In Praise of Once-Canvas Slums. Consider Modern Ripstop, Health And Safety Incl.

A Black and White photo of an Alaska gold rush tent city
Gold was discovered on the beaches of Nome, Alaska in the summer of 1899. By the spring of 1900, thousands had arrived for the gold rush.

Around the world, tent encampments have been a sensible, practical alternative to more permanent housing when none other is available. Search Wikimedia Commons for ‘tents’ to reveal some of the far-flung places they have been employed. Such use of temporary shelter was perfectly appropriate and perfectly dignified.

And yet . . . currently, and also around the world, many communities have a mad-on against homeless people using tents. In the face of an affordable housing crisis, when tents might be perfectly necessary and appropriate, the mere sight of them is met with resentment, hostility, and their occupants are demonized to the point of legally pronouncing them criminals.

How come?

The following lengthy article unpacks this animosity towards an affordable housing crisis that everywhere currently lacks adequate, more permanent, solutions. The article makes a case for more practical, sensible approaches that some communities are already exploring. Read more in The Christian Science Monitor: Disband homeless camps? Some cities rethink them instead.