City responds to concerns over South Cannon warming shelter’s operator
SPOKANE, Wash. — Questions are being raised about the expected operator of the South Cannon warming shelter in downtown Spokane.
On Tuesday, the conservative political action committee Shift Washington published an article pointing fingers at the city of Spokane over its decision to select the non-profit Jewels Helping Hands and one of its leader, Jason Green, to operate the shelter.
The article details Green’s criminal history and felony conviction.
According to an FBI release from 2015, Green pleaded guilty to embezzling money from his employer, U.S. Foodservice.
The FBI said Green and his friend, Jimmie Dillingham, made up phony invoices indicating Dillingham’s company had done work for U.S. Foodservice. Green was found to have abused his access to payment systems at the company to approve expenditures for work that was never done and changing computer codes in the accounting records to conceal the fraud.
In late October, the city council selected Jewels Helping Hands to operate the emergency shelter and passed a resolution to set aside nearly $740,000 to fund operations for six months.
The City of Spokane released the following statement on Tuesday afternoon regarding the concerns being raised:
” The City of Spokane today learned some information about an expected provider of warming center services for this winter that has caused serious concern.
” The City is evaluating that information and will determine the best path forward as it relates to our contract with that provider. The City must be a responsible steward of the dollars citizens entrust with us.
” Our top priority remains the full implementation of our winter plan for those experiencing homelessness. The warming center set for South Cannon Street will open, following completion of tenant improvements that are currently under way. ”
Additionally, Jewels Helping Hands posted the following message to their Facebook page:
It is incredibly disheartening that we have politicians in this town that will stop at nothing to seek revenge and/or attempt to sabotage efforts if they feel their “POWER” is jeopardized. We know Mike Fagan pitched this “story” to reporters locally and he is likely seeking retribution since his son worked for the Guardians last year. We have been very candid about the serious concerns and complaints made against the Guardians regarding their operation of the warming centers. Every step of this process we have insisted those issues not be repeated.
Jason’s story is simply one of redemption and inspiration. Jewels Board, Staff, and Volunteers deeply admire Jason and Julie for their contribution to our community. Jason’s past experiences enable him to give an immense amount of understanding, compassion, and strength to our work together. We are grateful for his leadership.
And you can count on the ENTIRE Jewels Team and Board to continue to advocate for the health and safety of people who are homeless, regardless of the sick political climate or opposing politicians in this community.
Jewels Helping Hands Board Members
Despite the concerns, the city of Spokane said the South Cannon Street shelter will open as expected.
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