Less Homeless in Yakima, Despite EconomyPosted: Updated:
YAKIMA, Wash.- The economy has been hurting families across the nation, and that's not any different for people in Yakima.
"It doesn't stop, we're always seeing new faces," said Rick Phillips, the Executive Director at Union Gospel Mission.
"I have seen hundreds of guys coming through the mission," said Kit Stewart, who's been living at the mission for five months.
The mission has enough room for 260 people and they usually have about 160 guests at any given time, but right now, there are only 70.
"We've actually seen the numbers decrease a little bit, really surprising," said Phillips.
The executive director says the majority of their guests are men ages 30 to 40 and many of them are only there temporarily.
"As soon as I got here, I would have been totally homeless...they have bridged the gap for me," said Stewart.
Guests like Kit Stewart are trying to find jobs and make it on their own and the mission is a starting point.
"Meals, place to sleep, support and positive thinking has helped me personally because financially I wouldn't have been able to do that," said Stewart.
Kit has been living at the mission for 5 months but plans to leave soon for a job. But not everyone's as lucky as Kit, and Yakima's high unemployment is making it harder for homeless people to compete.
"I do believe that we're yet to see the worst of what's to come," said Phillips.
And for this very reason, the mission says they're expecting a larger turnout as the economy tightens and the temperatures drop.