Jeff Humphrey, Media Manager, 509.625.6308
Friday, November 6, 2020 at 3:52 p.m.
When the City of Spokane bought a vacant building on Cannon Street to serve as a regional emergency shelter, no one realized the turn of the century structure required extensive renovations.
“We are looking at a building that we rebuilt, basically from the ground up,” said contractor Dan Wilson, President of Rockin’ DW Construction.
That work included installing new beams to reinforce the roof and pouring new concrete to shore up the foundation. Time consuming, but essential repairs.
“This building needed to be a true public asset. And to do that, it needed to be safe for the people it’s going to be housing,” stressed Luis Garcia, City of Spokane Code Enforcement Supervisor.
Now that the shelter’s life safety concerns are resolved, work has shifted toward showers and places for people to do some laundry.
And, while construction is never easy, it’s especially difficult during a pandemic.
Right now, lumber and steel are scarce and pricey.
But, when Wilson realized he needed custom fabrication work, the Interstate Metals Group handed over beam connectors as soon as the welds were cool enough to touch.
“And they were building these pieces for us and then letting us come grab them because of the necessity to get this project moving,” recalled Wilson.
Subcontractors have also made this project a priority. Postponing their other jobs to help meet the shelter’s weather-driven deadline.
“Because they have buy-in on the mission. The mission of helping the less fortunate in our community realize a place where they can be safe and warm and cared for. And I think it’s about dignity,” explained Wilson.
So, in what was once a cold-storage creamery, regional partners want to create an environment where people can find life’s basic necessities under one roof, so they can focus on getting their life back on track.
“That is the City’s mission to be more holistic in our approach at homelessness. To provide those much needed amenities to them, so they can have the ability to get moving out of homelessness,” added Garcia.
Renovations to the Cannon property were paid for by CARES funding from Spokane County. The shelter, along with other regional efforts like outreach, transitional and permanent housing programs are just some of the individual pieces of the puzzle when it comes to ending the cycle of homelessness.