Warming centers open regardless of temperature

Centers are next step in 24-hour shelter system

Julie Happy, Communications Manger, Neighborhood and Business Services, 509.625.7773

Tuesday, November 1, 2016 at 12:27 p.m.

Spokane Mayor David Condon, City Council President Ben Stuckart and Rob McCann, executive director of Catholic Charities, announced the opening of a warming center at the House of Charity today to citizens regardless of temperature during the winter months.

House of Charity will also offer space to women and pets to keep companions under a single roof. The Salvation Army’s Homeless Family Safe Center will open its door to families, Crosswalk will serve youths and the Hope House remains a place for women.

“Through the collaboration of our partners we are offering anyone who experiences homelessness a safe, warm place to spend the night throughout our winter season regardless of temperature,” Condon said.

The warming centers are a next step toward establishing a 24-hour shelter system. The Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, Volunteers of America, Family Promise and many others have stepped up to design a system of emergency shelters to meet this goal, which is estimated to cost $1.375 million. So far, $780,000 in funding has been identified, including investments made by the City Council.

“These investments ensure that people who come to the participating shelters will be welcomed into a safe and healthy environment,” Stuckart said. “That is what this effort is all about – making sure everyone has safe, warm place to come in out of the weather.”

The 24/7 shelter system would ensure that individuals and families will be together in a safe shelter with their pets and possessions. By accessing a shelter individuals and families will be connected with coordinated assessment providers to gain access to housing opportunities that will meet their need.

“We know that the solution to ending homelessness starts, but does not end, with shelters,” said Dawn Kinder, Director of Community, Housing, and Human Services. “Engaging those in crisis by offering shelter and basic needs allows us to connect people to longer term housing solutions. The investment in shelters and shelter services for Spokane individuals and families continues to propel our efforts to end homelessness.”

“This is an historic moment for our entire community and Catholic Charities is thankful to the leadership and vision of the City of Spokane for the funding that is making this a possibility,” said Robert McCann, Executive Director of Catholic Charities Spokane. “Having shelter availability for all-comers, 24 hours a day is an important step for Spokane’s commitment to dramatically reducing and hopefully one day eliminating homelessness. The House of Charity is excited to be able to offer all adults a safe and dignified place to be every day and to sleep every night, as part of our community-wide effort to ensure that everyone in Spokane has shelter. Once 24/7 sheltering is in place there is no reason why anyone should be sleeping on our streets.”