Frequently Asked Questions

Who is Tent City 3?

Tent City 3 is a self-governing homeless encampment with its own governing structure, code of conduct, and security measures. TC3’s goal is to provide a safe place for homeless individuals and their families. Residents are comprised of individuals seeking to recover from the loss of housing, employment, or dealing with medical situations that have placed them in a difficult situation. Many of its residents work and some have children who live in the camp.


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 operate 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.

Why does Seattle Pacific University host Tent City 3?

Seattle Pacific’s hosting of TC3 is both an educational opportunity and a tangible expression of the university’s Christian mission in engaging the culture and changing the world. Experiential and community-based learning are proven to be some of the most effective and transformational forms of education. The TC3 encampment at SPU provides an opportunity for the campus community to not merely learn about the challenges of affordable housing and the crisis of homelessness in Seattle, but to begin to know people who live with this reality.

The Bible is full of teaching on homelessness such as Isaiah 58:7, “Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin?” (New Revised Standard Version). The University views the hosting of TC3 as an opportunity for education, service, and leadership.    

Can’t we engage homelessness without hosting TC3?

Yes. There are many ways to engage with the issue of homelessness, both individually and collectively. Many people volunteer or give money or help through churches, neighborhood organizations, and work communities. However, hosting TC3 allows for direct engagement with residents who are experiencing homelessness. Sharing a meal or conversation with a TC3 resident serves as a powerful way to humanize homelessness, expand understanding, and work toward collaborative responses. 

Don’t homeless encampments perpetuate the problem of homelessness?

There is no evidence that city-sanctioned tent encampments make the problem of homelessness worse. Seattle is experiencing crisis levels of homelessness as a direct result of the high cost of living and lack of affordable housing.

Given the realities of limited shelter beds, affordable housing, treatment, and other social services, tent encampments are an emergency response to the growing number of people who are homeless in the city.

How long does TC3 stay at one location?

TC3  typically stays at one location for 90 days. TC3 will be at SPU through February 10, 2018. The camp is located between the Bookstore and McKenna Hall. Residents are allowed access to the Library and Student Union Building.

How many residents may reside at the encampment?

A tent city camp may serve up to 100 residents.

What security measures does TC3 provide on its own?

Elected by community members within TC3, the Executive Committee is responsible for overseeing site security, resident identification, litter control, and donation management. Two TC3 security workers are on duty 24 hours a day, and all residents are required to participate in security and litter details.

In addition, TC3  residents must abide by a strict code of conduct that includes the banning of all weapons, alcohol, drugs, and anyone with a sex offender history. Sobriety is required to enter the community. Violence, degrading speech, any form of abuse or intimidation, are not tolerated. TC3 will inform SPU security and SPD of any persons turned away from the encampment who do not leave the neighborhood peacefully or appear to be potential threats to the community.

Are there background checks on residents?

Tent City residents are required to have valid, government-issued picture identification. All prospective residents are checked for warrants and sex offender status by the King County Sheriff’s Department. TC3  states that people with active warrants are not allowed to stay at the camp. TC3 also notifies police of anyone rejected due to warrant or registered sex offender status.

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

In the previous two encampments at Seattle Pacific no increase in crime was noted. In fact, there was a reduction in crime due to TC3’s support of SPU security. Police or fire requests associated with TC3 are monitored by SPD, and are typically needed for medical assistance.

What other measures ensure protection of public health and safety of local neighbors, as well as residents of TC3?

Public Health Seattle-King County provides environmental health-related services to TC3  in order to promote a safe and healthy living environment for the residents and the surrounding neighborhoods. Onsite visits by fire and health departments check the maintenance and operations of toilet facilities, garbage control, potable water, hand washing, and safe food handling practices.

TC3 has four portable toilets, one mobile shower, and bedding and clothing is laundered off site. Public health nurses with the Health Care for the Homeless Network provide onsite visits, first aid kits, and resource information to connect TC3 residents to community health care services.

I’m interested in volunteering with TC3, what can I do?

Please fill out the volunteer form specific to your request:

I’m interested in preparing a meal with a group, what are the next steps?

While TC3 is at Seattle Pacific, we are aiming to have all dinners covered — thank you for your interest! Please review the TC3 Meals Calendar and identify two date options that work for your group. Once identified, email to finalize a specific date and other details.

I don’t have time to serve a meal, but I want to help. What can I do?

If you are interested in donating needed goods or organizing others to do so, TC3 has an Amazon Wish List. Here are items always in need:


  • Tents, w/poles
  • Tarps
  • Rope
  • Sleeping bags
  • Blankets
  • Mats
  • Flashlights
  • Lanterns
  • Staple gun w/staples
  • Toilet paper
  • Paper towels
  • Wet-wipes
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Rubber and work gloves
  • Towels and washcloths
  • Soap and shampoo
  • Feminine hygiene supplies
  • Bleach-bottled and/or cleaning wipes
  • AA/D batteries
  • First-aid kits (band-aids, gauze strips, antibiotic creams, cold and flu medicine)
  • Coffee, tea, cream, sugar


  • Canned protein (tuna, ham, Spam, chicken)
  • Soup (canned or packaged)
  • Canned fruit and vegetables
  • Butter or margarine
  • Salt and pepper
  • Seasonings
  • Peanut butter

Where will TC3 go after move-out day?

TC3 does not know the next location for the community.

How can I get involved with the larger issue of homelessness in Seattle?

You can join other advocates to end homelessness in Seattle:

“So, I’m at the bottom, I can’t do nothing but go up. And I know I can’t do it by myself. I need caring people to support me.”
Single father
Move in day for TC3

Putting homelessness
front and center

Read about how SPU students, faculty, and staff came together to serve their Tent City 3 neighbors.