Spaces Remain Available In Flexed Shelter System

Brian Coddington, Communications Director, 509.625.6740

Monday, October 26, 2020 at 3:23 p.m.

Flexing existing shelter locations to provide additional capacity within the system created space for adults who sought it during the early record-setting snowfall and cold over the past several days. 

Several dozen spaces were available and went unfilled from Thursday through Sunday nights. The addition of as many as 85 temporary low-barrier, night-by-night spaces for adults and the removal of barriers for another 35 spaces expanded the system capacity during unseasonably cold and snowy weather. Snow accumulations Friday and early Saturday broke records set in the 1950s, according to published reports.

“Our community partners acted quickly to invite people in who need a warm place to sleep,” Mayor Nadine Woodward said. “Temperatures are expected to stay below freezing for the next few nights and there has been space for more people.”

Community service providers Truth Ministries and Union Gospel Mission Men’s Crisis shelter teamed up to expand low-barrier capacity for adult men because that is where the need is consistently. The City provided Truth Ministries funding to waive the $2 fee and UGM relaxed entrance requirements for those seeking shelter. This effort led to an additional 85 spaces available for adult men during the early harsh weather event.

Nightly capacity reports indicate there were low-barrier spaces available each night since October 21 in most populations including adult men, women, and families. Truth Ministries and Union Gospel Mission Men’s Crisis shelter had a combined 86, 82, 72, and 41 spaces for men from Thursday through Sunday nights.

Temperatures are expected to remain in the high teens to mid-20s overnight into Thursday morning. The City is appreciative of the collaboration of local service providers to partner for solutions with the support of City funding.