Tent City America: Sacramento, Seattle, Olympia, Nashville, Reno, St. Petersburg, NYC, … where next?

by on April 2, 2009 · 4 comments

in Civil Rights, Economy, Environment, Homelessness, War and Peace

Tent City in Sacramento

As San Diego closes its winter shelter for our local homeless, nation-wide the homeless, joined by the jobless, are erecting tent cities. Among the cities which are grappling with an increasing number of tent city residents are Fresno, Sacramento and Los Angeles in California, New York City, Seattle and Olympia in Washington, and St. Petersburg in Florida.

On Wednesday, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced on Wednesday the transfer of the Sacramento tent city with 125 persons to a nearby fairground.

Sacramento tent city still there – and they don’t want to move.

First there was Oprah. Then the rest. The media siege at Sacramento tent city has now been running for three weeks. Network vans, international press and national newsteams. They are all visiting the wasteland under the power lines next to the Blue Diamond Almond Factory.  [For the remainder of this article, go here.]

In California, the city of Sacramento’s desire to move scores of homeless people out of a tent city is meeting some resistance. [For the remainder of this article, go here.]

Nickelsville: Seattle’s Homeless Name New Tent City After City’s Mayor

An encampment is made up of over a hundred pink tents and is named to protest Seattle Mayor Greg Nickel’s policies around the homeless.  [For remainder of this article, go here.]

Olympia WA – Effort to restrict tent cities sponsored by churches fought

A bill clamping down on local governments’ restrictions on church-run encampments for the homeless could hit a snag in the state Senate, where it received conflicting testimony Friday in a committee hearing.

The measure is sponsored by Democratic Rep. Brendan Williams of Olympia. It comes in response to ordinances that Lacey and east King County cities have adopted to restrict such encampments on church property.

Nashville grapples with tent city and homeless

Nashville, Tennessee has its own problems with tent cities. According to NewsChannel5.com, Nashville has one large tent city south of the downtown area, with at least thirty additional homeless camps scattered throughout the region. There is a concern about this “huge surge in the number of encampments,” and the issue has reached “urgent” proportions. Attributing the rise in homelessness to the faltering economy that brings with it increased foreclosures and job layoffs, city officials are seeking answers – and fast – to their local homeless crisis. [This is part of a larger article,go here for entire post.]

Reno closed one tent city, now faces possibility of another

Homeless people have started camping on the sidewalk outside Reno’s homeless shelter downtown. The crowd on Record Street with their sleeping bags and tarps are here during the day because they’re not allowed to loiter on the grounds around the shelter. The City of Reno cracked down a bit because of feedback from some homeless and volunteers who visit the area. “They felt unsafe because of the sheer number of people that were kind of hanging out.” [For remainder of post, go here.]

The tent city in Fresno has nearly 2,000 in 3 camps

The tent city in Fresno has about 2,000 people spread in three major camps near downtown and two highways. New appointed Fresno homeless prevention and policy manager

Gregory Barfield said the city will conduct surveys in the three camps to find out how many dwellers need services and permanent housing.  See our earlier post on Fresno’s tent city.


According to Michael Stoops, executive director of the National Coalition for the Homeless, majority of the people living in these shanty towns were minimum wage earners whose income used to be provide a roof over their head. Included in the numbers are children of the workers.A report released early this month by the coalition estimated there are 1.5 million homeless children in the U.S. Together with their families 75 percent of the number were concentrated in 11 states during the period 2005 to 2006. The report reckons 2.4 million to 3.5 million Americans will experience becoming homeless at least once a year.

Among the measures that the coalition has proposed to the Obama administration is to set aside $10 billion in the next two years as capital for the National Housing Trust Fund which will rehabilitate or construct 100,000 rental units for the lowest income households. Another is the release of $3.6 billion new Housing Voucher totaling 400,000 over the next 24 months.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar not a redneck in east county April 2, 2009 at 7:22 pm

it’s incredible.
what’s wrong with this country? that its people should have to live in tents and are denied easy access to food? and they’re gonna build houses….. watch them build those houses in cities with the fewest numbers of people eligible to actually live in them.


avatar lane tobias April 2, 2009 at 8:17 pm

with all of this in mind, we have to be as vocal as possible in regard to our own city’s homeless population. San Diego is set to receive something like 17 million dollars for homeless services as part of the stimulus package, and we need to make sure that our double-dippin’ politicians put most if not all of that money directly into housing the homeless – as opposed to administration and other wasteful spending. I plan on drafting a letter to our councilman and mayor in this regard, and will post it on the rag for others to see.

lets make sure this doesn’t happen here. it is my first hand knowledge of the lack of adequate transitional and emergency housing in san diego county that makes me leery of the city’s ability to adequately address the problem.


avatar Molly April 3, 2009 at 8:41 am

I think San Diego already has a homeless tent city – it’s in Mission Valley – along the river. The police raid it ever so often.


avatar DR LARRY MYERS April 16, 2009 at 8:45 am

My play “Car Sleepers & Tent city Folk” will open in NYC in August
It hada reading in Fort Lauderdale with The New South florida Group Theater & will be done in Venice at Martin Griffin’s Venice Canal Cabaret on Pacific


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