Tacoma residents weighed in on a plan to allow for more shelters and more resources for homeless people during a public hearing at Tacoma City Hall Tuesday night.
City leaders have already extended an emergency declaration until the end of the year, but extending a plan including shelters and additional resources through 2018 would cost nearly $7 million.
It’s a cost some say is worth it.
"I do have the shelter in my backyard, and I’m delighted to have it there," said Theresa Powers of Tacoma.
There are currently around 90 people at the city's first sanctioned homeless shelter, which costs taxpayers $3.4 million and the city wants to keep it open through 2018
"I think the extension to 185 days is a really good thing," said Al Ratcliff of Tacoma
Some city leaders are also looking to share the job, allowing churches and non-profits to host temporary homeless shelters.
But the biggest concern for residents was about what happens after the shelters and after the extensions.
"Its less of a homelessness crisis and more of an affordable housing crisis that’s driving homelessness in the city right now," said Tacoma resident Andrew Pitn
There’s a significant need. The city estimates there are nearly 7,000 individuals and families on a waitlist for public housing in Tacoma.
"Of course, we need affordable housing and we need permanent affordable housing," said Powers.
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