The two-plus year sojourn of the Nickelsville homeless encampment on the City Light-owned lot at 3814 4th Ave NE is coming to end shortly.
March 31st is the day that the city permit authorizing the village officially expires and that the Nickelsville-led residents have agreed to vacate. After briefly pushing for March 21st (the first day of Spring, and thus probably-not-coincidentally the first day they could sweep the village without breaking the “No Winter Evictions” line), the City agreed to the later date in exchange for a written promise from Nickelsville and residents to peacefully vacate on the 31st. (Can you imagine them trying to force the residents out nine days early when they could just wait?)
But where are they going? And how are they going to get there?
Nickelsville and staff are actively looking for a new location, and if you have any ideas to share, they are welcome! At the most recent Community Advisory Council meeting for the village, the villagers shared photos of some of the lots they have explored, but nothing has come through yet.
What they’re looking for is nothing fancy: a 5,000 sq ft or so lot where they can set their tiny houses and/or tents down for a spell. It could be public land (city land, port land, parks land, etc.) or private land. Either way, it would be leased to Wallingford’s Gift of Grace Church, which has agreed to act as the sponsor for the village, thus enabling them to take advantage of Seattle’s Ordinance 124747, which states that “a transitional encampment is allowed as an accessory use on a site in any zone, if the … principal use is on property owned or controlled by a religious organization…”
They would like to stay near Wallingford, the people here being of a kind and friendly nature, and also the location being well-positioned for access to the various support services and employment opportunities that the city has to offer, but are understanding of their position. The important thing for them is that they have somewhere to go where they can stay together, as they have formed a community, and being able to support each other is critical for a group as “at risk” like this.
If you have any leads on land, public or private, where they could go, please contact [email protected].
Wherever they go, they’re also going to need help moving. There is some disagreement at the moment around ownership of the nineteen “tiny houses” on the existing site, but at least some of the structures as well as people’s personal belongings will need moving on the 31st, so offers of trucks and people power are welcome, as will be supplies (e.g., tents) when a destination is found. Anyone who is interested in helping plan the move is welcome to join us at the next (and perhaps last!) meeting of the Community Advisory Council at Gift of Grace Church on Tuesday, March 17th at 5 pm. I’ll post a reminder here prior to the date.
Finally, one last ask: if there is an electrician out there who would be willing to lend a hand, the camp has needs. Two of the houses have electrical problems that are beyond the ken of Doug Hobkirk, who has been volunteering his time on handyman tasks. Ironically, one of the houses is occupied by someone who is studying to be an electrician, but is having trouble with his studies due to lack of heat and light. One can hire experts like the Perth Electricians to get help.
As we find out more about the electrical issues, we learned that in addition the old Ecosmart ECO 27 inline water heater the camp has been using to provide hot water for showers, laundry and cleaning dishes has ceased performing its duties. Doug tells me its receiving power, it’s just turning that power into hot water anymore.
If you think you might be able to help on either of these, the residents would be much obliged if you’d contact to [email protected].