Cities Adjust to Presence of "Tent Cities"

Nashville is just one of many cities that have stopped dispersing and penalizing tent city settlements, but instead are relaxing some regulations and providing basic services.
August 12, 2009, 5am PDT | Michael Dudley
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A number of cities around the United States are facing up to the reality of "tent cities" and other informal settlements. With homeless shelters filled to capacity and little in the way of available and affordable housing, some cities are revising their laws (for example, against sleeping in cars) or, in the case of Nashville, working with nonprofit groups to "arrang[e] for portable toilets, trash pickup, a mobile medical van and visits from social workers. Volunteers bring in firewood for the camp's 60 or so dwellers."

However, not all cities are on board, and there is also a NIMBY backlash against tent cities from nearby homeowners, as is the case with Tampa's "Stop Tent City" coalition.

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Published on Tuesday, August 11, 2009 in Wall Street Journal
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