Nickelsville is an unauthorized homeless encampment in Seattle that has recently tried to setup more permanent shelter structures due to an increase in the number of homeless. There is somewhere around 100 people living at the location right now. The City of Seattle has issued an eviction notice (.pdf) which will expire today at 5:00PM, even though the camp is on government-issued tribal lands.

As homeless and youth shelters close because of the recent crisis on wall street, (shelters in Tacoma, WA close and social workers relocate in Auburn, WA) we might expect more places like Nickelsville to pop up. We need to defend the poorest in our society, who only use land that is unused by property speculators and developers.

There are a billion poor people worldwide who live in these kinds of communities, which are technically illegal. Their only crime is that they don’t own titles to the land. Using bulldozers, governments sweep out camps like this and break down peoples’ shelters. Go to UN Habitat to see what that’s all about.

Looking at our history – housing struggles and encampments like this in urban areas were defended successfully by concerned neighbors and the larger community around the sites when the government decided to evict them. This has happened in New York, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, London, and so on. Will we be able to say the same about Seattle?

This is a website somebody put together about the encampment –

http://www.nickelsvilleseattle.org/