A new task force is in place and will begin scheduling public meetings soon to discuss issues related to adult homelessness in Puyallup, according to city spokeswoman Melanie Harding.
On Tuesday night, the Puyallup City Council confirmed appointments to a new citizens group tasked with reviewing issues related to homelessness and its impacts on citizens and businesses in the city.
The six-member committee will look at a variety of focus questions and, with the help of a facilitator, work to identify solutions to key issues.
Members will approach the issue from a variety of perspectives.
Zac Green and Patrick McGregor were selected as citizen representatives from a pool of eight applicants. Other representatives were selected by city staff and endorsed by various mental health service providers, businesses and organizations.
Police Chief Brian Jeter was endorsed by the Puyallup Police Department as a law enforcement representative.
Phil Dryden of Evergreen Escrow, who was endorsed by the Puyallup Main Street Association and the chamber of commerce, will provide insight on the affects on downtown businesses.
Jaime Long of Good Sam Mental Health was endorsed and confirmed to address the mental health perspective on the issue.
Amy Schweim will represent Freezing Nights, a Puyallup Homelessness Coalition program that provides seasonal shelter at local churches for homeless people in the city.
Some critics have said Freezing Nights has amplified the problem, attracting more homeless adults who negatively impact the community.
However, program coordinator Greta Brackman says a lot of factors have contributed to the growing problem of homelessness, and services like Freezing Nights are needed now more than ever.
The City Council will review a final report from the task force Aug. 6. They will provide specific recommendations to address the negative impacts of homelessness on the community. Those recommendations could include municipal code changes, improved communication, community partnerships or changes in service levels.
Kari Plog: 253-597-8682