Tacoma develops temporary emergency shelter program

The City of Tacoma is putting together an emergency temporary shelter program in response to the homelessness crisis in the city.

Some say the City of Tacoma is starting to wake up to its homeless crisis.

"As a community I think it takes some leadership to say we need to address this issue, and this is how we’re going to do it," said Odette D'Aniello, a business owner in the Tacoma Dome District.

D'Aniello says she’s happy to hear that the city is working to develop an emergency temporary shelter program in response to the homelessness crisis in the city.

"I'm not a politician,” D'Aniello said. “I really don’t have any position except for the fact that as a community, as businesses owners, as a human being, I don't think living in the streets is a way for human beings to exist.”

Last week city council passed a resolution which asks the city’s interim manager to “promptly” put together an emergency temporary shelter plan. It says since 2010, the unsheltered population has increased by 192 percent.

City leaders have been working on that plan for the last week.

A spokesperson for the city said Monday that the interim city manager didn’t have time to provide an update on the where the plan is to date.

This comes after the city cleared out what was known as one of its largest homeless encampments, the Tacoma Jungle. At point, more than 100 people were living under the Interstate 5/Interstate 705 corridor. Now many have moved to underneath a nearby bridge.

There were only a few, like a man named Benny, who said he lived in the Jungle for a few days, who opted for shelter.

"Yeah I went to the mission. I don't like living outside I like living inside," Benny said.

But Benny says he can’t stay there for long and says the city can’t continue to rely on overcrowded shelters to house homeless people.

"They’re depending on the mission and the nativity house,” Benny said. “Where are they going to go? There isn’t nowhere to put them.”

© 2017 KING-TV


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