Pros and cons with the new Yakima homeless encampment

YAKIMA, WA - Tuesday night, the Yakima City Council approved a new location for a homeless encampment. The encampment would be on a one-acre plot of land on city-owned property in a rural area of town, unlike last year's encampment.

The new camp would be located east of I-82 and right next to the Waste Water Treatment Facility.

"You know, it's a field and it is cut back at this time, and I thought how nice it would be," said Yakima Mayor Kathy Coffey.

Transform Yakima, an organization of churches, would be in charge. They hope to reintegrate homeless back into society.

"Their plan is to have military-style dormitory tents," says Yakima City Manager Cliff Moore. "There would be a maximum number of occupant tents in the encampment, people would have to register and there would be a controlled entrance and exit."

Some council members have concerns about the location.

"In essence, a lot of people do consider homeless individuals as human waste," said council member Carmen Mendez, "so that's a huge irony to me that we're putting these people next to a waste water treatment center."

Transform Yakima still needs to get funding from the Yakima Valley Conference of Governments to set up the camp.

And with winter weather shelters closing on the 22nd of this month, the council is racing against time to make sure they have a place for the homeless.

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