I met Robert on rainy day in Nickelsville, a tent community near downtown Seattle. Actually, I was introduced to Robert by someone who suggested his gardening skills would make a good story.
“It’s hard being homeless”, Robert says while he explains to me that Nickelsville is a “step up” from the streets. Robert says that when you’re homeless people look down on you and they think everyone is a alcoholic or drug addict, when the truth is some people just had a bad break in life.
One of the many things homeless services can learn from tent communities is that kicking people out during the day is not a solution to ending homelessness. I wrote a little about that here: Homeless Services: We Can Do Better.
Robert loves flowers. In the short time he has called Nickelsville home he has transformed the ground by his tent into a flourishing garden. Completely unplanned, Robert takes me on a short tour of his garden, which ends with a small tree he is trying to save. Robert says the tree represents Nickelsville trying to grow straight up.
I hope you enjoy meeting Robert as much as I did.