Tacoma’s Hilltop is not an affluent neighborhood. The residents struggle even if they have their own home. Sometimes furniture is abandoned and then just left for the elements to wear it down.
On the 28th of September I took photographs for St Vinnie’s fundraiser to fight homelessness. People raised money to help the fight. The event took place in Tacoma’s Wright park, just blocks away from Hilltop. I saw three tents at the park and I am guessing they were owned and lived in by homeless people. The areas around the tents were clean. Actually, they had beautiful views of the park and the fountains. I am almost jealous . . . almost. It was rainy and cool on the 28th, but nowhere like this last week here in October.
I heard the news about the police raid. It sure seemed like a raid without warning. I had seen the tents and shelters the week before when I had a coffee meeting with a friend at The Red Elm on MLK. I had intended to return and take photos of the block of tents.
I have long heard of the problem of the homeless tents. The people and their tents were run out of People’s Park and they came back, then they were run out again to South J. And now they are back at People’s Park.
This is not a Tacoma problem. The same thing is happening in Portland, Oregon. City Commissioner hopeful Jack Kerfoot is looking for solutions there. I take the Seattle Times and the Tacoma News Tribune morning papers, so I know that our neighbor to the north has the same concerns. If homelessness and tent cities are happening here in Seattle, Tacoma, and Portland, then I’ve got a pretty good guess that this is happening elsewhere in America. We should be able to figure out how to overcome the situation without raids and dismantling. This is a growing problem.
I don’t know how many people are camping at People’s Park. In the cold and wet days of October it looks like people must be gathered inside their portable homes to keep warm and dry. So, the problem was not corrected or erased by adding misery to the homelessness. Surely, we can find a solution that doesn’t involve more pain and anguish.