SPOKANE, Wash. - Concerns over a homeless family living in a backyard of a Hillyard home prompted neighbors to reach out to KXLY4.
The family is living without running water, electricity and a bathroom. With temperatures dipping below freezing, neighbors want to help the family with two young children, ages 8 and 10, living outside.
"They're there at night with bonfires. The last few nights, the kids have been sleeping in vehicles out in front of the house," Lori Rayburn, a neighbor, said.
Residents say they've tried calling Crime Check, Child Protective Services and the landlord for help, but haven't gotten anywhere.
KXLY spoke to the family off camera Tuesday. They say a series of setbacks have left them broke and homeless. The father figure in the family says he's on a fixed income and can't work because of a disability. He spent money fixing up the house, but got kicked out after six months on September 8.
The landlord said he evicted them because they didn't pay rent and trashed the home.
With nowhere to turn, the family set up camp in the backyard of the house they were evicted from. They built a make-shift shelter out of wood, tarp and blankets.
"It just breaks my heart," Rayburn said. "The parents, obviously, can make their own choices, but the kids can't make a choice."
The family told KXLY that friends dropped off warm clothes and shoes for the kids Tuesday afternoon.
There are local resources available to families down on their luck:
SNAP offers free childcare for up to 90 days as parents find housing or employment. The organization has a list of shelters, laundry and shower facilities, and resources to help with things like bus passes and medical clinics here.
The Salvation Army is one of the only shelters that takes in all family members. It offers housing on a month-to-month basis.
Catholic Charities helps place families in temporary housing. Call (509) 325-5005 to set up an appointment. Someone will answer the phone 24/7. They also have walk-in hours Monday-Thursday from 12:30 p.m.-5 p.m. at 19 W. Pacific.
And Spokane Cares has a full list of resources for anyone who needs help with homelessness.