Kirstin Davis, 509.625.7773
Tuesday, February 9, 2021 at 8:13 a.m.
With overnight temperatures expected to dip into single digits and daily highs below freezing, the regional shelter system is adjusting by flexing operations and supplementing with temporary housing options to account for COVID restrictions. As demand exceeds current system capacity, the system will create capacity within the shelter system by prioritizing people for hotel/motel during this short-term cold snap who are at the highest risk of COVID, thereby meeting the needs of both a cold weather emergency response and COVID risks.
Dozens of no-barrier flex spaces were recently added to the shelter system inventory through provider partnerships. A COVID-19 outbreak at the UGM shelter, which also adds no-barrier capacity during stretches of below-freezing temperatures has temporarily halted this option. Still, shelter capacity has been consistently near or below capacity for several weeks based on provider reports. Recent adjustments were made to the accommodate families experiencing homelessness with the Catholic Charities and Family Promise of Spokane.
“Spaces have remained available in the shelter system and we are accessing all available resources to accommodate additional need this week as temperatures drop,” Mayor Nadine Woodward said. “I appreciate the work our community providers continue while they remain in a COVID-19 response environment while adjusting to winter weather patterns.”
The City continues to cover the $2 fee for entry at Truth Ministries, which opens up 75 spaces for men for overnight shelter. Additionally, other locations are adding spaces and flexing check-in times where they can to increase capacity while maintaining COVID-19 compliance. Various providers are equipped with options to assist with transportation coordination between shelter locations and for patrons who need rides.
Catholic Charities and Family Promise of Spokane recently worked with the City of Spokane to adjust how the regional partners accommodate families experiencing homelessness based on decreasing and sporadic demand. Those resources have been redirected to focus on other 24-hour shelter services for adults.
Current shelter and warming center operations include:
Drop-In Day Centers:
Additionally, there are community partners who can provide space and staffing if necessary for those who do not have adequate shelter. The Spokane Fire Department will complete welfare checks of vulnerable individuals who are out in the weather. The City has coordinated with community partners and providers to activate additional facilities and services if necessary. If transportation is a barrier, STA bus passes will be provided or City responders will transport if necessary.