‘We Aren’t Moving’: Jewels Helping Hands responds to plans to clear Camp Hope

Camp Hope
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SPOKANE, Wash. – Notices posted around Camp Hope on Monday show Jewels Helping Hands has no plans to move people off the Department of Transportation property anytime soon. 

The notices say JHH and people living at the camp are working with the Washington State Department of Transportation to “stabilize the camp with an immediate focus on cleaning up trash and re-arranging RVs in preparation” for the security fencing. 

“The fence will go up sometime this week,” Executive Director of Jewels Helping Hands Julie Garcia said. “They think it will start Wednesday. That’s our date we’re hoping.”

The City of Spokane and now Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich are hoping to clear the camp sooner rather than later. Despite the city setting a deadline, WSDOT has said they have no plans to clear the camp until stable housing is provided to those living there. 

Meantime, Knezovich says he will clear the camp by mid-October through a warrant of abatement that is currently being prepared. 

“There’s a lot of talk circulating on the news and in social media about the Camp, most of it wrong,” the notices say. “While politicians, law enforcement, and lawyers argue, lets [sic] stay focused on cleaning and organizing the Camp, and building your personal pathway out of homelessness and into something better. If anything important happens, we’ll be the first to let you know.” 

The notice also outlines steps JHH is taking to help those living at the camp become “housing ready.”

“With the gate, there’s a curfew, if you aren’t working and don’t have a work release, you can’t leave the camp,” Garcia said. “If you leave, you can’t come back. We have to lock down the facility to ensure the safety of the neighbors as well.”

They offer information on housing resources for those who want to leave the camp. JHH says they have sign-up sheets for both the Trent Shelter and Truth Ministries Men’s Shelter available in a resource tent in the encampment. 

“Talk to the staff and put your name on the list of your choice. We’ll arrange to get you there,” the notices say. 

JHH is also helping those at the camp sign up for social security and ID cards, which they note is a necessary step for becoming housing ready.

JHH says it is also working to set up several classes – like responsible renter courses and employment expectation classes – to aid in housing readiness. 

Read the letter below:

Jewels Helping Hands notices

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated WSDOT had already started putting up fencing around the camp. Plans are still in the works. They hope to have them up on Wednesday. 

READ: Spokane Homeless Coalition Chair invites sheriff, other City members to Camp Hope

RELATED: Sheriff vows to use bus tickets, arrests to clear Camp Hope