The Redmond city council recently approved nearly $1 million for projects to address the city’s growing homeless population.
Now that funding is on hold over concerns about how the money would be spent.
“There are a couple city councilors who would like to reverse the decision and their position is, the city should not help the homeless,” said City Councilor Ed Fitch.
The decision was a 4-3 split decision vote to give funds to three homeless projects – partnerships with Bethlehem Inn, Shepherd’s House and Oasis Village.
“At the city council meeting one of the person who voted for those allocations had some concerns about how that money is going to be spent,” Fitch said.
Some city councilors want the money to go toward a new $2 million police station.
The largest amount of funds would head toward turning the Greenway Motel into a homeless shelter run by Bethlehem Inn.
“We are just going to be having to wait,” said Executive Director of Bethlehem Inn Gwenn Wysling. “The pause is unfortunate, we want to keep the project going, we want to open as soon as possible. Winter is upon us and it was really cold last night.”
The nonprofit is asking for $450,000 from both the city and county.
“There is just so much need right now and we need this influx of one-time funds only to jump start and serve the community,” Wysling said.
Around $180,000 would go toward Oasis Village, a camp-like homeless setting on county land.
“We hope by satisfying the concerns they have about Oasis Village, that they would revisit and do as they initially did three weeks ago, approve funds for all three of these projects, whether it is Greenway Motel, Bethlehem Inn, in Redmond or Shepherd’s House or Oasis Village.”
City Council will have follow up funding conversations September 14th.
“To me this is an extremely critical decision that has to be made in the right way,” Fitch said.