Camp Quixote, a tent city for homeless residents that began illegally on city property but now is celebrated by city leaders, marked its first anniversary Friday, February 1, according to The Olympian.
The camp is a "safe place to stay after losing a 23-year marriage," said Ani Otto, one of three residents who were part of the original camp.
It started on a city lot near State and Columbia streets as a protest of the city's then-new Pedestrian Interference Ordinance, which prohibits sitting on portions of downtown sidewalks.
Olympia police evicted the camp, and it moved to property owned by Olympia Unitarian Universalist Congregation, followed by United Churches of Olympia, St. John's Episcopal Church, First United Methodist Church and First Christian.
Read it all here.
In other news of churches reaching out to the homeless comes this story of a Whittier, California Coalition and the development of a shelter and programs:
Gilbert said the inspiration for the shelter came when he and other students were sitting in a Quaker meeting on the Whittier College campus, and a homeless man burst in on the meeting asking for help.
"That just got me thinking," Gilbert said. "That really affected me profoundly."
So, Gilbert and his friends found support in the Whittier Area Ecumenical Council, and several churches agreed to help host a
shelter during winter months.
The churches decided that the shelter would rotate to different locations on a weekly basis, and a few supervisors would always be on hand for safety's sake.
Bea Comini, a parishioner at St. Matthias Episcopal Church, was one of the first church volunteers to sign on to the project
"What a testament to the spirit of this town, that they're willing to put church buildings and church volunteers into use in such a way," Gilbert said. "It's hard and it's basically thankless, but it's also important and critical."
In the years since Gilbert and his friends helped start the shelter and staff it overnight, many changes have been made. Now, churches in the area partner with the local mosque and synagogue.
Read it here.