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Church Parking Lot Homeless Camp

This is a discussion on Church Parking Lot Homeless Camp within the Survival forums, part of the Gunner Forum category; Last night I stayed inside at the church. The parking lot has a homeless camp where people stay in tents. When it drops below freezing ...


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Old 12-26-2015, 08:41 AM   #1
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Church Parking Lot Homeless Camp

Last night I stayed inside at the church. The parking lot has a homeless camp where people stay in tents. When it drops below freezing they allow the people to sleep inside on the floor but need someone to watch over them.

First about the camp. Everyone goes through a background check and anyone convicted of a felony is not allowed in. Someone is always on guard duty and they have a list of people that clean and pick-up trash in common areas. Anyone that is messy is kicked out and they have had to kick a few people out. They have rental outdoor toilets.

Many people in the camp won't sleep inside but like to come in and be able to sit in a chair at a table. I talked to a few for several hours. One guy works as a parking lot attendant but doesn't make enough money to rent an apartment. So he just goes from camp to camp. Camps can not operate in one spot for more than six months so several churches rotate hosting them.

Another guy works construction and has a house and family a couple hundred miles away. He can't afford to pay for two homes so he stays at the shelter. Those not working are assigned jobs picking up trash along highways. Everyone has to work and if they don't have jobs then unpaid jobs are given to them. Anyone that won't work is kicked out.

They have a common kitchen tent and I was amazed at how much food they have. Several restaurants give food they can no longer serve to paying customers. They even have a camp store where other items can be purchased cheap. Things like batteries and blankets.

All this is in contrast to people living under bridges where the camps are garbage dumps. No litter is laying around the church camp although it does look a bit junky. No drugs or alcohol is allowed although they do have a smoking tent.
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Old 12-26-2015, 08:58 AM   #2
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303, let me first thank-you for doing such needed work. I am proud to say I know you. I lived in the Portland, Oregon area for a time and I know very well how many people live under bridges.

I think these are the forgotten people our society. Politicians ignore them because they have no money and very few of them vote. Businesses don't want them around and so on. In some cities, they are treated as criminals, but, fortunately, there are cities and good people like you that do try to kelp.

A good many of these people have health issues, both physical and mental, but they fall through the cracks in the system and rarely get help. We know one such gal, up here. She lives in her car, even in the winter, traveling from city to city, staying overnight in parking lots or campsites. She is paranoid to the point of being delusional and refuses to seek help. We've given her a room in our house, on occasion, along with hot meals, but we wake up the next morning to discover that she is sleeping in her car in our driveway. Some mornings, we find that she drove away in the night. Nor will she visit homeless shelters or camps, convinced that someone is out to get her.

It's heartbreaking, to be sure, but such people are out there. Again, thank-you so much for doing what you can. To me, that is the true meaning of Christmas.

Last edited by north country gal; 12-26-2015 at 09:12 AM.
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Old 12-26-2015, 10:08 AM   #3
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Thanks NCG but I didn't really do anything but talk, sleep and then lockup.

Most of these people are not what you call homeless but rather choose to live like this. They stay in 8x10 foot standup tents. Not sure where they got them but they have a few dozen and they all look the same and have an interior metal frame. You see them in street fairs where vendors sell out of them. The floors are wood pallets which is important because they can be sitting on top of an inch or more of water when it rains. Some just have sleeping pads but a few with jobs have cots.

The shelter is open for public viewing during daylight hours and the occupants must open their tents for viewing. I've seen them when its pouring down rain and there are small rivers running under them and they are all buttoned up. And I've seen them on nicer days when many doors/flaps are open. Some are neat and others are more cluttered but I didn't see more than a days garbage in any tents. Larger lined cans are set at each corner.

Those corners are on streets as they have set them up in rows with backs facing each other. There are "four "blocks" with one intersection and a perimeter of a group kitchen, out houses, warehouses, a heated chat (smoking) tent and other living tents. The main gate faces the parking lot and everyone must come through that gate. The two emergency exit gates are never used.

As you enter that gate the camp tent office faces you and the guard is usually there to see who is coming and going. But he will also walk the streets and parking lot. The office always has someone up and "running" the place. I've only met two of the three that run it. Both are like a First Sargent in the Army.

This camp is about halfway through the six-month time period. Don't know where the next camp will be. The only reason I know of this one is because I would see it each time I dropped and picked up Donna at church. A couple times when she was in church I would go talk with them. Or more like listen because I wanted to find out what it was all about. So at least this camp isn't a drug infected home to a band of criminals.

But I do think many have made bad choices in life.
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Old 12-26-2015, 10:47 AM   #4
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Bad choices, to be sure, but sometimes just plain bad luck or circumstances out of their control. Usually a mixture of things. I also know from living in Portland that some, especially younger people, actually choose the lifestyle. They don't want a post office address, drivers license and so on. They live in groups with their own laws and rules. Lots of drug activity, theft and so on. Always had to be alert to avoid these gangs when on the bike trails or city parks.

Last edited by north country gal; 12-26-2015 at 10:49 AM.
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Old 12-26-2015, 12:19 PM   #5
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That's a nice way to spend a Christmas. If I was wearing a hat, I would take it off to you.
It sounds like it is organized in a very workable fashion, such as it is.

Nice job.
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Old 12-26-2015, 12:44 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by north country gal View Post
Bad choices, to be sure, but sometimes just plain bad luck or circumstances out of their control. Usually a mixture of things. I also know from living in Portland that some, especially younger people, actually choose the lifestyle. They don't want a post office address, drivers license and so on. They live in groups with their own laws and rules. Lots of drug activity, theft and so on. Always had to be alert to avoid these gangs when on the bike trails or city parks.
We have those around here too. Most stay in the inner city.
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Old 12-26-2015, 12:58 PM   #7
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It seems that a while back during a visit to Seattle to see my son and his wife, Jeff showed me a place (I'll call it a homeless camp for lack of a better term) that even had a name like a town or city. 303 probably knows the place I'm talking about but it was like a tent city set off by itself. I think it was on the outskirts of Seattle.
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Old 12-26-2015, 04:00 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by north country gal View Post
303, let me first thank-you for doing such needed work. I am proud to say I know you. I lived in the Portland, Oregon area for a time and I know very well how many people live under bridges.

I think these are the forgotten people our society. Politicians ignore them because they have no money and very few of them vote. Businesses don't want them around and so on. In some cities, they are treated as criminals, but, fortunately, there are cities and good people like you that do try to kelp.

A good many of these people have health issues, both physical and mental, but they fall through the cracks in the system and rarely get help. We know one such gal, up here. She lives in her car, even in the winter, traveling from city to city, staying overnight in parking lots or campsites. She is paranoid to the point of being delusional and refuses to seek help. We've given her a room in our house, on occasion, along with hot meals, but we wake up the next morning to discover that she is sleeping in her car in our driveway. Some mornings, we find that she drove away in the night. Nor will she visit homeless shelters or camps, convinced that someone is out to get her.

It's heartbreaking, to be sure, but such people are out there. Again, thank-you so much for doing what you can. To me, that is the true meaning of Christmas.
I think you guys are a wonderful wonderful couple! I personally will donate money, household items and provide food for people in need. But I could never ever allow someone into my home to sleep, as I'd probably be freaked out to the point that I couldn't sleep myself. Bless you!
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Old 12-26-2015, 04:06 PM   #9
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Thanks. Yeah, I married a man with a heart that is every bit as soft as mine. Oh, now and then, it backfires, but we're too old to change, now.
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Old 12-26-2015, 04:27 PM   #10
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The “least of these” is a phrase that originates from Matthew 25:31–46, where Jesus speaks of those in need. Verses 35–40 read,

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’”
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Old 12-26-2015, 06:39 PM   #11
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We have those around here too. Most stay in the inner city.
Thanks for helping out 303.

I am curious 303, did you find out if any of the people were Veterans?
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Old 12-26-2015, 07:21 PM   #12
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Thanks for helping out 303.

I am curious 303, did you find out if any of the people were Veterans?
The subject never came up. I'll ask the next time.
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Old 12-27-2015, 06:27 AM   #13
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The reason I ask is it runs 30-40% in my area & there are special programs just for homeless Vets, at least in my area.
I am not sure if they are national.

Again, thanks to you. If we all give just a little time, the difference can be huge!
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Old 12-27-2015, 07:00 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Hornet View Post
It seems that a while back during a visit to Seattle to see my son and his wife, Jeff showed me a place (I'll call it a homeless camp for lack of a better term) that even had a name like a town or city. 303 probably knows the place I'm talking about but it was like a tent city set off by itself. I think it was on the outskirts of Seattle.
There are several around the Seattle area. The police raid some ocsionally. It sounds like the one by 303 is well run, you don't see those on the daily news, just the bad ones.
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Old 08-06-2018, 05:29 AM   #15
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GET A JOB! Hamburger joints pay 11 bucks an hour. No reason why people have to beg at stop lights. I'm sick of seeing pan handlers. Plenty of jobs out there in this booming economy.
Not here, with all the free stuff Seattle offers, why work.
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Old 08-06-2018, 06:34 AM   #16
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@ 303 and the forum: We have two homeless shelters in our city. I on occasion take 100 lbs of bagged rice and donate along with clean clothing items. I never ask for a reciept. I simply hand the items to the dock worker. I am due up to make another drop off. I thank you for getting it on my mind and thank you for your efforts.
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Old 08-06-2018, 05:47 PM   #17
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@ 303 and the forum: We have two homeless shelters in our city. I on occasion take 100 lbs of bagged rice and donate along with clean clothing items. I never ask for a reciept. I simply hand the items to the dock worker. I am due up to make another drop off. I thank you for getting it on my mind and thank you for your efforts.
Well done, Sir. My respects.
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Old 08-07-2018, 07:29 AM   #18
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@ 303 and the forum: We have two homeless shelters in our city. I on occasion take 100 lbs of bagged rice and donate along with clean clothing items. I never ask for a reciept. I simply hand the items to the dock worker. I am due up to make another drop off. I thank you for getting it on my mind and thank you for your efforts.
We do the same here. Our area has been home to ex-pats and homeless since the late 60s, they just camp out in the woods. Seattle has so many camps it looks like San Francisco. They now have to have armed guards to escort people to and from the Court House and City Hall. Some guy even tried to mug the County Sheriff, bad ides!!

Last edited by 44s Rock; 08-10-2018 at 06:55 AM.
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Old 08-10-2018, 07:26 AM   #19
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There used to be a guy here that panhandled at red lights. Messy beard and beat up nasty clothes. Courtesy of some of my bus passengers, I found out the guy was a disabled veteran, getting a nice check, with a nice apartment and a free bus pass. He bragged that he could make $ 300 a day, and kept his "outfit" in a box in his bathroom. I didn't know, he just never happened to be on my bus for me to hear it.

We have a similar problem with phony disabled passengers. They buy a walker or a wheelchair for cheap at Goodwill, and viola, instant center of attention, and needing the bus wheelchair lift. We figure they just like being catered to. We know they're phony, seeing them elsewhere carrying their folded walker, pushing the wheelchair, or taking stairs like Rocky Balboa..............We want a special ID, verified by a doctor letter, for them to use the chair lift; but management won't do it so far.
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Old 08-11-2018, 03:21 AM   #20
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I talked to a panhandler in Boston, sitting on the sidewalk with a sign saying "Help me get drunk." He was clean, well dressed, and smoking a cigarette. I asked him how much money he made begging.....$ 40,000 per year.....and he didn't work cold winter days. Here are a couple of my beggar pictures. Being an old business man I appreciate imagination and initiative. (sarcasm)
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Beggar on Highway 2012-05-25_16-49-52_708.jpg (1.42 MB, 6 views)
File Type: jpg Boston Beggar Drunk.jpg (1.54 MB, 6 views)

Last edited by RidgeRunner; 08-11-2018 at 03:34 AM.
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