The Yakima Chamber of Commerce played host to a noon hour conversation on the homeless problem and what’s being done to help.   The Yakima Valley Conference of Governments was on hand for a presentation as was Yakima Neighborhood Health.   The picture they paint is of a problem they say is actually shrinking but is not without its controversial intersection with the business community.

Some attendees suggested that the decision by Neighborhood Health to expand operations at the Depot location on Yakima Avenue and to use it as a pick up and drop off spot for transport to cold weather shelters was insensitive to the business community and to the city in general.  Many of the suggested fixes for homelessness wouldn’t  address that aspect very visible and troublesome aspect of homelessness.  But much of the presentation focused on a newly formed group called the Yakima Housing Justice Project based on models out of Oregon.  Realtor John Hodkinson with Almon Commercial is a member of that group who gave an overview as to how it works.

Hodkinson said it would take at least 120-thousand dollars to start in 3 to 6 weeks to get started.  Meantime the city of Yakima has plans to announce a short term solution to the problem of downtown chronic homeless.


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