MOSES LAKE — With tiny home units being hauled in at a pace of around five per week, the Moses Lake managed homeless camp is set to open its doors in mid-November, said Taylor Burton, housing and grants coordinator for the city.
By then, Burton said he expects around 20 of the units to have been situated, as well as heating areas, bathrooms, and an administrative office to process people coming into the center. Eventually, there will be 35 units, Burton added.
It’s the culmination of years of work to select and develop a site, both as a way to address the homelessness crisis in the county and to allow the city to reintroduce regulations restricting informal homeless camps on public property. The final site, located at the south corner of state Route 17 and East Broadway Avenue, was chosen after an initial site in the Longview Tracts area drew criticism from local residents.
Most of the tiny-home-like shelter units will be filled by beds, while people asking to spend the night will be able to drop off items in storage units at the administrative office. That office will also provide hygiene packs, as well as packaged meals donated by the Community Services of Moses Lake food bank, Burton added.
There will be showers on-site, as well as outdoor warming areas — the tiny-home-like shelter units will not be heated. HopeSource Moses Lake, the organization with which the city contracted to manage the site and perform outreach, will work to get laundry vouchers to those who need them. Meanwhile, Grant Integrated Services will also be working to help homeless individuals at the shelter who may need help with mental health or substance abuse issues, Burton added.
The site is intended as a night-by-night place for people to sleep, Burton said, with homeless people able to check in as early as 6 p.m. and required to leave by 8 a.m. the next morning. Between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m., lodgers will not be allowed to leave the premises and return the same night. Drugs and alcohol will not be allowed on site. Those staying at the facility will be required to clean the area after themselves and not disturb others.
Violators can be asked to leave the premises, and repeat violators can be banned permanently, according to rules adopted by the city council last week.
Pets will be allowed, so long as they are licensed and not dangerous, diseased or aggressive, and as long as their owners immediately clean up after them.
Once the site opens, the city will begin enforcing recently adopted rules against unauthorized camps, according to local law enforcement officials.
The project thus far has been bolstered by volunteers from a number of local organizations, Burton said, and more volunteers are needed moving forward. Those interested in getting involved can reach Burton at firstname.lastname@example.org.