Introducing Camp Second Chance

Camp Second Chance is a self-governed community of people who are currently unhoused. The residents live in tents and, soon, in wooden “micro-homes.” Members of the community agree to abide by a strict Code of Conduct; drugs, alcohol, and abusive or disruptive behavior are forbidden within the camp. Each camper is required to work “security” a certain number of hours per week; the front desk is staffed around the clock.

This structured environment provides stability for the people who live at Camp Second Chance. The stated goals of the camp are:

  1. To provide a safe, ethical, compassionate community for people suffering from homelessness, so they can have a safe place to sleep tonight and a safe place to leave their belongings tomorrow while they go to work or look for work.
  2. To move camp residents up and out into indoor housing as quickly as possible.
  3. To be ethical and kind neighbors to everyone in our neighborhood (housed or unhoused).

Each new member of the camp receives this advice:

“Staying with us here at Camp Second Chance will mean being clean, sober, and drug free, as well as eager to learn how to help others. We have many knowledgeable campers who are happy to cross-train, and by joining us, we expect you to bring your own knowledge, and be ready to learn the hard lessons of self-governance and outdoor living.”

The Sponsor: Patacara Community Services

Patacara Community Services was founded to cultivate and empower grassroots projects responding to arising needs. Camp Second Chance is such a project, and our sponsorship of the camp is currently our principle focus. We practice  “Bearing Witness”, a service concept driven by compassionate listening and mindfulness. When we bear witness to oppressed communities, we commit to helping them find their own solutions in love and solidarity.

Patacara’s Executive Director Polly Trout has worked with people struggling with the trauma of homelessness for 16 years. The most important thing she has learned in those years is that people can and will find their own solutions if they are given the resources they need in a supportive, compassionate community. Camp Second Chance is proving that this model works.

Patacara applied for and was awarded a contract from the City of Seattle to manage Camp Second Chance, beginning in March, 2017. Thanks to partial funding by the City, the camp now benefits from two full-time employees: a Camp Director to organize day-to-day activities, and a Case Manager to help residents access services, gain employment, and move up and out into indoor housing. Volunteers play a critical role at the camp, providing hot meals, helping with construction of micro-homes, and doing administrative work.

You Can Participate

If you would like to become part of Camp Second Chance, please read about Volunteer Opportunities, which include helping with the construction of “micro-homes,” cooking meals for the camp, and assisting our Case Manager as a Volunteer Housing Advocate.