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Tent City warmed by support from Sammamish community
"Thank God we are moving out of Tukwila! The last months have been a challenge with torrential rains, freezes, and the occasional rat seeking warmth in my tent, or worse yet, my sleeping bag.
Tomorrow we move the Saint Mark's Cathedral on Capital Hill. The move will allow us to grow back to our usual population of around a hundred needy souls.
Moving to the Cathedral will be like staying at the Pierre, the Plaza, the Mark Hopkins, or, many other five star hotels I frequented before life delivered me to the comforts of sleeping on a shipping pallet.
My story is not unique... What I want to share in the loneliness and sense of being disconnected from meaningful rapport with anyone..."
So wrote Atreus, a homeless man from Seattle who's thoughts, notes and musings eventually became "View from the Tent," a book unique in its projection of what life is like for the thousands of Washingtonians who live on the streets, sheltered only by the charity of others.
Over the past few months the people of Issaquah and Sammamish have demonstrated a tremendous empathy for the homeless men and women of Tent City 4, the temporary encampment which set up on the grounds of the Community Church of Issaquah in January. The Issaquah and Sammamish Interfaith Coalition, the volunteer team which organized Tent City's stay, were overwhelmed by the local support - donations of food, clothing and domestic supplies, but also the eagerness to engage with the residents, to do what they could to improve conditions at Tent City and make that light at the end of the tunnel a little bigger. Jobs were found, doctors and dentists did free checkups, a computer facility complete with internet access was built - just some of the many great things that the people of Issaquah and Sammamish were able to do for the 100 men and women who called the church parking lot their home for the past three months. From church groups to girl scouts, families, friends, sporting teams, work groups.. the list of people who gave their time and resources so generously is very long.
And so with the end of their stay looming, the Tent City organizing committee wants to say thank you.
At the Mary, Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Sammamish on Saturday, April 17, the Issaquah and Sammamish Interfaith Coalition will host a special event featuring a dramatic reading of "View from a Tent" by actor Dan Niven.
The evening will be a tribute to those who reached out to Tent City this year, as well as the perfect introduction to homeless issues for those who might be new to them. Niven's monologue is stirring stuff - prepare to be moved. Doors open at 7 p.m.
The event will also raise much-needed funds to purchase bus tickets for Tent City residents, an item crucial to their ability to find and hold down employment, and keep appointments all over the region from the moving base that is Tent City.
Tickets for the evening are $10 for adults, $5 for students and seniors, and available at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/106413.
Tickets will also be available at the door.
Light refreshments to be served.
"These musings come from a man who was crushed by violence and loss," View from a Tent author M. Barrett Miller wrote.
The people of Issaquah and Sammamish may never fully understand their contribution to easing some of this pain for the homeless they have housed these past three months. But the gains are real, and will be continue to be felt very strongly long after Tent City leaves Issaquah for Kirkland later this month.