Yakima Wants Permanent Homeless Housing for Winter - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Yakima Wants Permanent Homeless Housing for Winter

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YAKIMA, WA. -- As the weather gets colder finding a warm place to sleep becomes a top priority for homeless people.

Yakima city leaders met with the local homeless network Monday to work on finding a more permanent solution to the problem.

Yakima's city manager met with the local homeless network Monday to discuss the different options available for housing the homeless. For the past 7 years, Yakima has allowed churches in the area to sidestep fire regulations and shelter people who have no where else to go.

Three churches in Yakima plan to house homeless people for a total of 120 days this winter: the Unitary, the Englewood Christian and the First Baptist Church. The city says these churches cannot continue to provide this winter housing because the risk of fire is too high.

"Every year we get this proposition that we have an emergency to provide shelter for the homeless every winter," Yakima City Manager Tony O'Rourke said. "Eight years in a row is not an emergency. We need to deal with this problem permanently."

 if a fire did break out, these churches do not have the proper sprinkler systems in place to keep everyone safe.

The homeless network says they are close to setting up a permanent housing structure at the corner of Lincoln and Third but remodeling and rezoning will need to be completed before it can open.

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