I met Robert on a 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 an 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.