Camp Hope news update

Good work and progress continues at Camp Hope as state agencies and local partners work to stabilize and close the encampment.

Camp Hope news update March 15

New encampment count numbers show site continues to shrink

As part of work to permanently close the Camp Hope encampment, a new on-site snapshot count shows continued progress in shrinking the site. The previous count was conducted the week of Feb. 20. The new count, completed the week of March 6, tallied:

  • 65 estimated* people (compared to 78 people the week of Feb. 20)
  • 49 tents/structures (compared to 58 the week of Feb. 20)
  • 9 RVs* (compared to 10 the week of Feb. 20)
  • 0 vehicles (compared to 1 the week of Feb. 20)
  • 1 site tagged for removal (6 sites were tagged the week of Feb. 20)

* Some people may be off site working, receiving treatment, etc. and were not counted (residents may return within 7 days), so this number could increase slightly. Those individuals will still receive the services they need to secure more permanent, improved housing options and services.

This continued decline is a sign of moving in the right direction compared to an initial 467-person count this fall and the estimated 600+ people living on site this summer.

This is the fifth independent count conducted by i2-Strategies, working with Empire Health Foundation, as part of a contract with the state Department of Commerce to conduct outreach at Camp Hope.

The first count identified 198 residents, 120 tents/structures, 27 RVs and 5 vehicles in the encampment during the week of Dec. 12. The overall number of people living at the encampment has decreased 67 percent – or by two-thirds – from the Dec. 12 count to the March 6 tally. New counts will take place bi-weekly going forward to track progress.

While this is encouraging news, more work lies ahead to ensure residents get the support and best chance to be successful moving inside. Some of the more easily placed residents have moved off site or found other lodging options, while some of those remaining may have multiple challenges or barriers to permanent housing. Outreach groups will do intensive work to find the best options among the available housing for these high acuity individuals.

Planning for second fence move underway

Staff on site are beginning to prepare to move the fencing surrounding the perimeter inward for the second time – another sign of the continued effort toward downsizing and eventually closing Camp Hope. Crews are notifying residents still living at the site to begin moving structures and RV’s away from fencing at both the east and west ends of the camp. Once residents have been relocated away from the fencing, contractor crews will begin shrinking the fencing inward in early April.

More Camp Hope residents transition to Catalyst program

By the end of the day on March 14, there were 79 participants enrolled at Catalyst reflecting individuals that have moved from Camp Hope into the new Catalyst emergency supportive housing program. Four additional move ins are expected this week.

People from Camp Hope who have been referred to Catalyst are being gradually moved into the building to allow for smooth transitions; the project can house at least 100 people at full capacity.

In addition to emergency housing, Catalyst participants receive meal and laundry services, case management, employment and behavioral health services, all aimed at creating pathways to stable housing after their stay at Catalyst. Medical providers are on-site weekly helping participants address emergent health needs, and project staff are working with participants to plan for longer range wellness. Recovery groups and addiction education sessions are also being facilitated on-site each week, in addition to provision of outpatient substance use disorder treatment services.  

Catalyst is run by Catholic Charities Eastern Washington and was funded with $15 million in state Right of Way Safety Initiative dollars as part of efforts to close the encampment site, which funded site acquisition, building rehab, and year 1 program operations.    

Many types of housing options still a key need

While work continues to develop housing options, information about all shelter/housing options – and transportation to these sites – is shared daily with Camp Hope residents. The state Right of Way Safety Initiative funding requires an offer of shelter/housing that is “meaningfully better” than their current situation be made to everyone at the encampment as part of the work to close the site. The most successful housing and homelessness efforts – nationally and elsewhere in Washington – include the availability of different housing options. A variety of available housing options is ideal for moving a large encampment because of mental health, domestic violence security, privacy and other concerns that prevent some residents from functioning in a congregate shelter.

The housing need also exceeds just the Camp Hope encampment, making the housing need even more critical. The most recent point-in-time count by the city of Spokane counted 1,757 people experiencing homelessness throughout Spokane County on a single night in February, with 823 individuals living outside. A nationally recognized supplemental state system that cross matches homeless data from multiple assistance programs finds a comprehensive count of more than 5,200 people experiencing homelessness (living in a shelter or unsheltered) in Spokane County.

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Camp Hope and the State Right of Way Safety Initiative

As part of continued work to close the Camp Hope encampment, WSDOT and its state, local and nonprofit partners continue to make visible progress stabilizing Camp Hope as part of the state Right of Way Safety Initiative. This joint effort includes work from WSDOT, the state Department of Commerce, the Washington State Patrol and on-the-ground resource provider Empire Health Foundation (working under a contract with Commerce) and other partners, who are all working toward the shared community goal of closing the encampment.

Previous Camp Hope news updates

Camp Hope Update March 8

Camp Hope Update March 1

Camp Hope Update Feb. 22

Camp Hope Update Feb. 15

Camp Hope Update Feb. 8

Camp Hope Update Feb. 1

Camp Hope Update Jan. 26

Camp Hope Update Jan. 19

Camp Hope Update Jan. 11

Camp Hope Update Dec. 21

Camp Hope Update Dec. 12

Camp Hope Update Dec. 7

Camp Hope Update Nov. 30

Camp Hope Update Nov. 22

Camp Hope Update Nov. 16

Camp Hope Update Nov. 9

Camp Hope Update Nov. 4 - Winter Weather Plan

Camp Hope Update Nov. 1

Camp Hope Update Oct. 24

Camp Hope Update Oct. 19

Camp Hope Update Oct. 14

Camp Hope Update Oct. 11

Camp Hope Update Oct. 6

Camp Hope Update Sept. 30

Slow down – lives are on the line.

In 2022, speeding continued to be a top reason for work zone crashes.

Even one life lost is too many.

Each year about 670 people are killed nationally in highway work zones. In 2022, Washington had six fatal work zone crashes on state roads.

It's in EVERYONE’S best interest.

95% of people hurt in work zones are drivers, their passengers or passing pedestrians, not just our road crews.