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Dozens of homeless are finding much-needed help at a Seattle tent city, but its future is in limbo

SEATTLE – The future of a homeless encampment in Seattle’s Ravenna neighborhood is currently in limbo, and city officials say they’re monitoring the situation to see what needs to be done.

With bags full of food and a quick check on water, Glenn Buhlmann stops by Tent City 3 every chance he can.

“I’ve got bread, cereal, crackers,” he said with supplies in hand. “Let’s see if we can dump some of that in here, and I can fill up that one.”

He stops by the camp frequently to see how his new neighbors are settling in.

“I just go in and talk with them, say hi,” he said. “I’m just a neighbor to let them know they’re welcome.”

The tents went up in Ravenna about a week ago, and the camp’s committee says it’s a clean and sober camp of about 50 people. Buhlmann says any one of us could find ourselves needing help.

“There was a man my kids and I all knew because he worked in the Thai restaurant that was just around the corner and that was my son’s favorite Thai restaurant, so we knew him and I recognized him,” Buhlmann explained. “He said he had worked in that restaurant for 25 years, but he just couldn’t afford to live anywhere in this neighborhood anymore.”

He's worried the city may step in and tell the campers to scatter. Technically, camping isn’t allowed on this plot of land. Brooklyn Gardenhire says, except for a couple people, most people in the neighborhood have been like Glen - giving with open arms.

“The outpouring of support, just love and respect and acceptance has been awesome,” Gardenhire, who is part of the camp’s executive committee, explained.

A couple of the campers met with the deputy mayor Monday morning to ask if staying in the Ravenna neighborhood is an option for them.  Many say they’re hoping it remains a possibility because with each day that passes it’s starting to feel more and more like home.

“The camp is torn,” Gardenhire said. “Because do we want to move? Or do we want to stay here because we just moved? If the deputy mayor allows us to stay here then, that’s fine. We can stay here until December 7.

For Buhlmann, he says he’ll keep coming by each day to check on his neighbors at Tent City 3.

“It’s a lot easier than a lot of people may think to end up without a roof over your head,” he said.

Tent City 3 is holding an emergency meeting with campers Monday night to see how the city of Seattle is responding.

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