Tent City F.A.Q.'s

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Where are Tent Cities currently housed?

A: Tent Cities are generally housed on parish properties throughout the greater Seattle area. 

For current locations  Click Here  

Q: How long does a typical Tent City camp stay at one location?

A: A Tent City camp usually stays at one location for about 90 days. A few additional days may be needed as the camp prepares to move to its next location.

Q: How many residents may reside at Tent City?

A: A Tent City camp typically does not serve more than 100 residents.

Q: What presence will the local Police have at the site?

A: The City’s goal is to ensure public safety for all of our citizens. We pledge city resources to properly monitor and respond to issues. Local police officers will make regular, routine walk-throughs of the Tent City site so that they are familiar with the residents and the routines of camp. When necessary, police officers will conduct investigations and make arrests of those found to be in violation of criminal laws. Local Police have attended community forums and visited other Tent City locations in order to be prepared for any potential issues..

Q: What security measures does Tent City provide on its own?

A: Tent City 4 reports that it seeks a positive relationship with law enforcement agencies in host cities by keeping a commitment to self-police and self-manage its residents in accordance with its Code of Conduct. The Tent City Code of Conduct prohibits alcohol, drugs, weapons, fighting, abuse of any kind, littering or disturbing neighbors. All residents must sign an agreement to abide by this code and failure to do so can be cause for immediate expulsion. Residents form an Executive Committee that is responsible for site security, resident identification and donations management. One member of the Executive Committee is on duty, awake and available 24 hours per day. Police are contacted immediately if warranted by a situation.

Q: Are there background checks on Tent City residents?

A: The Tent City application states that Tent City residents are required to have valid picture identification with all prospective residents checked for warrants and sex offender status by the King County Sheriff’s Department. Tent City states that people with active warrants are not allowed to stay at Tent City. Tent City also reports that Police will be notified immediately of anyone rejected due to warrant status or that has registered sex offender status.


Q: Has there been an increase in crime associated with Tent City?

A: The Police Department plans to closely monitor Tent City and its impact on the surrounding neighborhood. The Police have reviewed information from cities that have already had Tent City camps. These cities did not report an increase in general crime levels nor have there been crimes reported against neighbors, children or students in the immediately surrounding areas. Any police, fire or medical assistance request associated with Tent City will be monitored by the Police Department.

Q: What happens if an individual is rejected or required to leave Tent City because they have violated the Code of Conduct? For code of conduct click here (link to code of conduct)

A: If a resident is required to leave the camp, the person is given a bus pass and escorted to bus transportation. If bus transportation is not readily available, Tent Cities will arrange for alternative transportation such as a private vehicle or taxi service. If, in the opinion of Tent City, any rejected/ejected individual poses a potential threat to the community, the police are contacted immediately.

Q: What other measures are proposed to ensure protection of public health and safety of local neighbors as well as temporary residents of any proposed Tent City?

A: Public Health Seattle-King County provides environmental health-related services to Tent City in order to promote a safe and healthy living environment for the residents and the surrounding neighborhoods. They provide onsite visits to discuss the maintenance and operations of toilet facilities, garbage control, obtaining potable water, hand washing and safe food handling practices. They visit each Tent City as it is established and monitor the situation at each site. Public Health nurses with the Health Care for the Homeless Network provide onsite visits, first aid kits, resource information and work to help Tent City resident’s link to community health care services.

The city may assign a code enforcement liaison to monitor the Tent City site. This Code Enforcement Officer would inspect the camp daily, including weekends, and ensure that there are no Municipal Code violations.

Q: What measures are proposed to handle refuse and human waste on proposed sites?

A: Tent City reports that a dumpster would be provided for the handling of refuse and would be regularly collected. Tent City states that residents are forbidden to litter the camp or the surrounding neighborhood. Tent City says that it conducts regular patrols to monitor adjacent streets and sidewalks to ensure they are kept clean. Anecdotal reports from other cities indicate that previous neighbors have commented on the cleanliness of their streets during the tenure of Tent City, due to these regular patrols. Tent City states that it would provide well maintained, portable toilets sufficient to the needs of up to 100 residents. Hand washing stations would be available adjacent to these toilets. Public Health staff members will monitor these conditions.


Q: Are open fires be allowed? Is fire prevention equipment available on site?

A: Tent City states that no open fires are allowed at a Tent City site. It plans to have fire extinguishers on site and posted according to the directives of the local fire department. Tent City officials state that local fire departments are welcome to visit Tent City at any time.


A: SHARE/WHEEL, is the combined advocacy efforts of the Seattle-Housing and Resource Effort (SHARE) and the Women’s Housing Equality and Enhancement League (WHEEL). They have operated tent cities in the City of Seattle and other local cities in cooperation with the faith-based community. SHARE/WHEEL can be contacted at (206) 448-7889.



Meals are tracked with an online calendar. Click on this link to check available dates. The colored squares indicate that a meal is scheduled.  http://prem.calendars.net/tcmeals.       


A hot dinner is the meal we try to provide. It is helpful for meals to be served no later than 6:00 PM. There may be some exceptions and we will let you know as the date moves closer. Individuals should plan to arrive at the church at least a half hour early to begin set-up. There is an all-camp meeting at 7 pm, so please make a special effort to have the meal ready no later than 6:00 PM.

A group of 5-8 seems to work best. The group is responsible for providing a balanced meal: protein, starch, vegetable, drinks (2 gal. each milk and juice work best), and fruit or dessert. Your group is also responsible in providing paper plates, cups (paper for these items are best so that they can be composted), napkins and plastic cutlery (non-compostable plastic cutlery will be disposed of separately from the compostable). If you could wrap the cutlery in napkins ahead of time, it makes it easier for the residents to move through the food line. If possible, please bring food in disposable containers as it makes it much easier for Tent City folks to handle leftovers. It is helpful to provide plastic wrap, foil, Ziploc bags, and/or clean plastic take-out boxes for residents to transport leftovers. Since the residents have only coolers for refrigeration, donations of bags of ice are always needed.

Please remember that some of the Tent City residents suffer from dental and gum difficulties. Nuts and raw vegetables can be difficult foods. Cooked vegetables are easier for many residents to consume. Lettuce only for salads is great. The meals don’t need to be fancy: aim for a balanced meal that is tasty, with plentiful servings.

You are encouraged to join the residents for dinner. It makes for a more welcoming and inclusive meal. It’s more about partnering with them, as they work to get back on their feet, rather than providing for them. Tent City is open to beginning the meal with a prayer, if your group so chooses.


At present, plan for about 100 people, plus your own group. This is the only hot meal most residents will have all day, so please plan on generous serving sizes. The leftovers will be eaten soon, and it’s better to have a little bit extra rather than run out. Please be aware that not all residents eat at the same time. You can call a few days before your scheduled meal to get an accurate count of the number of residents currently at camp.


Check with the online calendar (insert link here) for location of meal service. Please bring your meals hot and ready to serve.


You should plan on approximately $250 to serve a dinner for 100 people. Of course, this depends on the menu. The more people in your serving group the less the impact on any one person. If there are significant leftovers from another night, we will let you know. For emergency use, the direct line into the camp is TC3 206-399-0412, TC4 206-618-3901.


Please check the website http://prem.calendars.net/tcmeals for the latest meals coordinator contact information. We are thankful for your support and happy to help you in any way we can.