Thank you Good Shepherd Church! I’m thankful that you have the space to invite these families into our neighborhood. Let’s all welcome them and treat them with kindness as they (once again) re-settle themselves and get on with their lives.

  2. I live a block from one of these sites and I was not notified that it was happening. Was this notification made through a mailer?

  3. In my opinion, the city’s emphasis on getting these folks into more long-term, permanent housing is the best approach, both for them and for the neighborhoods. For this to be successful, such housing needs to allow for children, pets, and couples as well as singles.

    Are these three new camps intended to be permanent? If so, what is the difference between them and the now-abandoned Nickelsville?

    • If you read the comments over on the CD News’ August 30th coverage or on the West Seattle Blog, you start to get a sense that at least some people suspect the motive behind the camps isn’t to move people to permanent housing. The Seattle Times did a profile in June of SHARE’s Scott Morrow (SHARE is partly taxpayer-funded and maintains the tent cities); some suggest he has a specific anti-housing political agenda but others defend him as a true advocate for the homeless (there’s a follow-up in the Seattle Weekly). There was also division in the advocacy community as to whether the city’s spending $500,000 to resettle the tent cities was wise, or whether those monies would be better spent on finding more permanent housing, etc.

      All that’s to say that your question seems to be one that others are asking, and it seems to be an important debate to have (thoughtfully, and with accurate information). There’s definitely an argument to be made that the Nickelsville residents are in the tent camps because the shelter system is structured in such family/pet unfriendly ways. Apparently the churches that are involved with the new locations intend to directly connect residents with social services; the previous location was more remote, and didn’t have that base of support, so maybe this will be more successful in that way.

  4. It is my understanding that the $500,000 was mainly used to relocate people into permanent housing, not for relocating the tent cities. The City claims that 60 of the 80 Nickelsville residents (many more moved in just prior to the move) have been placed into permanent housing, with one-year leases, and that they are expected to pay part of their rent after the first four months. The Union Gospel Mission is managing this program.

    Yes, shelters are not family/pet friendly….but when people get into permanent housing presumably this can include any spouse/children they have, and perhaps a pet as well.

  5. Pingback: The new Nickelsville: Three camps in the Central District | CHS Capitol Hill Seattle