New encampment opens for homeless in Yakima - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

New encampment opens for homeless in Yakima

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YAKIMA, WA - Wednesday evening in Yakima, more than 40 homeless moved to the new encampment behind the old K-Mart building and next to the Water Waste Treatment Facility, called Camp Hope. 

"We hope to provide a place where they can feel comfortable, they can then settle down a little bit," said Executive Director of Transform Yakima Together, Andy Ferguson. "We give them a trusting environment and the resources they need to move on in life."

The new homeless encampment was created by church group Transform Yakima Together. It has six large tents, and each one accommodates a maximum of twelve people. In addition, they will also be adding smaller tents for couples. The community also has tables and restrooms. People will have transportation options in town. 

David Hawkins is one of the people benefiting from Camp Hope.

"It's some place that I can sleep out of the weather, stay warm, get clean clothes, be able to take a shower, so I can go to job interviews and look presentable," said Hawkins. 

Hawkins lost his best friend to suicide a few years ago and turned to drugs. But now, he's sober, and says that addiction is one of the biggest problems for homeless in Yakima.

"If that were addressed more on the mental illness part of it and the addiction part of it, then I think you would have a lot less homeless people then there are," Hawkins said.

But there's a major concern for the community: will Camp Hope cause problems like last year's encampment?

"It won't be 'come and go as you please,' the guest will actually check in, they'll be registered, they have to agree to a code of conduct," said Ferguson.

The camp will only be open temporarily, but Transform Yakima is in the process of trying to open a permanent shelter. They're hoping it will open by fall.

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