Tent City 4, a homeless encampment that travels to churches and other houses of worship throughout the Eastside, will again be in Woodinville starting April 21. The (WUUC) will host the Tent City 4 community of about 100 people for 90 days.
“Hospitality and compassion are at the core of our religious tradition,” said Lois Van Leer, pastor of the church. “It is a privilege for us to once again host Tent City 4 and its occupants. Of course our wish would be that the causes of homelessness be eradicated and that there would be no need for tent cities. But until that time comes, we will continue to open our church home to those who are homeless.”
WUUC is accepting donations to support the people in Tent City 4 in an effort to ensure the residents receive a hot meal every evening. Anyone interested in helping to plan, prepare, and serve a meal for up to 100 people can sign up by clicking here.
The church is also accepting donations of:
- Sleeping bags
- Personal hygiene items
- Warm clothing
Tent City 4 has not been without controversy in Woodinville. In the summer of 2006, organizers sought to extend the encampment’s stay in the city of Woodinville, only to be met with an eviction notice that was appealed to the highest court in Washington.
In 2009, the State Supreme Court judged in favor of Woodinville’s Northshore United Church of Christ’s right to host Tent City 4, the city had sought to keep the homeless community from staying in Woodinville because there was development moratorium in place at the time. The court's unanimous ruling declared the city violated the state constitution's First Amendment right to religious freedom.
Rather than seeking to impose reasonable conditions on the Church's project to protect the safety and peace of the neighborhood, the City categorically prevented the Church from exercising what the City concedes was a religious practice, wrote Justice James Johnson in the Supreme Court’s ruling for the majority. Since the ruling, Tent City 4 has continued to travel around the Eastside.