Tacoma’s homeless ‘Jungle’ growing under Interstate 705

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TACOMA — “The Jungle” is what Seattle called its giant homeless camp under Interstate 5.

Tacoma has a ‘Jungle’, too, and it’s also under a freeway.

However, Tacoma’s jungle is growing off of I-705.

According to the Tacoma Rescue Mission, more than 100 homeless people live around the particular camp, and the number of people continues to grow each day. We’re told the camp itself has been around since 2006.

"As you can see right here, this whole bank I used to keep clean for months,” David said, who’s lived in the Jungle since September.

According to him, the area is a bank filled with trash, leftover scraps and tents surrounding the pillars.

"Hell. I call this the Valley of Hell,” David said. "I lost my insurance and I lost my job and I instantly became homeless."

Living in the jungle, he said, is a harsh reminder of his day-to-day struggles.

“Everywhere you go, someone tells you can't stay here,” said David. “You've gotta go.”

Rodney Richardson also knows that feeling all too well. Richardson told Q13 News he used to be homeless.

"I just know from being there,” said Richardson. “I have to do something."

So every Monday, Rodney drives his truck down to the Tacoma Jungle to hand out food and water to whoever wants it.

He said he hopes city leaders will take note and eventually take action underneath this part of the interstate.

"How do I get in touch with a civic leader and sit down with them and say ‘This problem is really real’," Richardson said.

Q13 News called city leaders numerous times Monday to find out about any future plans for the Jungle. We have yet to hear back.

According to the Tacoma News Tribune, the city is working with the Washington State Department of Transportation because the department is responsible for the land there.

We will let you know once we learn more.

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