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Waiting on a Hope and a Dream
by Richard Cordova (January 2020)

I recently heard rumors of the first camp city that had been thrown together by some very determined and sincere people. They had organized a council that would oversee trash and general behavior, as well as they possibly could.


So, it began.


The city watched how it grew. It stayed, for the time being anyway, but then, after thinking this might be a permanent comfort base, so to speak, the city sent in the HOT Team with police force back up to tear it down.


Later, when the first tent city that I stayed in came to be, it was right next to the Springs Rescue Mission. Why it grew through to the tire store parking lot was a mystery to me. For some reason, once again, the homeless formed a council. Someone, I assume the rescue mission, put in portable toilets which soon filled to overcapacity. I think the mission's security team and the tire store put a person in also.


Once again, this camp captured the imagination of the homeless community, and it continued to grow. Of course, like a slap in the face, out of nowhere, the city came in and threw them out. This time they gave us time to move and find a place to go. News people, average citizens, churches, and of course, mission people all came. I should have guessed this, but there was less than a hand full of people that moved all their belongings and cleaned up their mess. All the rest left everything in that atrocious, filthy, tent city for someone else to clean up. The city put two, huge dumpsters next to the tent city, and it still took over a month to restore the parking lot.


More recently there was “The Quarry.” I didn't live in this little city, but I had friends staying there. When I took a good look around, I couldn't believe it. The place was enormous! They had dug a fire pit fifty feet long and twenty feet wide. It was large with enough fire coals for a little city. The city first sent in the fire department's outreach team to give first aid and Hep A shots and meet to see what we had become. Then word came that everyone except a small group had to go. But as the last clean-up was done, everyone was finally informed that they had to go. This time it was tractors and machinery that did the work.


Hopefully, by now, anyone thinking of building a camp city should remember it was all a forlorn hope and dream.

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