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Shelter Audit Points Toward Scattered Site Model

Erin Hut, Communications Director, 509.625.6740

Monday, May 13, 2024 at 12:19 p.m.

An audit of Spokane’s homeless shelter system points toward moving from a large congregate shelter to a model with smaller, scattered sites.

The audit was among the recommendations from Mayor Lisa Brown’s transition committees to better understand shelters, capacity and resources. It included shelter tours, feedback from providers, the community and those with lived experience, as well as community and neighborhood council surveys.

“This valuable input, based on a collaborative approach, will guide how the community shapes a cost-effective, relationship-based system to assist individuals toward housing,” Mayor Brown said.

Scattered sites alleviate having a single large shelter, such as the Trent Resource and Assistance Center (TRAC), in one neighborhood and concerns of “warehousing individuals.” Churches were utilized as small shelter sites during the cold snap last winter as a pilot project. Following success of that pilot, the City is moving forward with a request for proposals for scattered sites of 20 to 30 beds, which will be issued soon.

TRAC will gradually be decommissioned by the end of September under a tentative timeline, but could still possibly be used during hazardous weather events as the lease signed by the previous administration expires in 2025. The state Legislature appropriated $4 million to assist with the transition out of TRAC and $1 million to coordinate street medicine outreach.

Other audit recommendations include:

  • Piloting a navigation center and selecting an operator to improve coordination and facilitate people toward proper services. This center would house a limited number of emergency shelter beds, provide basic needs and transition people to their next housing option within 30 days.
  • Hiring an organization to navigate and coordinate site and housing type identification for individuals, transportation and street outreach.
  • Addressing system gaps such as medical detox and care, hospice care, jail-exiting housing and long-term assisted-living beds after treatment by leveraging partnerships with churches, community centers, counselors, street medicine, transportation, outreach teams and others.
  • Prioritizing the 24/7 emergency shelter model to prevent daily disruption for those served and neighborhoods.
  • Developing a data dashboard to improve coordination of services.

A presentation detailing the full audit will be presented during Monday’s City Council Urban Experience Committee meeting at 1:15 p.m.

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