City seeks new temporarily homeless shelter

City seeks new temporarily homeless shelter

City seeks new temporarily homeless shelter

Brian Coddington, (509) 625-6740

Sunday, January 9, 2022 at 16.10

The city continues to search for a new temporarily homeless shelter that would be activated as needed for the rest of the winter season and has requested assistance from the State Emergency Operations Center (EOC).

A temporary homeless shelter at the convention center closed today after two weeks of consistent operation during an Arctic explosion and subsequent significant snowstorm. Arrangements were made for guests who were willing to go into space within the permanent regional shelter system.

“The community and our partners gathered around the most vulnerable in our community over a long stretch of significant weather,” said Mayor Nadine Woodward. “It is a priority to find another place that we can activate at short notice. We have been leading without success for several months and have not given up. ”

Dozens of sites have been evaluated since COVID came to Spokane. The convention center has been available several times for temporary shelter during the pandemic. But an increasing amount of events returning to the venue makes it necessary for the city to find another venue. Space in the Convention Center is booked in the coming weeks, and damage caused during the last two weeks needs to be repaired and the areas cleaned to be ready for these events.

The municipality is looking for a property in a place that:

  • Has approximately 20,000 square feet available to accommodate human habitation
  • An ability to accommodate toilet facilities, either permanent or temporary, on site
  • Separate distance from a school, daycare, retail and business concentrations
  • Fair access to public transport

A request from the city’s Emergency Management Department was sent to the Spokane County Department of Emergency Management and forwarded to the state EOC. Representatives of the state EOC are helping with the search.

Work is also underway to find a location for a new permanent shelter Woodward requested and received approval from City Council in this year’s budget. The shelter will be located away from the city center and include support services.

The city quickly activated its emergency lighting plan last month ahead of the Arctic storm. The campaign leveraged a partnership with the Public Facilities District and The Guardians Foundation to create a temporary 24-hour drop-in center on December 26, with expected closure on January 2. The operation of the temporary site was extended on December 31 by one week until today.

“We can not thank the teams at The Guardians Foundation and Convention Center enough,” Woodward said. “Every last person got up to the apartment and went above and beyond to help our community.”

At the same time, the municipality has worked with the regional crisis center provider network to expand and coordinate check-in times, create additional space and capacity in the permanent shelter system and add more transport options to and between shelters.

Guests came and went at all times of the day and night. Maximum use of the temporary shelter ranged from 103 to 343 guests between kl. 2 and 6 in the morning. Use peaked at 158 ​​over the last night. The Guardians served more than 9,000 meals over the two weeks. Guests were tested voluntarily on three separate days for COVID, all with negative results.

The cost of the two-week operation is expected to be around $ 400,000. Damage to the plant’s toilets, ballrooms and common areas is still estimated. In addition, the municipality examined and collected critical customer service information to improve future operations.

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