SAMMAMISH, Wash. – An eastside homeless encampment started their move to another church Saturday morning. About 60 people are living in the camp and every tent must be moved this weekend.
Tent City 4 had planned to move to Bellevue, but the site there fell through and the group was forced to look for somewhere else.
“(We were) knocking on doors, going to a lot of churches, a lot of site searching...” said Willie Fowler.
Fowler said they were grateful when the Mary, Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Sammamish and agreed to host the tent city on a grassy area behind their building. On Saturday, volunteers were at both locations preparing for the move.
“Today's about moving, new location, new start,” Fowler said.
It’s the first time the camp has moved to Sammamish, while much of the community was supportive, there was some concern from neighbors.
“I'm confident that we're doing the right thing,” Father Kevin Duggan said.
Duggan said they met with neighbors and tried to work with them “the site plan was adjusted after some concerns were expressed about certain aspects of the encampment.”
It’s not the first time their presence has caused worry, but the group hopes having them here will benefit the community in other ways. “Jesus says ‘give and you shall receive’ and we hope the help we give will come back as a blessing.”
Tent City 4 has been approved for a 60-day stay in Sammamish, the church is working with the city to try and extend that an additional 30 days.