Toppenish winter weather shelter will open this year thanks to YVFWC

Toppenish Homeless Shelter

TOPPENISH, Wash. — After months of uncertainty, Camp Hope director Mike Kay said the Toppenish winter weather shelter will be able to open this year, thanks to funding from Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic.

“They’ve been more than generous,” Kay said.

YVFWC already donates the use of the shelter space, which they own, as well as paying for the utilities. Kay said they’re donating $124,000 to fund the entire four-month operation at the shelter.

The 24-hour winter weather shelter will provide a safe, warm place to sleep for about 60 people experiencing homelessness in the Lower Yakima Valley. Kay, who’s in charge of operations for the Toppenish shelter, said it’s a resource that’s desperately needed.

Kay said in previous years, they’ve been able to get $80,000 from the county to help fund operations, but Camp Hope has had to provide $50,000 in its own donated funds.

When the county opened up applications for the funding for the Toppenish shelter over the summer, Kay said the amount offered was $40,000 instead of $80,000. He said since the shelter costs about $31,000 per month, they didn’t apply for the funding.

However, now that they have the funding from YVFWC, Kay said he plans to try to apply for the $40,000 from the county to try to offset the cost of operations for YVFWC.

“They’ve already done more than enough,” Kay said.

The shelter opened Nov. 15 last year, but Kay said the earliest they might be able to open this year is Dec. 1. He said that’s because they need to get the necessary permits from the Toppenish City Council, get the restrooms in the building operational and hire staff to run the shelter.

Additionally, Kay said they’re in need of blankets, sleeping bags and tents for the residents who will be using the shelter to get out of the cold.