The nascent seed for the idea of a day celebrating the work done and yet remaining to be done by tent cities, tent city initiatives, and alternative housing arrangements in the current affordable housing crisis came initially from Tacoma / Pierce County's Coalition of the Homeless and spread from there to the tent cities and initiatives on both coasts of this country and into Canada. We are hoping our friends in the tent villages in the parks around Osaka, Japan, will also join us in celebrating this momentous day.
International Tent City and Housing Alternatives Day will be celebrated in a variety of ways in various participating cities and towns. In Tacoma, WA, a model tent city will be set up in Wright Park as a demonstration of how tent cities operate and there will be speakers on topics ranging from social cleansing and gentrification to alternative building techniques and energy sources. There will be testimonials from those who made the transition from the streets into conventional housing and also a model graveyard honoring and remembering those who didn't and died on Tacoma's streets.
Toronto will be celebrating International Tent City and Housing Alternatives Day by picnicking at Toronto City Hall's Nathan Phillip's Square, where the notorious "Public Camping Ban" has been instituted, scattering a community of 100 unhoused citizens back to scrounging for hidden places to sleep. The Self-Housing Association will be flying balloons in solidarity with our brothers and sisters across the world that have housed by any means available. Support is expected from both Toronto Disaster Relief Committee, Ontario Coalition Against Poverty and other housing supporters in Toronto.
Denver's Tent City Initiative is currently working on its guest list and deciding whom to invite among Colorado's Coalition for the Homeless to a possible barbecue it's planning on the day. Spokane, WA, home of Mayor Jim West, has its own festivities planned for International Tent City and Housing Alternatives Day according to friends of that town's Village of Serene Freedom.
Many organizations are with us on this day of celebration including the National Coalition of the Homeless in Washington, DC; Vancouver, British Columbia's Anti Poverty Coalition; Ontario's Coalition Against Poverty, Toronto Disaster Relief Committee and Self-Housing Association; and Seattle / King County's SHARE/WHEEL; Springfield, MA's A.R.I.S.E. Local organizations include Sisters of the Road, Crossroads Community Organizing Project, and Street Roots.
Come help us celebrate housing by any means available at Dignity Village on May 15th, a day Dignity will lobby to have added to our City and State calendars. For more information about this day, check the Village website http://www.dignityvillage.org. If you'd like to help organize local festivities or have constructive and creative ideas for this first International Tent City and Housing Alternative s Day, kindly phone the offices of Dignity at (503) 493/0740 and ask for Jack or Tim.