Former Spokane City Council member sues city over homelessness crisis

SPOKANE, Wash.– A former city leader filed a lawsuit against Spokane and the state of Washington for the way they’re handling the homeless crisis.

Former Spokane City Councilman Stephen Eugster filed the lawsuit on Dec. 20. He claims that the city is not fulfilling the homeless population’s rights.

“The city is not providing warmth, and food, and dignity to people who are homeless,” Eugster said. “They’re not.”

In his lawsuit, Eugster talks about a situation from the winter of 2020 that involved a homeless man who showed up at his house in Browne’s Addition. He said the man was freezing and didn’t have anywhere to go. So, he said he took him in and got him comfortable by his living room fireplace.

Eugster said that was just one example of times he had lent a hand to Spokane’s homeless population. He said right now, he had five staying with him.

He is demanding the city provide better accommodations. His solution is to add a certain type of housing for them to stay in.

“How about like a fraternity house, where everybody has a room, where they have a place to live,” Eugster suggested. “They have a house mother, or a house man that kind of keeps control.”

The city said they would not comment on the lawsuit.

Eugster isn’t the only person pushing for the City of Spokane to do something different with the people who don’t have anywhere to live.

Jewel’s Helping Hands is operating a homeless camp on Washington State Department of Transportation property at 2nd and Ray. It’s called “Camp Hope.”

Julie Garcia, who runs Jewel’s Helping Hands, claims most of the people at Camp Hope are women and couples who don’t want to be separated. She said they have moved the people they can to shelters. Her argument is there aren’t enough places for them to go.

The City of Spokane said that’s not true. As of Monday, it had 78 beds for all different groups, including low-barrier beds Monday night.

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