City Extends Temporary Homeless Shelter Services

Brian Coddington, (509) 625-6740

Friday, December 31, 2021 at 5:48 p.m.

The City is extending the operation and support of a temporary, short-term center for vulnerable citizens until Jan. 9 while additional enhancements are completed to the permanent shelter system.

The City quickly activated its emergency sheltering plan ahead of the planned artic storm. The action utilized a partnership with the Public Facilities District and The Guardians Foundation to create a temporary 24-hour drop-in center on Dec. 26 ahead of the weather system. Simultaneously, the City has worked with the shelter provider network to expand and standardize check-in times, create additional space and capacity within the permanent sheltering system, and add more transportation options to and between shelters.

“Extending for an additional week keeps our most at-risk community members out of the elements and monitored for illness while additional permanent enhancements are put in place,” Mayor Nadine Woodward said. “This has been a community effort that has seen tremendous support over the holidays.”

Leveraging the community’s public health resources, two additional COVID testing days are planned for visitors in the center this week and the Spokane Regional Health District has planned to provide a vaccination clinic on site. The Guardians also renewed its request for donations of blankets, non-perishable food, socks, hats, gloves, hand warmers, and undergarments. Those items should be delivered to the Cannon Street Shelter at 527 S. Cannon St.

Utilization of the Convention Center has fluctuated throughout the week. Convention Center usage has been strongest around 2 am daily, peaked at 301 early today, and has hovered more consistently around 150 people. Between 80 and 100 existing spaces have consistently gone unused in the permanent system, which has been the case for the past few weeks.

The temporary shelter at the Convention Center is now scheduled to close on Jan. 9 at 8 am. The location is co-ed, accepts animals, and is intended to supplement during the extreme cold snap the enhancements embedded into the system over the past several months. Three meals are provided.

Operation of the temporary drop-in center is projected to cost $200,000 per week. Financial accountability measures are in place to monitor costs and overall impact to the sheltering system.  Space was initially planned for 150 people and scaled to meet peak and social distancing requirements.

The Spokane Fire Department will continue wellness checks of vulnerable individuals throughout the community who are out in the weather. The Spokane fire and police departments have also been handing out bus passes to help individuals get to shelters.