‘I’d rather die’: Some people without homes chose not to go to the warming center

SPOKANE, Wash — The City of Spokane and the Guardians Foundation added more mats and expanded space inside the Spokane Convention Center on Tuesday to accommodate people coming into the warming center.

At its peak on Monday night, there were 193 people staying there. Not everyone without a home is taking advantage of the warming center. Many at the tent city, or Camp Hope on 2nd at Ray are choosing not to leave.

Helen Clemp said she considered going to the warming center but ultimately decided not to.

“I would rather die than leave my family and my friends behind,” she said.

For her, Camp Hope has become family.

“I’ve been alone my whole life,” Clemp said. “I’ve been a foster kid. And I’m tired of being alone, so I made everybody my family

“I don’t feel like being crowded with a whole bunch of people,” said Britney Zuniga. “I mean, we kind of got a camp here, a family.”

With temperatures expected to hit single digits, Tammy Handy is choosing to utilize the resource.

Moving cross-country, she would’ve otherwise been on the streets if it weren’t for the warming center.

“It’s too darn cold,” Handy said. “It’ll kill my dogs. Especially, we were sleeping in the truck, which gets too cold.”

Clemp is one of more than 70 people staying at Camp Hope, Tuesday night. They have been given the option to leave.

The Spokane Fire Department says it stopped by Camp Hope to provide bus passes for them to go to the warming center.

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