KENT, Wash. - There’s a problem no one denies: The homeless population in Kent continues to grow but the resources do not. The problem is especially pronounced for women and children.
Right now there's one day center, Kent Hope, located on 9009 Canyon Dr. Since opening in December, it's helped more than 80 women and 10 children. It's open daily from 7 am to 9 pm, after that, different churches around town host the women overnight. Then in the morning, Kent Hope shuttles them back. That's been the only solution, until now.
“It's a community issue and we need community support. There's men out there, still living on the streets too and we have a sense of urgency to help them as well,” said board member Susan Summerman.
Thanks to various church fundraisers, Kent Hope has more than $400,000 and is ready to build a facility downtown.
“The homeless in Kent are downtown. We think it would be better used if it were in walking distance,” said Summerman.
Kent Hope has found four locations for a shelter, including one on the west side of downtown, ready to serve 60 men and women 24/7. But none of the sites have been welcomed with open arms
“There's a perception out there that the city doesn't want to do anything. We spend almost $500,000 a year on homeless services. We are working with community partners in a very big way,” said Kent City Council President Dana Ralph.
The city said the location just can't be downtown. They're hoping for a location along the bus route just outside the downtown core.
“We’re trying to revitalize the downtown and make it feel comfortable and unfortunately that's hard trying to balance those two groups,” added Ralph.
Homeless advocate groups are meeting again in June with the city. All hope to have a compromise before the end of the year.
For more on how you can help, visit: kenthope.org