Jeff Humphrey

Keeping People in Shelters Healthy

Jeff Humphrey, Media Manager, 509.625.6308

Friday, May 29, 2020 at 2:15 p.m.

As the City of Spokane transitions its Cannon Warming Shelter into a day use facility, our region is expanding its shelter capacity at the Spokane Arena.

“In order to close the Cannon Warming center for renovations, and create a day center, we needed to add additional shelter capacity for healthy people experiencing homelessness and that’s the reason we wanted to open up the Spokane Arena for sheltering,” explained Tija Danzig of the City’s Community, Housing & Human Services Department.

As part of the move to the arena, the Spokane Regional Health District wanted to offer new residents free health screenings.

“So we have multiple teams who go and talk to each community member, who are staying in a shelter setting, and ask how they are doing, how they are feeling. If they have any new symptoms and we do a temperature check,” said Kylie Kingsbury of the Spokane Regional Health District.

Nurses from the health district are also providing immunizations against socially transmitted diseases like Hepatitis.

“At the health district, we want to prioritize the health of our community members, especially those who are experiencing homelessness. And so part of our efforts here, are to make sure those community members are a healthy as possible when they are staying and spending the night at the arena, Kingsbury emphasized.

New bunk beds moved inside the arena’s backstage area boost the temporary shelter’s overnight capacity to 105 guests. Workers have positioned the bunks in a layout that improves social distancing.

Leaders from Spokane Valley, Spokane County, the Spokane Regional Health District and the City of Spokane are working together to provide the safest shelter possible, and that starts with safeguarding resident’s health.

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