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Yakima Neighbors voice their concerns for a possible permanent homeless shelter

Permanent Homeless Shelter.JPG

YAKIMA Wash. -- Community members in Yakima are voicing their opinions on whether to make a temporary homeless shelter permanent.

Most people spoke against the permanent shelter during a city hall hearing examiner meeting.

Several Business owners and families living on Englewood Avenue near the temporary Transform Yakima Together homeless shelter say making it permanent can affect their community.

Cathy Clark owns All Weather Storage which is located near the shelter, and she says it is causing many businesses in the area to lose cliental.

“Crime has gone up in our area, my business is right next door. We’ve had problems and issues with people from Camp Hope,” said Clark.

A neighbor Lisa Castillo says she is concerned about her children’s safety, and not being able to use the only park in the area.

“My fear is that if the people aren’t let in, where are they going to go? I use the park, families use the park, children use the park and what are we going to do? It’s just a last-minute decision that doesn’t need to be a last-minute decision,” said Castillo.

The organization Transform Yakima Together operates temporary homeless shelters such as Camp Hope behind the former Kmart, and now the emergency winter shelter on Englewood Avenue that is being considered for permanency.

Executive Director for Transform Yakima Together Andy Ferguson says, they are listening to people’s concerns about the shelter and want to continue to reach out to the community, and incorporate the community in the solution.

“Bring the neighborhoods in and say hey what can we do together like maybe we can have community volunteers to work with us on our outreach team and control neighborhoods and our vehicles at night and help take care of some of those issues they are concerned about,” said Ferguson.

If the request for permanency is denied, Ferguson says they will have to move everyone back to their previous temporary shelter - Camp Hope.

The city’s hearing examiner now has 10 days to either approve or deny the permanency of the emergency homeless shelter.

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