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“The whole impetus for doing this is to see the restoration of the village — everywhere.” The community structure of Dignity Village hardly qualifies it as a utopia.
“The community aspect here is pretty cool — not always, though,” says Lisa. We will fight like cats and dogs.” Yet, Lisa also recalls the time a few years back when there was a fire in her structure.
The first-ever Socialist Alternative Party member of Seattle’s city council, Sawant is recalling a recent council meeting at which a homeless woman spoke about her experience trying to find a place to sleep.
“The only shelter she was offered was shelter where she couldn’t take her pet cat,” Sawant recalls.
The council unanimously agrees to provide five dollars to cover five bottles of bleach from Dollar Tree.
Somebody utters the word “cesspool.” Another says he went in there and “the floor is mushy.” Tumbleweed, who sits in a wheelchair with long gray hair in a braid down his back, and a cigarette dangling out of his mouth, beseeches the Golden Rule of homeless living: “You pack it in, you pack it out,” he says.
n 2001, a group of homeless people In Portland, Oregon, set up a campsite under a downtown bridge.
The woman chose to remain homeless rather than give up her cat. ” Sawant asks, her tears clearing and her gaze now sharp.At the village’s council meeting one evening in the fall of 2016, the topic of conversation turns to JD and Ruthie’s place in the village. The couple recently moved out of Dignity Village to an apartment, but their extreme hoarding and the property damage they generated, including stashing urine-filled bottles, has rendered their unit potentially uninhabitable for future residents.Rick, who, like many of the subjects interviewed for this story, requested that his last name not be used, makes a proposal to allot some of the village’s surplus funds this month toward bleach — to get the urine smell out.They are experiments in conscious, communal living, of living along with, not just alongside, neighbors.The people who live in these villages, people who have become homeless for all sorts of reasons, all share one simultaneously heartbreaking and liberating quality: They have lost everything.