‘We are human too’: People living in Camp Hope bring us inside

SPOKANE, Wash. — Elected leaders continue to argue over what to do about the growing homeless camp off of I-90. On Thursday, the community went to Camp Hope to hear from people living and working there about their hopes for the future.

Some people staying at Camp Hope joined the panel discussion to share their stories. A common theme emerged: meeting the campers where they’re at. They also told us, “We’re human too.”

Chris Senn took a brave step on stage this morning to share his story with a group of community members who gathered to learn more about life inside Camp Hope.

Senn told us he had a solid upbringing within a family with money. He’s a veteran and recently after his car broke down, he lost his job and couldn’t keep up with all the bills.

He told us that in Camp Hope, they often say that everyone is one to two paychecks away from being out of the situation they’re in.

Jewels Helping Hands hired Senn as camp security just four weeks ago and he’s working on making his way out of homelessness.

“It feels the government is like, ‘Well, you’re home, good luck.’ We were willing to give everything, you’d think the government would give us some kind of help in return,” Senn explained to us.

“It hurts to see people point and laugh at you and name-call you. I quit doing that in the third grade,” Senn added.

As for Senn’s ideal path to housing, he says it just needs to be affordable.

The Washington Department of Transportation told us the 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. “curfew” is now “quiet hours.” The campers can leave within this time period, but they’ll be stopped at the entry gate. Jewels Helping Hands told us they can leave to go to the store, for emergencies, and work-related reasons.

According to DOT, the next steps in securing the camp will be security badges for those who live at Camp Hope and then 24/7 security around the perimeter by October 15.

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