Camp Hope tries to get the homeless out of the cold
YAKIMA, Wash. - Camp Hope is Yakima's homeless tent camp that sits behind the old K-mart and houses about 50 people.
The camp opened this past March, meaning it has yet to experience a winter. Camp Hope Director Michael Kay said they are preparing by trying to secure an indoor shelter.
"In the winter months, they’re not able to sleep outside, it's very cold, it’s very dangerous,” Kay said. “So we want to be able to bring them indoors."
Kay said the indoor shelter will be for its current residents, but they also hope to expand.
"We're looking to be able to house anywhere from 70 to 80 people and so we’re looking at having to increase the population, at least have the ability to absorb that if we have another severe winter, like last winter,” he said. “Cause our heart is not to turn anyone away that needs a warm place to stay."
Kay said the indoor facility would be outside of downtown Yakima but still on a transit line so people can easily get around to doctors’ appointments.
Keith Herring lives at Camp Hope and said he appreciates the community helping as temperatures have dropped.
"We've had a lot of people from various businesses that came in and donated jackets, warm clothing and stuff,” Herring said. “The community has reached out to us, they’ve also provided us with meals and dinner and stuff like that."
While Camp Hope residents move to an indoor facility, Kay said the outdoor facility will undergoing renovations.
Camp Hope officials are working with City Council to establish a long-term lease and expand services such as having running water on site.
Kay said discussions of expanding Camp Hope will be brought up at the City Council meeting on October 17.