Spokane community weighs in on homelessness

Spokane community weighs in on homelessness

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It's no secret that Spokane is struggling to fight homelessness in a battle that's been going on for years.

People are getting passionate about what is and isn't being done about it. On Monday night, the city of Spokane wanted to hear from the community about tackling the problem of homelessness. Over a hundred people came to the meeting. One woman had asked the audience, who in the crowd was homeless or has been homeless. A good portion of the crowd stood up.

The city says they are working on various projects to try and end homelessness which includes getting more resources, working on 24 hour shelters, and trying to identify day jobs for those who are homeless.

Another big topic of discussion included the I-90 basalt project where the city placed down rocks to try to make the ground so uncomfortable that no one wants to sit or sleep underneath the interstate. Several people who spoke at the meeting, said they didn't like the project and one even said that it was not compassionate.

Council President Ben Stuckart took to Facebook a few weeks back apologizing for the rock project. In that post, he wrote in part quote, "I make mistakes in this job. Most of these mistakes occur through reactionary governing instead of proactive leadership. A couple of weeks ago I reacted to legitimate safety concerns from police, parents, business owners, and employees by displacing a group of our homeless neighbors from their community."

One woman KHQ talked with says she's been homeless on and off. She explained that the city needs to understand the issue.

"They think because you go sleep in a shelter, you're a victim, because somebody stole your crap, you're a victim, because somebody broke into your car, you're a victim. No! We're not victims anymore. We're women, we're passionate, we're loving, we're caring, we're moms, we're grandmothers. We're people who can be just as good as the next person can be. We're not a victim, " said Vicky Hart.

Hart says she's very concerned and that the city needs to address mental health issues.

(story: Andrea Olson, KHQ Local News Producer/Reporter; photo: KHQ.com)

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