SHARE began with the Goodwill Gathering in 1990 helping displaced homeless people stay together and safe. SHARE established the first Tent City the day before Thanksgiving on November 24th, 1990. After 20 years of standing up for displaced people, we are a community of over 500 men and women, living together in 15 indoor shelters and two tent cities.  Along with our sister organization WHEEL (begun in 1993), we restore community, dignity, hope and self-respect to homeless people.

Our self-managed community model is one of the first in the county.  Recently a citizen advisory panel appointment by Seattle Mayor McGinn recently cited one of SHARE’s indoor shelter models, the Bunkhouse, as an efficient and effective alternative to develop additional shelter capacity.  The 500 men and women of SHARE along with the Tent City and Shelter church hosts and other faith-based groups, together have stood up for the rights of homeless people to take care of themselves and each other.  We are all very proud of our successes over the years.

We are proud to contribute to the communities in which we reside – cleaning up the area we use, providing security in the neighborhoods we reside and other outside activities such as volunteering in local food banks.  We are reaching out to you, our community, to contribute to our 20th Anniversary fund drive, and help us enter the next year together and strong.

Due to the economic recession, we will need to be prepared to provide shelter for even more people.  Costs have continued rise in our SHARE community over the years for vital needs such as: bus tickets, utilities, supplies, blankets, mailings and other expenses.  This funding appeal is a part of SHARE’s strategic and capacity building plan to strengthen our fund base.  We are taking responsibility to broaden our foundations, to meet our community’s mission to end homelessness in any way we can.

We greatly appreciate your assistance, past and present.  All proceeds that come to SHARE/WHEEL go directly to the needs of our community members.  Any donations are greatly appreciated.  Thank you for your friendship and support for these past 20 years!



1990:  First SHARE action—the Goodwill Gathering at Myrtle Edwards Park.  For two weeks during the Goodwill Games, homeless people gathered in the park to stay together and safe.  While a big-top tent was pitched at Myrtle Edwards for the group’s daytime activities, they’d agreed with the City of Seattle not to sleep in the park at night, even though more nighttime shelter was desperately needed.  The SHARE group stayed together, planning their first major action; the November establishment of Tent City1 on mudflats south of the Kingdome. Within days, the camp grew to 166 members.  After negotiations with the City, on December 10th, 99 SHARE members moved into the abandoned METRO Bus Barn near Seattle Center, and SHARE’s first self-managed overflow shelter started at Immaculate Conception Church.

1991:  The Bus Barn Shelter was scheduled to close at the end of March.  SHARE held a rally at the Bus Barn and continued negotiations with the City.  The Bus Barn remained open until the Aloha Inn was born—a self-managed transitional program on Aurora Avenue.  The Immaculate Conception self-managed overflow shelter stayed open, and other churches expressed interest in hosting SHARE self-managed shelters and eventually joined the SHARE shelter network.  The first of these were at Woodland Park United Methodist Church and St John United Lutheran Church, which still host SHARE shelters today.

1992:  After a “Walk-to-our-outlying-shelters” campaign, SHARE convinced King County METRO to begin offering reduced-price bus tickets.

1993:  WHEEL, the Women’s Housing, Equality and Enhancement League, SHARE’s women-only partner organization, was born in January, campaigned for increased hours at day centers and shelters, and (with SHARE) opened the first women-only self-managed shelter, at Lakeview Free Methodist Church.

1994:  SHARE opened a free, self-managed Storage Locker facility in the Glen Hotel.  SHARE did a sleepout in Pioneer Square to help homeless people without shelter stay together and safe, and to campaign for increased shelter space in Pioneer Square.  This was the birth of Safe Haven Shelter, which slept outdoors at 2nd and Yesler for several weeks, and then around the King County Administration Building for several months until a generous private propertyowner offered space in his yet-to-be-developed office building at 2nd and Columbia.  (Safe Haven has moved several times, in and around Pioneer Square.)  To support the operation of this larger shelter, SHARE started its SHARE2 Housing-for-Work program in a donated house.

1997:  SHARE did a sleepout near the Capitol grounds in Olympia, to lobby State Legislators to agree to purchase/renovate the rundown Strand Helpers Building on MLK/Orcas for a Bunkhouse shelter (with night and day sleeping shifts). 

1998:  Newly-elected Mayor Schell sponsored a Housing Summit at Seattle Center in March; SHARE and WHEEL asked for and received permission to do a Shelter Summit, in tents, on Seattle Center grounds.  In June, SHARE/WHEEL set up Tent City2 on Beacon Hill near Jefferson Park.  The City opened the Municipal Building lobby shelter, but the SHARE/WHEEL group, arguing for a public-land encampment, moved the camp to the Jungle greenbelt near Jose Rizal Park.  The City bulldozed the camp and arrested 18 people; charges were later dropped.

2000:  At the end of winter, on April 1st, SHARE/WHEEL’s Tent City3 began, on private land at MLK Way and S Charleston Street.  The City threatened property owners with fines; Tent City3 began an exodus and made two moves before finding sanctuary at All Saints Episcopal Church’s parking lot.  Later that spring St Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral hosted Tent City3, and in July, El Centro de la Raza agreed to host the camp for six months and apply together with SHARE/WHEEL for a permit.  El Centro accrued $17,000 in fines during the permit processing period, and the permit application was denied.

2001:  The City Hearing Examiner upheld the Tent City3 permit denial.  Late in the year, King County Superior Court Judge Mahan overturned the permit denial.

2002:  Newly-elected City Attorney Tom Carr, El Centro, and SHARE/WHEEL signed a Consent Decree permitting Tent City3 and setting forth its basic operating principles.

2004:  SHARE/WHEEL’s Tent City4 began on the Eastside.

2006:  SHARE/WHEEL opposed the Safe Harbors computerized tracking program on grounds of discrimination, right-to-privacy, and the impossibility of a peer-run organization facilitating such tracking.  A year-long campaign and the prospect of the complete closure of SHARE’s indoor shelter network and establishment of Tent Cities 5, 6 and 7 resulted in mediation, and eventually a settlement with the City to allow SHARE to do voluntary monthly surveys of shelter participants. 

2010:  SHARE/WHEEL now self-manages 15 indoor shelters, three SHARE2 Housing-for Work locations, two Tent Cities, and a Storage Locker program.