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August 20, 2012 at 6:30 AM

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Discuss: Tent City: Bad precedent or the answer to homelessness?

A Seattle Times story reports Seattle officials divided over how Tent City should be regulated, or whether these outdoor tent encampments should be considered an acceptable means of providing emergency shelter.

Homeless residents and their advocates have taken over vacant city land on West Marginal Way, with the conditional agreement of Mayor Mike McGinn, while the City Council considers authorizing a permanent tent site somewhere in the city.

Homelessness is a problem in need of a sustainable solution. Every person should have a roof over his or head. But the threat of Tent City is that it is all about attending to immediate survival needs and not much on dealing with the bigger issue of getting people into real and permanent housing. Another critical question is whether or not tent cities deal with the root causes of homelessness, such as unemployment, mental health and substance abuse problems.

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