Yakima city council approves new location for a homeless camp

Dozens of Yakima residents and business owners packed city hall Tuesday night.

They were present to tell council they were against the proposed homeless camp location.

Before they got a chance to voice their opinion the council decided not to accept the proposed site, but go with another one.

"Really overwhelmed with joy right now about the whole situation, just knowing that my kids are going to be safe and that's one less thing we have to worry about," said Yakima Resident Sheena Hanson.

During Tuesday night’s council meeting a resolution for a no-cost lease was approved for a homeless encampment near a city wastewater treatment plant.

It is located behind the former Kmart building.

The motion passed five to two with Carmen Mendez and Avina Gutierrez voting no.

They claimed that it isn't a place for anyone.

"It would be inhumane to place any group of people in an area where there isn't clean running water for sanitary needs and for plumbing," said Councilmember Avina Gutiérrez.

But while some councilmembers believe that it’s not humane

“This is waste human waste, that's a huge irony to me that we're going to put these individuals next to a waste," said Councilmember Carmen Mendez.

The mayor thinks otherwise.

“I thought how nice it would be to be out in the country so to speak because you don't have anything around you," said Mayor Kathy Coffey.

City officials said that this new camp will operate three to four months while they find a long-term location

The new camp site will be managed by transform Yakima Together, a faith based organization 24-hours a day.

The site expected to open when cold weather shelters close mid-march.

"We are really trying the best solution so that we don't put anybody in danger," said Councilmember Avina Gutiérrez.

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