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I-90 homeless camp prepares for winter months

The I-90 homeless encampment is bringing in extra necessities to prepare for winter. Jewels Helping Hands say they are no longer allowing more residents.

SPOKANE, Wash. — As the frigid weather settles in over the region, organizers of the I-90 homeless encampment are providing more necessities for its campers.

Some of the newest updates at the homeless encampment by I-90 and Freya is gravel that has been laid down to prevent muddy surfaces and 800 gallons of water that the state is providing once a week.

The camp is also providing State ID and housing services, EBT cards for food assistance, and transportation to shelters.

Chris Senn has lived at the camp for over 8 months.

"The benefit is everything is right here. Without this, I probably would have been lost. I wouldn't know where to go to start the process of getting my life back in order. I would have never known that housing was an option for low-income and all that," said Senn.

Jewels Helping Hands says they are no longer accepting more residents.

This decision was made because Jewels Helping Hands' is focused on finding housing for all its residents.

"We're still focused on getting people housing ready. And trying to maintain some kind of safety throughout the winter. But definitely our goal is to remove everyone from the property. You will not see an increase in those numbers because we stopped badging," said Julie Garcia, the founder of Jewels Helping Hands.

With the start of winter weather, Garcia says that they now have heating tents spread throughout the camp that are monitored 24-7.

There is a point-person that walks around the camp looking out for fire dangers every hour.

Chris says that he's got his own heater and is comfortable, but is ready to leave.

"I've got a heater, I've got several blankets and good sleeping bags," said Senn. "It's just like camping so to speak. I'm ready to get out, get a house."

Even though Jewels Helping Hands is following WSDOT's plan to clear the camp, they still don't have a set timeline for when that will happen.

Garcia says that there are 445 people with ID badges that live at the camp and that's down from over 600 from when they first started the ID process.

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