REDMOND, Wash. – One Redmond faith leader says his organization has figured out how to provide a safe and clean homeless encampment.
We’ve all seen just how bad it can be. You’ll remember images of the ‘Jungle’ under I-5 in Seattle. Just last week, Seattle police swept another unsanctioned homeless encampment. The trash, the needles, the human waste litter the grounds.
But residents of “Camp Unity Eastside” call their homeless encampment the gold standard.
This weekend, organizers want your help so they can move.
“I make sure that I’m shaved or whatever like because people don’t know until you tell them,” said Camp Unity Eastside member Antowaine Wilburn.
Wilburn has been homeless for the last year. Just days ago, he moved to Camp Unity Eastside in Redmond.
“So I hadn’t slept in like three days so I went right to sleep and I was able to make it to work the next morning. It’s great,” said Wilburn.
Wilburn is just one of 40 people allowed to live here under the camp’s strict code of conduct. No drinking, fighting or doing drugs, among other things.
“We need to see your ID and then we do a warrant check on you and then we do a sex offender check,” said Camp Unity President Michael Grimm.
You have to do a job, too, like kitchen coordinator.
Grimm says those rules helped weed out the troublemakers.
“As the rules became more enforced and the word go out on the streets that you can’t come here to party,” said Grimm.
Grimm says they’re doing things the right way. Even spending $2,000 a month on port-a-potties and dumpsters to keep the place clean. Something Grimm says other homeless encampments do wrong.
“They wait until there’s a big giant mess. Why can’t the city come and provide some dumpsters?” asked Grimm.
One camper tells Q13 News it’s the ‘Hilton for the Homeless’ and the grand jewel…
“We’re very proud of this. This is our portable shower laundry room,” said Grimm.
Hitched on a trailer, it’s a homeless person’s hygiene heaven.
“This provides a washer and dryer, a clean shower inside, we have sinks out here,” said Grimm.
Grimm says his work at Camp Unity Eastside is his religious calling. Since they’re only allowed to stay somewhere for 90 to 120 days, he’s calling on volunteers to help them move to their next site in Woodinville.
“We need volunteers and if you have a cordless screw gun or a trailer, please come on out,” said Grimm.
Grimm says they never overstay their welcome and this weekend it’s time to move on, all in hopes some of the camp’s residents will move out.
“They need help to get out of homelessness and we had a lot of people get housing from the camp and that’s very exciting to us,” said Grimm.
The homeless encampment is run entirely on private donations from companies and individuals. Grimm says campers take shifts providing security and they encourage law enforcement to stop by, too.
The big move from Redmond to Woodinville starts Friday morning.