Cannon Shelter on track to open Friday, City of Spokane says

Jewels Helping Hands employees are hard at work, getting ready for the big opening day of the Cannon Shelter.

The City of Spokane said the shelter should open no later than November 22, and right now, the city said the shelter is on track to open Friday.

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This comes after weeks of preparation and controversy surrounding the operators of the shelter.

Just a few weeks ago, the city learned that one of their board members had a past criminal conviction of embezzling money. The city then asked the organization to get an insurance policy in the event of employee theft.

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The organization was asked later to vacate the shelter at one point, because new allegations were brought forward regarding the leaders of Jewels Helping Hands.

Since then, it’s all been settled.

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“It’s been a long road to get here,” said Julie Garcia, the founder of Jewels Helping Hands.

On Wednesday, employees met with the health district to learn how to properly handle food, and went through all their policies and procedures. On Tuesday, staff members worked with the Spokane Police Department in figuring out how to deescalate situations with clients.

The city says “policies and procedures are in the final approval stages. Once the Mayor’s office receives word that the policies and procedures manual is complete from staff, he will sign and execute the contract so the doors can open.”

Although it’s not 100 percent certain they will open Friday, there’s a good chance.

“We don’t want to announce that out to our houseless friends until we have the exact time. I know we’ve had more people coming just to get supplies and not knowing this place is not open yet,” she said.

The organization just received heard they were getting a new shower trailer, as well, thanks to a donation from a local man. That won’t come for another few weeks, but the shelter will have a different shower trailer along with port a-potties outside the building.

The city said they are working with shelter staff to work with an architect in getting another toilet and shower facility inside the shelter. “The next phase of improvements will have additional facilities, but the city has not yet seen the architect plans or reviewed them with the contractor” the city said. So, a completion date is unknown at this time.

When the shelter opens, they will be able to serve 60 to 80 people. The city will be working to open another part of the building, bringing the capacity up to 120 people.