Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich has written a harsh letter to Washington State leaders about the homeless camp problem in his city. The letter sent September 22nd 2022 is in response to the homeless camp in Spokane in which Knezovich describes as ” inhumane conditions created by WSDOT’s inaction.” His letter, which you can read in full below, describes his plans for solving the problem that are nothing short of controversial. Here is what he is going to do.
The letter addressed to the Washington State Department of Transportation by Sheriff Knezovich states “consider this letter notice to WSDOT that I plan to clear this camp by mid-October.” Knezovich plans to do that by buying bus tickets for each homeless person to anywhere they want to go. He says in the letter that his “plan is to provide bus tickets to the location of each residents’ choice, allowing them to reunite with family and to assist them in recovery. I will also engage the faith community to help with drug, alcohol, and mental health treatment.”
The Sheriff also invites State leaders to invite the people in the homeless camp into their own homes. “As my final suggestion, if WSDOT wants to demonstrate their compassion, I suggest that those responsible consider sponsoring a member of this camp with a room in their own homes, consistent with WSDOT’s suggestion to the East Side neighborhoods of the City of Spokane.” Knezovich thinks that “If this camp were located in your neighborhood, or the Secretary of Commerce’s backyard, this issue would have been resolved long ago. I have spent countless hours speaking with residents who have been greatly impacted by the state’s inaction and assure you these citizens have lost all hope for resolution,”
The WSDOT, WSP and the Department of Commerce released a statement in response to the Sheriff’s letter. They state “Our agencies know only too well from the past that clearing the camp will only make things worse for the entire city. Hundreds of people will disperse across county, city, state and private lots, and the issues related to unauthorized camps – from security to garbage – will also be dispelled. This action will not make anyone’s life better or safer.”
The fight over who is to blame for the homeless camp continues with no solution from either side in sight. Is this going to send the people in the camp to other cities in the state like Tri-Cities? You can read the Sheriffs entire letter written to State leaders by clicking WSDOT-Camp-Letter- (spokanecounty.org)
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