Brian Coddington, Communications Director, 509.625.6740
Tuesday, August 30, 2022 at 8:11 a.m.
A safe, healthy indoor center that will have separated spaces for different demographics to stay indoors out of the elements with access to showers, restrooms, and three meals daily is expected to open next week.
The Trent Resource and Assistance Center, located at 4320 E. Trent, could open as soon as Monday once improvements, including insulation, ADA accessibility, fencing, fire safety equipment, and walls to create separate spaces, are completed and inspected. The City Council approved a $2.4 million agreement tonight with the Guardians Foundation to operate the center.
“The center immediately gives us the ability to offer individuals a safe, heathy, and humane place to get out of the elements, eat regular meals, and connect to services and supports they need to take the next steps in their journey out of homelessness,” Mayor Nadine Woodward said. “This is a significant accomplishment for the region and our partners. It takes all of us working together to meet the needs of everyone in our community.”
Initial capacity is expected to be 150 individuals with separate spaces for men, women, couples, employed and LGBTQ+. Additional areas can be added based upon need. Showers will be available in a shower trailer on site and operations will begin with portable toilets.
Beds have been ordered and will be constructed as they arrive with space for personal storage underneath. About 40 beds will be available for the soft opening and additional mats will be provided in the interim. Capacity will grow to at least 250 over time.
Private security will be in place to monitor activity outside the center and in the surrounding few blocks. The Guardians will also use staff ambassadors to conduct rounds in the neighborhood 24-hours a day and interact with neighbors and maintain a dedicated phone line to report concerns.
“We are going to be a new neighbor and with that comes the responsibility to be a good neighbor,” Guardians Executive Director Mike Shaw said. “Communication with our neighbors will be key to that relationship and help us make needed adjustments as we go.”
The Guardians and the City will jointly host an open house on Thursday from 4-6 pm to give neighbors a chance to tour the center and meet its staff.
Conversations are continuing with the state about how to begin moving individuals out of the right-of-way owned by the Washington State Department of Transportation. The City, on behalf of more than 20 public and private partners, submitted a plan in July to the state Department of Commerce seeking to allocate $24.3 million in state funds toward movement of that camp into a safe and healthy environment. The plan identified more than 650 spaces, half of them permanent housing, for individuals on the WSDOT property.
The City’s request included funds to make additional improvements to the Trent Resource and Assistance Center based on feedback from individuals who are likely to use it and the success of a large center in Thurston County funded by Commerce. Those improvements include construction of 60 private two-person pods, indoor restrooms, showers, and laundry facilities. The City has yet to receive a response to the request.
“The City stands ready to move individuals into substantially better and safer environments than they are living in now,” Woodward said.