City of Spokane working on finalizing warming shelter

Everyone knows colder weather is on its way to Spokane. The reality is that we’re nearing the end of October and the Ccity still doesn’t have a permanent plan on how to help the homeless.

The City Council asked for an update on what the city is doing to offer shelter. However, city leaders said everything is still up in the air.

In July, the City tried to buy an old grocery outlet store on East Sprague and turn it into a shelter. However, backlash from neighbors and a non-profit that serves disabled adults in the area, took those plans off the table.

The City has been struggling to find another place that can be a permanent shelter for those living on the streets. A few options were brought to the table at Monday’s City Council meeting.

The Community, Housing, and Human Services Department is looking to lease a warming center on South Cannon Street, which was one of last years sites.

The warming center would be operated either by Jewels Helping Hands or The Salvation Army and would eventually fit up to 120 people, but the building has one bathroom.

“There still are not bathrooms in there. There’s one set but it won’t meet the needs of 60 to 120 people,” said Tim Sigler, Interim Director for the Community, Housing and Human Services Department.

Some people at the meeting said the conditions at that location last year were “horrible,” but the city said many other locations they’ve looked at had the same problems — not enough bathrooms.

City leaders said this is the most feasible solution for the time being. They are also looking into turning South Cannon into a permanent facility, but that decision still hasn’t been made. For now, they’re hoping to lease the shelter for up to six months.