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Camp Hope extending into Fall, search continues for permanent location

Leaders at Camp Hope say the temporary encampment will remain open until early November as they continue to search for a permanent location.

YAKIMA, Wash.- 115 North Pierce Avenue was supposed to be Yakima's permanent homeless shelter come July. However, leaders of Transform Yakima Together say another buyer bought the space before some needed grant money was approved for them by YVCOG.

Yakima's temporary homeless encampment, Camp Hope has been running since late March with hopes for a permanent facility by July.

The camp is operated by the Christian-based non-profit, Transform Yakima Together.

With the loss of their prospective property, the organization is now looking for other options and likely staying put till the city's deadline of November 15th.

"You know we've got our eyes on a few pieces of property, but without funding approval we can't really start negotiating,” said Andy Ferguson, Executive Director for Transform Yakima Together.

Leaders at Camp Hope have applied for two grants through YVCOG to fund the permanent shelter, totaling just over $500,000. The grants would cover 80% of funding, the other 20% is dependent on community support which they may have already found.

"We created some relationships that are now assisting us with a new property in terms of looking and both acquiring and having the resources to move into it," said Ferguson, not wanting to elaborate.

Until then, things at Camp Hope continue to operate smoothly with no major incidents and at least six residents able to move into permanent housing and maintain jobs.

"The support they give us is wonderful. It's just hard for me to describe exactly how this place has changed me,” said Scott McKay, a resident at Camp Hope.

The camp has also recently expanded with a new women's tent and a shower trailer that was brought in early this morning, complete with a laundry facility.

"Most of the people here all want to work. It's just when you walk into an employer and you have dirty clothes and you smell and things like that, it's very difficult for that employer to give you a job," said Mike Kay, Director of Camp Hope.

Leaders of the camp say it's just another way to better equip residents for the next step.

"We're trying to take out all barriers that would prevent them from being sustainable on their own," said Kay.

A much needed helping hand.

"It's a stepping stone that you don't find in very many places," said McKay.

If you'd like to check out the camp yourself to see all they're doing to help our community's homeless their staff invites you down to tour the camp or share a meal with them.

And if you'd like to volunteer or make a donation to Camp Hope, you can find information on how to do so here.

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