City books hundreds of hotel rooms to get homeless people out of the cold

The Clocktower and U.S. Pavilion in a wintry Spokane.

SPOKANE, Wash. — More and more people are looking for a place to stay during winter storms, and space is filling up fast.

The City of Spokane is moving people who are at high risk of catching COVID out of group shelters and into hotel rooms. Since the city started doing this last week, nearly 300 hotel rooms have been booked for homeless people and families.

According to the shelter capacity report the city provided to 4 News Now, three shelters were at capacity Monday night. However, nine shelters did have space.

Moving homeless people into hotel rooms isn’t new.

The Spokane Regional Health District started doing this during the pandemic, if a COVID patient experiencing homeless needed to be isolated.

“We’re able to respond based on the need,” said Mayor Nadine Woodward. “When weather arises, I mean we planned this two weeks ago, this isn’t something that we just did. We wanted to make sure where we can create more space and how we could create it.”

Shelters are covering the costs of transportation to hotels, free bus passes and other resources.

RELATED: City of Spokane, local shelters expanding space for homeless people during cold snap

As far as tonight, Mayor Woodward says people will be in hotels. The city’s plan to do this again will be re-assessed tomorrow.

While fire fighters and police officers have been called out to a few cases of people exposed to the cold temperatures, no one has died since the cold weather hit us last Tuesday.