‘Why has it taken this long?’: Spokane city, county officials give updates on Camp Hope

SPOKANE, Wash.– November 15th, a week after Spokane city and county leaders hoped to clear out Camp Hope, more than 400 people are still living at the camp.

Local officials are now talking about getting the state, and non-profit organizations joined in transitioning people out of the camp soon.

“This shouldn’t take decades, years, or months, but weeks to get people out of freezing cold and the conditions of Camp Hope, but why has it taken this long?” said Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich.

During Tuesday’s press conference, joined by Spokane City and Spokane County leaders, the Spokane County Sheriff pointed to Governor Jay Inslee.

“I do want to say this, maybe it’s obvious the state is not the only player in this game. To be successful we have to work with all levels of government and nonprofits,” said Washington Governor Jay Inslee.

Inslee made a surprise appearance at the camp Sunday, in addition to going to a basketball game.

“I guess my question would be when the Governor is going to come and talk with elected leaders of this community to resolve this issue,” Knezovich said.

According to the Washington Department of Transportation, 445 people are currently living at the site, with 22 people permanently moved out of the camp. During the summer, the number of residents at Camp Hope was more than 600.

“Our work is all about bringing people in from the cold giving them a warm space, a bed, meals, access to showers, and also a connection to services while they await permanent housing,” said Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward.

Spokane County has invested half a million dollars to add more beds, showers, and office space for the city’s Trent shelter.

“We invite commerce and Empire Health foundation to come and be part of this conversation so we can really do the right thing for the people that are experiencing the cold,” said Mary Kuney, Spokane County Commissioner.

Watch our recorded live streaming video of the press conference HERE