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Inslee congratulates service providers who ran Spokane's Camp Hope

Doug Nadvornick/Spokane Public Radio
Washington Governor Jay Inslee made a brief stop at the state parcel in east Spokane that once was the site for the Camp Hope compound for people who are homeless.

Three weeks ago, Spokane’s Camp Hope closed after several months serving as a center for unhoused people.

A team led by the state Departments of Commerce and Transportation worked with local non-profits to find permanent homes for many of the camp’s residents. The population at one time exceeded 600.

There's not much left to remind people that this is was once a camp for people who are homeless.
Doug Nadvornick/Spokane Public Radio
There's not much left to remind people that this is was once a camp for people who are homeless.

Today, Governor Jay Inslee came back to the land it occupied to congratulate some of the people who ran the facility.

“This team worked diligently for months to have a real solution to this, to get people housed so they just don’t chase them here to another part of the neighborhood," he said.

Inslee credited the state for its role in providing resources, both financial and human, to slowly, gradually move people out of the camp. The Department of Commerce allocated $24 million in Right of Way Safety Initiative funding to bankroll the process of matching people with services and housing. He says that strategy is also being used in other Washington cities.

Inslee said local leaders, whether they agree with the process used or not, should join him in rejoicing that the compound is now history and that many who camped there now enjoy stable lives.

"We want to end homelessness. We don’t want these folks going out through the Spokane neighborhood being unhoused. It’s bad for them. It’s bad for the families. It’s bad for the neighborhood. And this team here stuck to it, through thick and thin, to get this job done,"

At least two of the providers said they appreciated the partnership with the state.

Julie Garcia from Jewels Helping Hands says she's happy that the state wanted to find a deeper solution than just moving people out of the camp.

"Not only did they get housing, but they were able now to maintain housing on their own as productive members of society because they got the opportunity to employment that they never got before," she said.

“I appreciate so much that we were able to partner as a local community, as people with lived experience, as community-based agencies and that we could find those creative solutions," said Layne Pavey from Revive Reentry Services.

"We could come together and say this is how we triage and save lives. This is how we use peer navigators to help people search for housing, search for opportunities to stabilize themselves and then allow us to build on what’s the next housing option as we got the camp stabilized. It was just a beautiful process to be a part of," she said.

Dozens of Camp Hope residents now live at the Catalyst Building on Sunset Hill, a converted hotel now run by Catholic Charities. Inslee visited there this afternoon after his stop at Camp Hope.

One of the Northwest's most seasoned reporters is returning to his SPR roots. Doug Nadvornick will be heard frequently on KPBX and KSFC reporting on local news.