Write Out of the Margins

Personal Stories from the Street

"Streets" Homelessness eZine

This personal account written at a Real Change workshop on May 21, 2001, illustrates why we need Tent City. The people in this entry use fictional names to protect their privacy.

Saturday May 12, 2001
Discovery Park, Washington

A group of people that call themselves family. Two couples, and three brothers, are just getting up in the morning. The time is about 6:30 and of the seven people in the camp site, none seem to be moving since they are all sleeping. Some one could easily slip up and rape, pillage and plunder the entire camp. Time seems to drag along. Finally there is movement. It is now about 8:30 and one of the 2 couples is moving around, slowly waking up for the day. Going through their normal everyday wake up routine. Soon they and the rest of the camp will be up and packing to move to Tent City. Where they hope to have a safe place to live where they can begin to get back upon their feet. The names of the people, well we shall call them Paul and Chani Atriedes (a married couple), Rhombur and Kalea Vearnuis (another couple), Taz, Bill, and Warlock. For two weeks they have lived at this spot in fear. Fear of getting harrassed by the Police department. Fear of not having a way to get anything to eat. But most of all, a fear of having no place to sleep that would be safe. Chani Atriedes is carring a child. Two days prior Paul had decided that no matter what they were going to move into Tent City. So that he and Chani could get back on their feet.

On the day of the move, all seven of them, not knowing what would happen, got on a bus around Noon. They had at most a dollar between them for bus fare. But thanks to a kind bus driver, were able to get all day passes and hence make it to Tent City 3 at their new location in Lake City. Upon arriving there, Paul talked to Kevin Vanderhoef and a couple of the committee members. While the two girls and Rhombur were setting up the kitchen, Paul, Warlock, Taz, and Bill were locating the spots for their tents to go up.

Bill is still there and Paul and Chani are still expecting their baby and have new hope that they will find and get work so that the little one is not born on the streets.

Paul Atreides