Police push homeless tent city out of townHomeless people who set up a tent city in Olympia, Washington, to protest their plight pulled up stakes under police orders and left their temporary home in a vacant city lot.
The Rev. Arthur Vaeni confirmed the Unitarian Universalist Chutch would give the campers a temporary base. But the entire congregation would have to decide how long they could stay, he said.
"Our sense was that we have a responsibility to serve those who are in dire need," Vaeni said. If police had broken up the tent city and arrested people, it would have been "a real wound to our community," he said.
The city does not allow tents to be used as permanent structures, but courts have allowed churches to house the poor in tents, under freedom-of-religion protections, a city spokeswoman said.
Although the city has appropriated about $800,000 this year for homeless and social services, City Councilman T.J. Johnson said the services provided aren't meeting all the need.
"We do a lot, but what we need is for the federal government to stop wasting money on a war when there are people sleeping in parking lots," Johnson said.
Read the Seattle Times article here.