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‘Not enough places to go’: People keep warm as court battles continue at Camp Hope

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SPOKANE, WA. — While legal battles continue around Camp Hope, people there are trying to stay warm in freezing temperatures. An abatement lawsuit for the Camp Hope cleanup will be heard in court on Dec. 5.

Winter has come early, and camp leaders are getting a glimpse of what’s to come. Service providers set up a warming tent in the middle of Camp Hope to keep people safe during the cold temperatures. In the coming weeks, it is planned to put up a second tent for insulation.

Earl Anderson has lived in the camp since the summer and says living in such conditions can be brutal.

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

“Last night I think it was up to 16 degrees, something like that. It’s freezing out there and it’s brutal and we get it. There’s a limit to what we can do to mitigate that,” said Camp Hope manager Maurice Smith.

The warming tent has propane heaters so people can get a break from the cold at night. People can also use the resource tent during the day.

“It’s Boy Scouts camping on steroids and there’s a limit to how much you can do, so we provide wood for controlled fires where they can cook and keep warm outside of their tent.” Maurice Smith.

Wood burning is permitted with patrols every 15 minutes, according to the Spokane Fire Department. The department installed fire extinguishers around the camp.

People are encouraged to go to the Trent Resource Center. Smith says some people have left the camp and gone to the shelter.

“Where is not enough. If we cleared the camp today, they wouldn’t have enough room for these people, and so we’re faced with the dilemma of having to keep them alive in the freezing weather, and we’re doing everything we can to keep them alive in the freezing weather, – said Smith.

According to city of Spokane spokesman Brian Coddington, 33% are used in city shelters, with a total of about 1,000 beds.

“There is room in the system and there is no reason for anyone to be told right now that there is no room and nowhere to go. There is no reason for anyone to be in a field overnight, in freezing temperatures with snow and ice, when there is a roof, beds and food in the facility for people to go to and connect to the services they are currently accessing. ” he said.

READ: ‘Absolutely essential’: Washington State Department of Health and Human Services provides resources for people living at Camp Hope

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