Moving day for more than 150 homeless at Nickelsville camp

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SEATTLE — In only a few hours, more than 150 people have to clear out and move into one of three new camps scattered throughout Seattle.

There’s only a hand full of people left at old Nickelsville guarding whatever property has been left behind, and there’s still plenty of stuff here.

Seattle Police officers could be seen roaming the site around dusk on Sunday.

Contractors started early Sunday morning putting up no trespassing signs. This has been Nickelsville’s home on the south side of Seattle for the last two years, but the camp has been around since 2008.

Organizers say they’ve taken countless people off the streets.

“Hundreds if not thousands of people at this location,” said organizer Peggy Hotes. “Families, single people, couples, all with their pets.”

This weekend has been a mad dash to pack up and tear everything down – all in preparation for a new divided Nickelsville.

“It’s a lot of work, people are tired, sometimes they’re grumpy but there’s also a feeling of hopefulness,” said Hotes.

Nickelsville is moving to three new locations; one at a vacant lot at 20th and Jackson street, one at an overgrown lot in Skyway, and a third at a church property near Union and 23rd.

Neighbors like Lance Storli just found out about the new tenants moving next door – and he’s welcoming them with open arms.

“These people need a place to go,” said Storli. “I know they’re really respectable, it’s just, they’re down on their luck.”

The City of Seattle has placed a few homeless families from Nickelsville into more permanent housing but the need is still great.

SKYWAYNickelsville resident Kenneth McDaniels says help is out there, but what he really needs is a job.

“Hopefully I can get back to work, I’m a carpenter,” said McDaniels. “There’s a lot of work out there, it’s just most of the places I go to I’m over qualified or they didn’t want to pay me what I want.”

Nickelsville orgainizers have been scrambling to find new locations since the city told them they had to go. They couldn’t find a spot big enough to accommodate everyone. Now they hope the divided locations won’t change their sense of community.

“As long as everybody’s been together, it would have been nice to have a large area, large enough to house everybody,” said McDaniels

Organizers say they hope to get all personal property out of the old Nickelsville by tomorrow and then spend the next two days cleaning out the site.

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