Letter: Time for another Tent City?

Time for another Tent City?

I recently read in Guardian Weekly magazine about a project in Oakland, California, called Cob on Wood. It's a homeless camp developed and operated by its residents and supported by community volunteers. It features a rudimentary health clinic, store and gardens. Basic sanitation includes composting toilets and hot showers. They self govern, have a mayor and admission requirements. YouTube has videos on Cob on Wood.

This brings to mind Dalton's Tent City that was disbanded many years ago. The encampment had some form of order -- expectations for someone to live there, a central place for city oversight, a place to drop off donations and a site for students to use for school project interviews. It was a place where essential public services could be delivered to a centralized population (think COVID-19 vaccinations today). Its location near Providence Ministries provided access for those wanting to get back on their feet or at least grab a healthy meal.

The homeless didn't disappear with the demise of Tent City. They are still here and efforts to relocate them in public housing had limited success. They scattered throughout the area and can be found living in various makeshift structures along the railroad right-of-way and under bridges. One way or the other, the homeless will always be among us.

It could be time to revive some form of Tent City. There is no shortage of available land or leadership to make this happen. This would be a great project for the social work program at Dalton State College or some of our numerous nonprofits which could support a community for those that need the opportunity to have their own community.

Jim Baird

Dalton

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