A Snapshot of Homelessness and Tent Cities


Tent City and the Seattle skyline

The beautiful skylines of our cities stand in stark contrast to an unpleasant and ever-expanding social issue: homelessness. Or as the late comedian George Carlin more accurately observed:

 “It’s not homelessness–it’s houselessness. It’s houses these people need. Home is an abstract idea; it’s a setting, a state of mind. These people need houses. Physical, tangible structures. They need low-cost housing.”

As workers’ wages continue to stagnate, living costs explode across the board, and social safety nets are slashed, an increasing number of people are facing homelessness. Local agencies and governments across the nation struggle to meet the need for emergency shelters, and many of them have turned to tent cities. The Seattle area has multiple tent cities. Some of our tent cities have been studied as model examples by agencies all over Canada and the U.S. While tent cities should serve as a stopgap measure—one tool in the effort…

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