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Yakima’s Homeless Might Have a New Place to Stay

Yakima’s homeless could soon be able stay on an acre of land just east of town.

The Yakima City Council approved a new location Tuesday for a homeless encampment. The city-owned site is a one-acre lot east of Interstate 82 and next to the Yakima waste water treatment facility.

Mayor Kathy Coffey said that she knows it’s a field and it is cut back at this time, and thought how nice it would be.

Transform Yakima, a coalition of churches, would oversee the encampment with a goal of reintegrating homeless people back into society. But the organization still needs funding from the Yakima Valley Conference of Governments to set up the camp.

City Manager Cliff Moore says the plan is to house the homeless in military-style dormitory tents. There would be a cap on the number of tent occupants, and tenants would have to register, and they’d be required to enter and leave through a controlled exit.

Council member Carmen Mendez noted the irony of putting people who some might consider human waste next to the waste water treatment facility.

Meanwhile, time is running short for the council to resolve the homeless question — winter shelters are set to close March 22.

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