Seattle Pacific University to Host City's Largest Homeless Camp | KUOW News and Information

Seattle Pacific University to Host City's Largest Homeless Camp

Dec 4, 2014

Seattle Pacific University will become a home for the homeless this winter. Starting next week, the school is set to host the camp known as Tent City 3. KUOW's John Ryan reports.


It's the city's largest homeless camp, and it's been around for more than a decade. Since October, it's been squatting on a triangle of state-owned grass next to I-5 in Ravenna.

The tent cluster sits in the shadow of the highway and a prominent "Camping Is Prohibited" sign. About 60 men and a dozen women stay here, each tent covered with up to five layers of tarps for insulation.

Protests led city officials to back off their earlier eviction threats, at least temporarily.

Tent City resident Aaron Ervin thanked Mayor Ed Murray for letting them stay long enough to find some new real estate.

Ervin: "He bought us the time to work with SPU to come up with a great time, which is Dec. 13, to move in. So it's working out perfectly."

The tent city had planned to move to SPU, in Seattle's Queen Anne neighborhood, in January.

It's one of four sanctioned homeless camps in Seattle. They typically move every three months to avoid overstaying their welcome with any one church or neighborhood. Tent City 3 resident Roger Franz says there's actually a benefit to all that moving around.

Franz: "It exposes more people to the fact that there are still homeless in Seattle who need shelter -- and to the fact that we're just people. We can talk. We can ride a bike and chew gum at the same time. We're  people."

The tent city will occupy the northeast corner of SPU's main lawn until March.