That sign quoting former Vice President Hubert Humphrey was held by the youngest of just over a dozen people standing in a patch of dead grass on the roadside outside the main entrance to “Nickelsville” this past hour. It was also the only sign in evidence – Mary Anne deVry from the Westside Interfaith Network, the coalition of area churches/faith groups starting a week of vigils there, said they will probably bring one or more tomorrow. For now, they are waving flashlights:
That’s to underscore their intent – to “shine a light” on homelessness in Seattle. WIN announced Friday that they would hold a vigil each night through next Saturday, 6-10 pm. Next Sunday is September 1st – the date that Seattle elected officials have decreed as closure day for the camp, proclaimed on signs installed by its entrance:
Some of the half-million dollars the City Council approved for getting people out of the camp and into housing has so far placed 47 people, according to Union Gospel Mission, the organization tabbed by the city to work on relocating “campers” – but, as a UGM manager acknowledged in an interview with WSB on Friday, that hasn’t reduced the population. It’s estimated at least 125 people are there now, up from fewer than 100 when the relocation effort began. The Nickelsville Central Committee has said publicly that it hopes to move to three sites, only one of which – in the Central District – has been formally announced. But it was evident tonight that housekeeping/cleanup is under way:
The wood that was being carried out and stacked in the parking area had been lining pathways but is no longer needed, we were told. Meantime, deVry told us that the local church representatives had served a meal at the camp tonight, before walking over to the roadside for the casual vigil. They’ll be back tomorrow, same time, 6-10 pm, and anyone interested in calling attention to homelessness – whether you support “Nickelsville” or not – is welcome.