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Homeless tent camp offering shelter for families

Homeless tent camp offering shelter for families

YAKIMA, Wash. - After giving up the fight to become a permanent indoor homeless shelter on Englewood Avenue, Transform Yakima Together is moving back to Camp Hope next to the city's wastewater treatment plant.

Transform Yakima wrote a letter to the city last month asking for changes to their lease contract at their old location so they can have similar amenities such as running water that they now have at the indoor shelter.

Executive Director of Transform Yakima Together Andy Ferguson said he doesn't want to take a step back.

He said after opening the winter shelter he realized the need families have for a shelter like this.

"When we opened the winter shelter we were overwhelmed with the needs of families," Ferguson said. "Day one we had women standing in line waiting to get in and its been full the entire time."

The camp was previously not allowed to house people under the age of 18 but at Tuesday night's city council meeting, the council voted 5-1 to allow families and children to live at the camp as long as those families' living space is separate and guarded from the rest of the group.

However, the council didn't address all of Transform Yakima's requests, although they said they will in the future.

Ferguson said they want sewer and water utilities for the camp site and eventually for the city to find them a permanent shelter.

Mayor Kathy Coffey said the council is in support of a permanent site and is currently working on it.

"We can provide a location and that is something that we're working on at this time," Coffey said. "That would be permanent so that they're not constantly looking for a different location and going throughout the city and then having to move."

Ferguson said the city is working on a permanent building at the Camp Hope location but it could take more than two years to be built.

Transform Yakima has a lease with the city to operate at Camp Hope until November 15, 2020.

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