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Tacoma considers opening youth homeless shelter; businesses concerned about location

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TACOMA — Despite concerns from nearby businesses, the city council is now considering a plan to open a young adult drop-in and overnight homeless shelter in South Tacoma. The Neighborhood and Community Services Department wants the council to authorize the purchase of a building located on the corner of South Tacoma Way and South 54th Street.

“The city alone can’t address this problem. It takes a community and we feel that where this site is located in close proximity to other social services is a great setup for success,” said Neighborhood and Community Services director Nadia Chandler Hardy.

Over the next several years, the city budgeted $2.83 million to acquire, build out, and fund the operations of the youth homeless center. It would provide services for kids and young adults between the ages of 12 and 24. Chandler Hardy says the location is ideal because it is near a bus stop, schools, and other community services.

The South Tacoma Business District Association is against the plan citing concerns over safety and the impact on businesses. A spokesperson said there are several bars in the area around the proposed site. The association believes the city needs a youth shelter, but some business owners want officials to explore other options.

The city has looked at approximately 200 different locations, according to Chandler Hardy. The city plans on increasing police patrols in the area. The facility would also have security guards.

Currently, the city has a temporary overnight facility at the Beacon Senior Center. Each night, the shelter takes in 30-40 young adults.

The city council will discuss purchasing the property at a meeting Tuesday night.