Skip to main content

Department ofReligious Studies


Tent Cities photo

Tent Cities photo

Homelessness and Tent Cities

Boo Riley Organized an Event on Homelessness and Tent Cities

An informative and timely event was held on February 27, in the California Mission Room, entitled:

Tent Cities in Silicon Valley: Homeless Encampments: Practices, Contexts, Policies,

produced by Prof. Boo Riley and featured Chris Herring, a doctoral candidate of Sociology at the University of California Berkeley. His research focuses on the production and regulation of poverty and housing in US cities. Chris has collaborated with the National Coalition on Homelessness,  San Francisco Coalition on Homelessness, Anti-Eviction Mapping Project, and Western Regional Advocacy Project in conducting research and community organizing efforts.

Over the past 15 years, U.S. cities have witnessed a resurgence of large, durable homeless encampments, commonly called tent cities. While the policies leading to the emergence of homeless tent cities are largely similar across localities, the actions taken by communities and local governments in response to their persistence have varied widely, from contestation, toleration, and legalization.  Drawing on interviews with city officials, homeless advocates, service providers, and homeless campers in over a dozen west coast municipalities with tent cities, this talk explained the roots and implications of homeless tent cities and provided lessons for Silicon Valley as it copes with its own homeless encampments.