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

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SPOKANE, Wash. — The City of Spokane and local shelters have expanded space for homeless people, and contrary to other media reports, no one has died on the city streets due to the cold snap.

The city says they are using federal COVID funding to buy out hundreds of hotel rooms for people without homes, which comes as temperatures have dropped to near-zero several nights over the last week.

Shelter providers have also added more space to their facilities and covered transportation to hotels and other shelter spaces. First responders have also handed out free bus passes to people who need them.

“Our goal with our regional partners has been to promote flexibility in space and funding to make the system responsive to emerging needs,” said Mayor Nadine Woodward. “The partners have responded to find a warm space for those who are seeking to get out of the weather.”

The city says no homeless people have died from the cold since the worst of it started on Thursday, though the Fire Department and police have responded to a few cases of exposure.