Charlie, Cliff, and I spent about an hour there a couple of Sundays ago. We took books and warm clothes to deliver. I can sort of see problems with well-intentioned/fair minded press coverage. It’s a complex scene.
Excellent music on a performance space/stage while we were there. Library and medical tents seemed well set up and managed.
There was an ecumenical Spiritual Tent which was interesting with sort of a combo Eastern and Rasta vibe, although we’ve met mainstream clergy who participate, but don’t live there.
There are far more people who sort of have one foot in each world – – working full or part-time jobs, going to school, and spending some nights in tents – – than the press indicates.
Food areas seemed reasonably stocked; people donate bushels of fresh fruit, everything imaginable for sandwiches, cold drinks. Not sure what else.
Women’s tent; various meetings; wooden walkways above the mud; clever signs and banners
There are some hardcore homeless (whose existence on the street of course makes one of the points of the movement) whose obvious and disruptive mental illnesses can be met only with food, clothing, and uneasy sympathy.
And true, there are a few pain in the butt stoned or drunk or belligerent or wildly egotistical jerks who have very little effect on the organization at large, but whose antics are cheap/easy shots for the media.