Tent City Momentum Continues

Rachel Pritchett writes:

Bloggers,

Members of the Outside Homeless Committee of the Kitsap Continuum of Care Coalition continue to work toward setting up a tent city, or two, by fall.

Members meeting Tuesday concentrated on prospective sites that still include land at Hillcrest Assembly, near McWilliams Road across Highway 303 from an unsanctioned homeless encampment where about 18 people live.

Other prospective sites might include a former helicopter landing-and-takeoff site off Sheridan Road once used and still owned by Harrison Medical Center. The group has not yet heard back from Harrison on whether it would be interested in cooperating on that site.

Still another possible site — and this would be for families as opposed to singles — might be somewhere in the Callow Avenue neighborhood somewhere near St. Vincent de Paul. Yes, there is undeveloped property there adequate for a tent city.

The Harrison and Callow sites are within the Bremerton city limits, however, and Mayor Patty Lent has said she believes less urbanized areas in Kitsap County would be better suited for a tent city, rather than more urbanized Bremerton.

Quickly falling out of favor is a site around the Kitsap County fairgrounds, which is in the county. Members believe it’s just too far from essential services.

Committee member Walt LeCouteur says the county continues to be infinitely more receptive to the controversial idea than cities led by Bremerton. The panel received word from a county representative Tuesday that it wouldn’t take longer than two days for the county to issue a permit, once a site is selected.

LeCouteur said the next challenge now will be for the panel to identify homeless persons to be leaders in the process, so they have ownership in the decisions and therefore much more likely to use a tent city, in theory. None showed up to the meeting Tuesday, but some have in the past.

The Coalition is a group of social-service agencies, and its Outside Homeless Committee meets again Sept. 7.

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