'Nickelsville' celebrates milestone with double-weddingon May 11, 2012 @ 3:33 pm (Updated: 8:15 am - 5/13/12 )
The tent city, not-so-affectionately named after former Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels, moved to its current location at Marginal Way SW and Highland Park Way SW in West Seattle on May 13, 2011, after leaving the previous location in Lake City.
The anniversary marks the longest period the encampment has gone without being forced to relocate since its creation in 2008, and the day will be celebrated with a double wedding.
"My mother said that if we get any cold feet to let her know and she'll mail us some socks," said Thelema Johnson, who goes by the name T.J. She and her fiance, Charlie Smith, met at Nickelsville eight months ago and plan to marry there on Sunday.
"He was very quiet, didn't speak any words or anything, but he had very cute, curly hair," T.J. said of the first time she met Smith. "Then it got very, very cold out and we were talking about just cuddling for winter nights."
The two now live together inside an 8X12 foot makeshift home on the grounds, but most people at Nickelsville live in tents. Residents, who are often called "Nickelodeons," hope that the camp can stay in its current location and continue to evolve.
"The struggle isn't over, by any means," a Nickelsville spokesperson said in a statement. "The City of Seattle still will not recognize our existence, and we therefore lack either police protection or on site utilities. We never know what the next day holds."
On Friday, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn announced a six-year plan to address the city's homeless population. The Communities Supporting Safe and Stable Housing Investment Plan maintains funding for the homeless, but shifts the focus from shelter and services to prevention.
"The City of Seattle provides more than $35 million a year for services for homeless people," McGinn said. "This draft plan provides a framework for how we invest taxpayer dollars and provide homeless services in order to help prevent people from becoming homeless in the first place."
McGinn said the plan provides a framework for investments in prevention, intervention, stabilization and support of the homeless population in Seattle through 2018.
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