The City Council tonight suspended the rules to pass an emergency interim zoning change to allow shelters to operate in heavy industrial zones citywide. The change is one of three steps needed to open a new shelter on East Trent Avenue. A lease is close to being finalized with the property owner to open a shelter that includes supportive services. The deadline on the restarted process to seek and evaluate proposals from potential operators closes on Thursday. Potential operators attended two separate bidders’ conferences last week and toured the East Trent location. Mayor Nadine Woodward issued the following statement about the interim zoning change and the remaining steps to open a new shelter:

“Sidewalks, alleyway, and fields are not safe or humane places for people. This zoning change gives the City additional flexibility to offer people a safe place to sleep indoors and support individuals in the next steps in their journey. This community challenge requires community collaboration to achieve the best outcomes for everyone. The City is in the final stages of negotiating a lease on a new space with wrap-around services and receiving proposals from prospective operators of that shelter. Both are being done in partnership with a growing list of community members who are willing to be part of the solution. We appreciate the City Council’s action tonight and look forward to their continuing support as we put the health and safety of our community first.”