The city of Tacoma is less than two weeks away from opening its first temporary emergency homeless shelter. It will be located at Puyallup Avenue E. and Portland Avenue E., a few blocks south of the Tacoma Dome.
Business leaders in the neighborhood met with city officials Thursday and questioned if the city is prepared to handle the site once it opens June 26.
"We picked a site adjacent to where people already are," Tacoma’s City Manager Elizabeth Pauli said.
Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland addressed concerns about security at the site.
"They will be supervised. There will be security, and it's going to be a deeper dive into outreach to try and transition people into more permanent housing," Strickland said.
Some in the community expressed concern that it will bring more problems.
"Garbage on Puyallup Avenue is atrocious. It's a sickening sight to come down here when the city should be picking that stuff up, and you're going to just draw this mess in and cause more of it down there," one man said.
City leaders asked the neighborhood for patience and support as the city grapples with its homeless crisis.
"It's not going to happen with us rolling them in a van, throwing people in it and driving them off somewhere. That's inhumane, and it's illegal, and we can’t do that," Strickland said. "So I wanted to give you all a chance to understand the long-term phase we're taking here and hopefully a way to mitigate the human suffering, to mitigate the impacts on the neighborhoods and the business districts."
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