for a while." Long-term readers of this blog (all two or three of them) will probably remember well the efforts of Nashville's advocates and service providers (self included) to keep our local and largest homeless encampment, Tent City, from being closed. Every rationale that could be put forward by police and some city officials was utilized, and while my advocate friends hate to admit this, many of those rationales had at least some merit, which is why they happen to be used so successfully at times in other cities by cops and local government to raze encampments with no repercussions, save a few comments to the editor in the local paper. And it's definitely truth that anyone who has spent any time at all in a homeless encampment knows that there can indeed be issues with sanitation, human waste, criminal concealment, etc. Those things often do happen, especially when camps are first established, and to deny or gloss over them I think does a disservice to the population of the camp. Trivializing or minimizing these "concerns" can often seed the minds of those in favor of closure with the idea we're not being honest about the reality and therefore, are not to be trusted. It's exactly the same mentality we advocates bring to the table when we hear officials trot out the claims to close the camp in the first place, yes? The good news for advocates is that in each of the rationales punted out by officials, it doesn't take much to remedy the problems if the people who can assist with the necessary resources are both inclined and committed to providing some solutions. Addressing the physical, logistical and environmental challenges involved with an operating camp has been going on for as long as people have been gathering in groups for survival and there is a sort of primal recognition about what needs to be done in a camp by most of its residents almost from the start. The majority of those who work to assist the homeless recognize the importance of addressing the Maslovian shelter need, no doubt. But I think they understand one additional important aspect of encampments that seems to often escape those clamoring for their closures. The fact is, in many cities, Nashville included, a functioning, coordinated, and maintained Tent City - especially one set up like the Camp that washed away during the historic flood of 2010 - is about the closest the city comes to a real Housing First program. Outreach specialists, social workers, food-service providers, even police (although they don't often publicly admit it) know well that having folks in one area makes finding and accessing them to provide services and protection a helluva lot easier than when folks are scattered and hiding out of fear of persecution, attacks, mental illness or any one of a hundred and one other reasons folks on the street keep low profiles. read more Stone Soup Station: "Fresno homeless camp scheduled for demolition has been spared -- at least for a while."