Warming Center Are Ramping Down

Julie Happy, 509.625.7773

Wednesday, March 27, 2019 at 4:12 p.m.

As winter turns to spring, the warming center program in the City of Spokane will see some changes, while other services for those experiencing homelessness will proceed as usual.

For the 2018-19 winter season, the City, in partnership with non-profits, churches and private property owners, developed the largest-scale Warming Centers program ever within the city. The program included:

  • Nightly sheltering with safe staffing levels distributed across five sites, with advertised capacity for 275 people.
  • Spokane’s first ever Warming Center targeted for young adults, ages 18 to 24-years old.
  • Transportation provided to Warming Centers, across Warming Centers when needed to manage capacity, and from Warming Centers to meal and service sites in the mornings.
  • When temperatures turned coldest in January, service at one of the Warming Center sites was expanded to include daytime operations, and the City’s contracted providers stepped up again adjust transportation services accordingly.

Here are the changes that will be implemented over the next few weeks.

  • Transportation:
    • Transportation services will end after March 31.
    • Bus passes and transportation resources will continue to be offered through a variety of homeless response service agencies.
  • Cannon Location:
    • Daytime services will end after March 31.
    • Overnight Warming Center services will continue through the night of April 14.
  • Salem Lutheran Location:
    • Overnight Warming Center services will continue throughthe night of April 21.
  • Ermina and Westminster Locations:
    • Overnight Warming Center services will continues through the night of April 30.
  • Open Doors Location:
    • Added capacity for families experiencing homelessness is funded to continue through the end of June.
  • Women's Hearth Day Center for Women:
    • Daytime services have extended operating hours to seven days a week and are funded to maintain those hours through June.
  • House of Charity:
    • Overnight shelter for men (2nd floor), overnight shelter for women (1st floor), and daytime hours until noon is funded through June.

The warming center program was a temporary solution for the winter season to keep those experiencing homelessness sheltered during cold temperatures and winter conditions. The City now is working with the regional Continuum of Care and other partners to advance the community shelter system based on best practices, historical analysis, and the needs of our community.

“We are looking at service sites that are distributed throughout the community and better meet the needs of those who use those services; we are looking at targeted capacity shelters outside the downtown core,” says Kelly Keenan, the City’s Community Housing and Human Services Director. “Additionally, the priority for the City is to move our vulnerable citizens into permanent and safe housing solutions. It will take our community working together to find the best answers.”

In addition to supporting a Warming Centers program for the 2018-19 winter season, the City provides ongoing operational support to 14 emergency shelter and transitional housing projects and is actively working with community partners to advance the targeted-capacity shelter system. Citizens interested in helping are encouraged to consider participating in or donating to the 2019 Everybody Counts Campaign.