The Executive Director of the Yakima Union Gospel Mission says a move by the city to designate a secure parking lot for people who live in their vehicles is the wrong move and won't help the local homeless problem.

Johnson says the parking lots can be costly and don't help homeless people

Mike Johnson, considered an expert in dealing with homelessness says he wasn't contacted by the city before the council voted last week to create the new secure area. Johnson says often times such parking lots turn into areas were people gather to use drugs free of the eye of police or others. Johnson says even if the city creates rules and provides security there's no way to prevent illegal activity unless people and cars are searched before entering.

The new council could either cancel the idea or continue the work

The city hasn't given the specific area were the lot would be located but it would likely be in a lot near Camp Hope or the former K-Mart Store which is now a U-Haul business.
City officials say the lot would be fenced and security would be provided. However the future of the lot is up to the newly elected members of the Yakima City Council. Current council members say while they voted in favor of creating the lot the new council in the new year will have the task of figuring out the details and where the lot will be located.
Johnson says it won't be easy to manage and it could cost the city a lot of money to monitor and secure the parking lot.
The new council could also cancel the idea and find a different way to help those who are homeless and live in vehicles in Yakima.

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