Business leaders, community members, discuss homeless issue

Business leaders, community members, discuss homeless issue

YAKIMA, WA — Business leaders and organizations are looking at different ways to solve the homeless problem in downtown Yakima.

The Greater Yakima Chamber of Commerce hosted the open discussion Tuesday afternoon, with a panel consisting of members from Yakima Neighborhood Health Services, the Homeless Housing Program, and Justice Housing.

Some options being considered by the panel include raising funds to provide affordable housing, and designating a homeless encampment area within the city.

However, several chamber members expressed concern about the location of the housing and encampments — citing the apparent affect the homeless population has had on the downtown area.

“I’m looking at the faces of these business people, they’re not happy,” said board of directors member Mike Bastinelli, “[they] want solution, because their business, their whole life savings, their whole livelihood depends on their business,” he continued, “And I don’t think that you guys quite understand that.”

The Yakima City Council will hold a special meeting Wednesday morning to discuss a proposal to create a temporary homeless encampment with the Sunrise Outreach Center.