Council Approves Resolution Aimed To Keep Shelters Open

Lisa Gardner, City Council Communications Director, 509.625.6226

Tuesday, November 22, 2022 at 8:12 a.m.

During Monday’s Legislative Session, Council voted 6-0 on Resolution 2022-0101 to prioritize funding for current shelter providers in the City’s 2023 budget prior to funding new shelter beds with the goal of keeping shelter doors open for our most vulnerable residents.  

City Council intends to utilize funding from the $3.5 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds it set aside for homeless capital and operational needs via Ordinance C36176 in March. Tonight’s resolution also requests that the administration work with Council to develop an appropriate Request for Proposals or similar instrument to review specific funding options to supplement the use of those ARPA dollars for existing providers before considering funding for new shelter operators. 

“City Council acted to reverse the Mayor’s proposal to cut funding to existing homeless shelter operators by $1.5 million next year,” said Council President Breean Beggs. “I believe that we should prioritize our existing limited funds towards keeping our trusted long-time partners like Hope House open before we consider adding new beds. The City will continue to work towards opening more permanently affordable beds and keeping warming space open during these challenging times.”

On November 7th, in a memo from Community, Housing, and Human Services (CHHS), Council learned that the latest competitive funding proposal from the Mayor’s Office would reduce funding to existing homeless shelter operators by $1.5 million. Hope House promptly informed Council that they would likely close their doors as a result, leaving 80 women without shelter. The resolution supports first funding existing providers under contract with the City in 2022 that provide night-by-night shelter at the same levels as 2022 funding amounts, assuming a similar level of service for 2023 when inflation is considered, before funding new or expanded shelter operations that weren’t in place for the entirety of 2022.