New shelter occupancy rate dashboard to offer updated data

Portal includes bed availability, shelter locations, check-in times, weather forecast

Brian Walker, 509-625-6765

Tuesday, November 15, 2022 at 3:03 p.m.

A new public website allows the community to view updated homeless shelter occupancy rates on a nightly basis.

The dashboard, called, displays timely data inputted directly by regional shelter providers and includes a time stamp as to when the provider last updated the information. The site is intended to inform homeless individuals, shelters, case managers, police officers as well as the general public about:

  • bed availability and capacity;
  • shelter locations;
  • operating provider contact information;
  • time stamp of the last status update;
  • individual shelter provider daily check-in times;
  • shelter population(s) served;
  • weather forecast; and
  • type of shelter including intake constraints such as criminal background and credit checks, program participation, sobriety or identification.

The Cities of Spokane and Spokane Valley, Spokane County and the Spokane Regional Health District are partners on the dashboard project. The County contributed the initial construct funding from a CARES allocation, and other partners provided development assistance and user refinements.

“This is another major improvement for our regional shelter system that potentially saves lives,” said Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward. “The information on the site can be viewed by anyone in the community and updated by providers at any time. This online reporting tool of nightly occupancy rates at shelters and other useful information is extremely timely as we are well on our way to what’s predicted to be a harsh winter.”

Shelters previously reported daily occupancy rates to City staff, who then distributed the data to regional stakeholders and on its website on a spreadsheet. The new system is a streamlined approach aimed at improving consistency with providers having direct access to report data on the site and provide timely information that can be regularly updated.

Spokane County Commissioner Mary Kuney said: “This dashboard is meant to provide transparent information directly from our amazing providers to individual who need help as well as our community at large. We should all be aware of what resources are available to help those in need so they have access to a better life.”

Joel Brown, Union Gospel Mission’s Director of Ministries, said the new portal for tracking shelter bed availability will be a significant improvement.

“The new system will do a better job a tracking up-to-date bed availability and improve access to that information,” Brown said. “The old system, being email-based, did not allow for timely access to the information. UGM is very excited to participate in the new portal system.” 

A total of 12 provider locations have been requested to provide nightly updates to the dashboard to benefit the community.

The dashboard is part of Woodward’s Homelessness Plan 2.0 transparency and accountability strategy. Recent additions to the regional homelessness system, including opening of the Trent Resource and Assistance Center with services navigators, the addition of space specifically for young adults, and a services-intensive transitional housing program, have also enhanced offerings in the emergency shelter, individualized services, supportive resources, and name and need initiative areas.