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Tent City 3

Tent City 3

FAQ: Your Questions Answered

What is a “Tent City”?

Tent Cities have been operating since 1990, and Tent City 3 began in 2000 on private land at Seattle's MLK Way and S. Charleston Street.

In 2002, Seattle City Attorney Tom Carr, El Centro de la Raza, and SHARE/WHEEL signed a consent decree giving the encampment an ongoing permit and set forth its operating principles. Today, TC3 provides safe shelter for up to 100 men, women, and couples.

Where does Tent City 3 usually operate?

Tent City 3 operates primarily in Seattle, but also in Burien, SeaTac, and Shoreline. (Tent City 4 operates on the east side of Lake Washington.)

Why is TC3 coming to the Seattle Pacific campus?

Beginning in 2010, SPU students initiated conversations with SPU administration about hosting Tent City 3. Those students were passionate about how hosting the encampment would be educational for our community and a tangible way of living out our mission. SPU hosted Tent City 3 on Wallace Field in Winter Quarter, 2012.

President Dan Martin recently announced SPU's plan to host Tent City 3 in Winter Quarter, 2015. Building on our past experiences with Tent City 3 and with increased attention directed to academic integration, service-learning and awareness building, this experience promises to be an important learning opportunity for students and the rest of the SPU community.


Where will TC3 be located on the Seattle Pacific campus, and for how long?

Tent City 3 will be located in Tiffany Loop, and Seattle Pacific University will host it from January 10 through March 7, 2015. This engagement is slightly shorter than the 2012 visit, but will provide opportunities for student volunteers to assist with TC3's move-in and departure.

What about security and sanitation?

Tent cities have a strict code of conduct for residents. Tent City 3 also has security workers, and the expectation is for community service to be performed by residents within and around the facility.

Community tents are used for food preparation, computers, a front entrance/desk, and meeting area.

Additionally, TC3 residents provide their own trash removal, have a shower facility and port-a-potties, and residents have access to bus tickets for work and/or appointments.

SPU's Office of Safety and Security has met with the TC3 leadership regarding safety and security. Measures have been taken to provide a safe environment for TC3 and SPU. Because the Tiffany Loop location provides less privacy than the 2012 Wallace Field location allowed for TC3 residents, a privacy-screen fence will be erected around the camp.

Who’s in charge?

Tent City 3 is part of Seattle Housing and Resource Effort (SHARE/WHEEL). Founded in 1990, its mission is to “eradicate homelessness, educate the community, and empower homeless people.” SHARE is a self-managed entity that helps to coordinate 15 indoor shelters and two tent cities.

While at SPU, a coordinating committee of staff, faculty, and students will continue to facilitate all university efforts. This committee will meet weekly with TC3 leaders to discuss all issues that arise. If you need to contact the SPU committee, please email

Can we visit?

TC3 is home for its residents. About half of them leave each day and go to jobs and/or appointments. There will be times available for tours, but please respect residents’ privacy and honor their dignity. For more information, contact

How can we help?

You will have many opportunities to learn and serve. TC3 residents are open to many different interactions: Some are willing to speak in classes; some are willing to be a part of student club activities. Check out the forums to come.



Quick Facts

  • Security is 24/7 at TC3
  • Quiet hours: 9 p.m.–8 a.m.
  • Self-managed community

    Strict rules — sobriety, no violence, no drugs
  • Eligibility is based on government-issued photo ID
  • 100 residents maximum
  • Single men and women; couples