City seeks new temporary homeless shelter

City seeks new temporary homeless shelter

Brian Coddington, (509) 625-6740

Sunday, January 9, 2022 at 4:10 p.m.

The city is still looking for a new temporary homeless shelter, which will be activated if necessary for the remainder of the winter season, and has asked the State Emergency Call Center (EOC) for assistance.

A temporary homeless shelter at the convention center was closed today after two weeks of constant operation during an Arctic explosion and subsequent significant snow storm. Arrangements were made for guests willing to enter space within the permanent regional protection system.

“The community and our partners have gathered around the most vulnerable in our community for an extended period of significant weather,” said Mayor Nadine Woodward. “The search for another location that we can activate at short notice has priority. We searched unsuccessfully for months and didn’t give up. “

Dozens of websites have been evaluated since COVID hit Spokane. The convention center was available for temporary use of accommodation several times during the pandemic. However, an increased volume of events returning to the venue requires the city to seek another location. The premises in the Convention Center will be fully booked in the coming weeks, damage that has occurred in the last two weeks must be repaired and the areas cleaned in order to prepare them for these events.

The city is looking for a property in a location that:

  • Has approximately 20,000 square feet available to accommodate human habitation
  • Ability to accommodate toilet facilities, either permanently or temporarily, on site
  • Significant distance to school, daycare, retail and business concentrations
  • Equal access to public transport

A request from the city’s Emergency Management Department was sent to the Spokane County’s Emergency Management Department and passed through to the state EOC. Representatives of the country EOC help with the search.

Work is also underway to find a location for new permanent housing, which Woodward has applied for in this year’s budget and approved by the city council. The shelter would be located away from the city center and include full support services.

The city quickly activated its emergency shelter plan last month before the arctic storm hit. The action took advantage of a partnership with the Public Facilities District and the Guardians Foundation to create a temporary 24-hour drop-in center on December 26th, which is expected to close on January 2nd. The operation of the temporary location was started on December 31st at a. extends week to today.

“We can’t thank the Guardians Foundation and Convention Center teams enough,” said Woodward. “Every last person has grown to take this opportunity and has done everything to help our community.”

At the same time, the city has been working with the regional network of shelters providers to expand and coordinate check-in times, create additional space and capacity within the permanent protection system, and add more transportation options to and between shelters.

Guests came and went at any time of the day or night. The peak occupancy of the temporary accommodation between 2 and 6 a.m. was between 103 and 343 guests. Usage peaked at 158 ​​last night. The Guardians served more than 9,000 meals during the two weeks. The guests were voluntarily tested for COVID on three different days, all with negative results.

The cost of the two-week surgery is expected to be around $ 400,000. Damage to the facility’s toilets, ballrooms, and common areas is still estimated. In addition, the city has been collecting and gathering critical customer service information to improve future operations.