You see them in many neighborhoods: cars and vans stuffed with possessions, homeless car campers. According to the nonprofit in charge of a yearly one–night census of people sleeping outside, about 30 percent of the nearly 2500 counted are in vehicles. The issue is especially acute in Ballard. Soon, a Lutheran church in Ballard will host car campers in their parking lot and allow them to use church facilities. We’ll talk to the pastor of the church.
From my understanding of the program, this will be a small-scale operation in which 5 homeless car campers are allowed to use the parking lot as well as clean-up in the church facilities. My recollection of the program is that the director of the homeless newspaper “Real Change” said that while it is colder in cars, people have much greater dignity and control as opposed to those homeless who are required to hustle to get a room each night only to be forced out early the next morning.
What struck me the most was when Ross Reynolds essentially asked if people were worried that these car campers were going to be a nuisance?
One caller opined that regardless if in a house or car, there will always be some people that are nuisances. I agree!
Yet perhaps more telling, a caller who lives near the Ballard church suggested people who avail themselves of this program are more likely to be well-behaved than those who do not.
My opinions are mixed. The economist in me believes the situation to be one of a Field of Dreams – “If you build it they will come”. The question then is: From how far away?
Thereafter, the questions become: 1. Will rights somehow vest? And, 2. How will people govern there affairs vis-a-vis themselves as well as the Church?
But on the other hand, driving down the I-5 corridor on what will likely remain one of the wettest days of 2012, I have to be thankful that I am not one of the unfortunates both moping and mopping around in the rain. What do you think?