Camp Hope began in March 2017 in response to critical need expressed by city and county officials to alleviate the challenges of homelessness in downtown Yakima and the greater Yakima Valley. Our city had been experiencing a marked increase in individuals experiencing homelessness and an unsupervised tent encampment had cropped up downtown in an abandoned lot near homes and local businesses. The city and county needed help addressing this issue and the Yakima Valley Council of Governments (YVCOG) awarded the grant that got Camp Hope started.
On March 22, 2017, Camp Hope began as an outdoor, barracks-style encampment for approximately 45 adults with 24-hour security, 3 meals a day brought in by volunteers, a shower trailer (as there was no running water), and an education center to teach life skills, literacy, and GED classes.
As the temperature got colder, a search began for an indoor location. On November 15, 2017, the Camp Hope winter weather shelter opened in a warehouse on 1702 Englewood Avenue in Yakima. The location operated as a day-time warming station for many homeless in the community and slept around 100 residents nightly, not only for men and women, but also for families with children.
In 2017, Camp Hope provided 15,388 bed nights and 33,853 meals to 556 unique individuals.
Camp Hope Yakima has returned to our original location at 2300 East Birch Street and currently sleeps an average of 95 people, including single adult males, females and families with children.
More Than a Bed
“I used to sleep in the alley behind the Arco. Now I feel safe and like I belong.”
- Camp Hope resident
Camp Hope Yakima meets the basic needs of safety, shelter, clothing, and food so that our residents can more easily access other support services and start to rebuild their lives. As a low-barrier shelter, there are no requirements of religious participation in order to receive services. Residents are accepted regardless of mental health or substance addiction. Pets are also welcome. Identification is not required.
Upon admission, all guests must sign a Good Neighbor Agreement outlining expected behavior and are given the opportunity to give up to 10 hours of volunteer service each week. No alcohol or drug use is permitted on-site and residents must adhere to off-site behavioral guidelines to reside in the Camp Hope community (ie. no loitering, panhandling, defacing public property, etc). Different colored wristbands worn daily identify our residents to the police and community partners. Violation of guidelines can result in expulsion.
All guests are immediately enrolled into an Accountability Partner Program where they are paired with a staff member or volunteer who provide encouragement, support, and regular accountability. Our Care Managers meets with each resident and helps them (re)connect with vital resources to obtain permanent housing, medical/mental health support, substance abuse treatment, or other community programs.
Every resident is offered 3 meals a day, graciously donated and brought in by local organizations like Northwest Harvest Food Bank, and local church and community groups.
The shelter maintains an excellent volunteer-run education center where guests are given the opportunity to enhance their knowledge in a variety of subjects, including: GED preparation, basic reading, writing, and math, financial management, computer literacy, resume writing and job interview skills.
We also provide space for support groups for mental health, grief management, and voluntary religious studies.
Our education center provides access to computers to aide in job/housing searches and to reunite guests with family members via social media. Many guests have been able to reconnect after years of separation.
Camp Hope Yakima also maintains a small vehicle fleet that provides limited transportation services for residents with daily trips to/from the downtown Yakima transit center.
Perhaps the most vital component of Camp Hope’s success is the sense of community cultivated by the guests and staff. This is critical to providing the safety, support, and atmosphere of hope so necessary in facing life’s challenges and moving forward in life.
Contact us at: 509-480-9760 for more information about these and other volunteer opportunities!
We are more than just a shelter… we are Camp Hope Yakima.