Tent City 4 to return to Issaquah church in October

June 21, 2011

By Warren Kagarise

Tent City 4, a tarp-clad encampment for up to 100 homeless people, is due to return to Issaquah in October.

Community Church of Issaquah congregants voted June 19 to allow Tent City 4 to settle on the church’s parking lot, Issaquah Sammamish Interfaith Coalition member Elizabeth Maupin said the day after the decision. Under the arrangement, the church provides space and the Issaquah Sammamish Interfaith Coalition coordinates volunteers and support for Tent City 4.

The camp also settled in the city in August 2007 and January 2010. Tent City 4 remains in a place for 90 days, and then residents pack up and relocate to another Eastside church.

Temple B’nai Torah is due to host Tent City 4 starting July 23. In the meantime, the camp is set up at St. Jude Parish in Redmond. The encampment should arrive in Issaquah by mid-October. Community Church of Issaquah is along Mountain Park Boulevard Southwest, about a half-mile up the Squak Mountain slope from the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery.

Under Tent City rules, residents must be adults. Most residents leave the encampment during the day to work. The community elects a camp executive committee, a group responsible for running day-to-day operations. The campsite features 24-hour security.

Organizers conduct warrant and convicted sex offender checks on people requesting to stay at Tent City 4. The camp bans offenders from the premises, and rules prohibit alcohol, drugs and guns inside the encampment. For rule breakers, banishment is a possible punishment.

Organizers must apply for a city permit in order to host the camp on the church’s parking hot.

The church hosted community meetings to address possible concerns a month before Tent City 4 last settled in Issaquah.

SHARE/WHEEL, a Seattle affordable housing and homeless advocacy group, started Tent City 4 in 2004. The organization operates a similar encampment in Seattle, Tent City 3.

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