‘Not enough places to go’: People stay warm as legal battles persist at Camp Hope


SPOKANE, Wash. — As legal battles persist at Camp Hope, people are trying to stay warm in freezing temperatures. The lawsuit to eliminate Camp Hope will be heard in court on December 5.

Winter has come early and the camp leaders have a glimpse of what might come. Service providers have set up a heated tent in the middle of Camp Hope to keep people safe during cold temperatures. There are plans to add a second heated tent in the coming weeks.

Earl Anderson has lived at the camp since the summer and says living in these conditions can be difficult.

“So far it has been a challenge because I have to go back to chopping my own wood in the morning to survive. That’s basically what’s going to happen in the winter, it’s the heat and then being able to cook on that fire,” Earl Anderson.

“Last night I think it was down to 16 degrees, something like that. That’s where it all freezes up, and it’s hard, and we understand that. There’s a limit to what we can do. can do to mitigate this,” said Camp Hope director Maurice Smith.

The heated tent is equipped with propane heaters so people can rest from the freezing temperatures at night. People can also use the resource tent during the day.

“It’s Scout camping on steroids, and there’s a limit to what you can do, so we provide firewood for the controlled fires where they can cook and warm outside their tent. ” Maurice Smith.

Log fires are permitted with patrols every 15 minutes according to the Spokane Fire Department. The department has installed fire extinguishers around the camp.

People are encouraged to visit the Trent Resource Center. Smith says some people left the camp and took refuge.

“There aren’t enough places to go. If we emptied the camp today, there wouldn’t be enough places for these people, and so we’re caught in the dilemma of having to keep them alive in freezing weather, and we’re doing our best to keep them living in freezing weather,” Smith said.

According to Spokane city spokesman Brian Coddington, 33% is used in city shelters, and there are about 1,000 beds in total.

“There is room in the system, and there is no reason to tell someone now that there is no room or nowhere to go. There is no reason for anyone to be out in a field at night, in freezing temperatures with snow and ice when there is an indoor roof, beds and meals available for the people can go there and connect to the services they’re accessing there right now,” he said.

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