Yakima homeless shelter doubles its capacity

Portables will provide additional housing at Camp Hope
Camp Hope Yakima Portables
Credit: Camp Hope
Camp Hope is converting several portable classrooms into temporary housing, which will more than double capacity at its Yakima homeless shelter.

YAKIMA, Wash. —  Camp Hope is converting several portable classrooms into temporary housing, which will more than double capacity at its Yakima homeless shelter.

The shelter has been hovering near its current capacity of 100 people, but once they’re finished repurposing the portables, they’ll be able to house near 220.

“We’re just super excited for them to be in place, be able to move people in and have some extended capacity,” Camp Hope Director Mike Kay said.

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Camp Hope’s regular shelter is comprised of outdoor, military-style tents without brick-and-mortar wall. That will change with the addition of four classroom portables, each of which is about 28 feet wide by 64 feet long.

Each portable can house about 36 people and will be dived in half to form two pods inside each structure, for a capacity of about 18 people per pod. One portable will house adult women in each of its pods and a second will house adult men.

Another portable will be divided further to create small spaces where families can stay together. Kay said they should be able to house between 10 and 15 families there.

The last portable will help fill a large need in the community for a permanent shelter for young people. Kay said while Rod’s House operates a small permanent shelter in Sunnyside and will put up homeless youth in need of shelter in local motels in Yakima, they do not have a permanent shelter in the city.

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Kay said right now, the plan is to have young adults ages 18 to 24 stay there, with one pod for men and another for women. He said he also hopes to get permission from regulatory authorities to be able to house those ages 16 and older as unaccompanied minors, to give them a safe, warm place to stay.

Camp Hope was able to purchase the portables with the help of funding from Yakima County commissioners, who awarded the shelter a grant last year to help them expand to accommodate more people.

“There was a whole lot that went into that; the facilities team at the county did a great job putting it all together,” Kay said.

Kay said while the project is a little behind schedule due to the recent snows and high winds, they hope to have the portables ready to go within two to three weeks.

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