City OKs permit before Tent City 4 returns to Issaquah church

October 7, 2011

NEW — 6 a.m. Oct. 7, 2011

Tent City 4, a camp for up to 100 homeless people, is poised to return to a local church Oct. 21, after the city issued a permit for the encampment Tuesday.

The encampment is due to remain in the Community Church of Issaquah parking lot from late October until Jan. 21. Tent City 4 remains in a place for 90 days, and then residents pack up and relocate to another Eastside church.

Organizers need donations and volunteers to help relocate the encampment from a Bellevue synagogue to Issaquah.

Community Church of Issaquah is along Mountain Park Boulevard Southwest, about a half-mile up the Squak Mountain slope from the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery.

Tent City 4 operates under a strict set of rules outlining residents’ conduct.

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Tent City 4 to return to Issaquah church in October

June 21, 2011

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.

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Monologue offers ‘View from the Tent’

April 13, 2010

Before Tent City 4 departs from Issaquah, supporters of the homeless camp will pull back the flap and offer a perspective from inside the tent.

“View from the Tent” — a dramatic monologue based on letters from a homeless man — will anchor a benefit April 17 for the homeless encampment. Tent City 4 residents will answer questions from the audience after the performance.

Author M. Barrett Miller compiled letters from a homeless man, identified as Atreus, into a self-published book, “View from the Tent: Thoughts from a Homeless Man.” Dan Niven, a Seattle actor and musician, chanced upon the book as he browsed the shop at St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral in Seattle last year.

Miller co-founded a Seattle nonprofit organization, Let Kids Be Kids, dedicated to helping children participate in efforts to aid the homeless and people afflicted with HIV/AIDS. The experience led Miller to homeless camps throughout Seattle.

Once, Atreus handed Miller a letter. The notes continued on subsequent visits. The writer documented the people he met, and their stories, too.

“Overall, the stories are very hopeful. They’re very courageous,” Miller said.

The idea for a performance based on the experiences of a homeless man in Seattle germinated at a Starbucks. The coffee giant serves as the setting for a key scene in the book, as Atreus writes in a letter later used in the tome. Read more

Faith to succeed

March 30, 2010

Former Tent City 4 residents credit church for success

Dave Hansen (left) and his wife Stephanie recount how their 2007 stay in Tent City 4 and help from Community Church of Issaquah led to full-time jobs, housing and being able to regain custody of her son Joshua Byle, 14 (right), from foster care. — By Greg Farrar

The last time Tent City 4 settled in the Community Church of Issaquah parking lot, Stephanie and Dave Hansen lived in a nylon tent and shared camp duties with other residents, hauling blankets and serving on the leadership team. Like other residents of the homeless encampment, the Hansens traveled from the grounds of church to church as the encampment wended across the Eastside.

For the Hansens, however, the trip to Issaquah proved different. Interactions with church members helped the Hansens lay the groundwork for a transition back to full-time employment and housing. By the time Tent City 4 left Issaquah in November 2007, Stephanie Hansen had joined Community Church and befriended fellow parishioners. Meanwhile, the church hired Dave to work as a custodian.

“I, personally, had probably been to over 20 churches and never found a church that I liked that accepted me for who I was and didn’t try to change me,” Stephanie Hansen said. “These guys did that. They knew I was homeless from the beginning, because they saw me over at Tent City. Dave, too. And they didn’t judge us. We are who we are and they accept us.”

The encampment returned to the church grounds in January. The arrival brought back memories for the Hansens, who spent three months living in the same spot. The family credits Community Church for the turnaround. Read more