‘Curing Spokane’ producer purchases warehouse for city’s newest homeless shelter

SPOKANE, Wash. — A local industrial developer is tired of the growing homelessness issue in his hometown, so he decided to become part of the solution.

Larry Stone owns industrial properties and warehouses all over the West Coast, but his roots are in Spokane. It’s a city he loves but one he doesn’t think is heading in the right direction. He produced the documentary “Curing Spokane” back in 2019 about crime issues and possible solutions for the city to address the concerns. You can see that documentary HERE.

Just a month ago, Stone purchased the warehouse at 4320 E. Trent Ave. for $3.5 million. Now, he’s negotiating with the city to sign a lease on a new shelter.

“We have several people interested in renting, but we’ve held off because we want to get a good facility for the city,” Stone said.

He wants Spokane to have a new homeless shelter so people aren’t sleeping on the streets or camping out in neighborhoods.

“I think we’re attracting certain bad elements to Spokane because we have so many services and because we’re allowing this outdoor camping,” he said.

The new shelter will create a lot of much-needed bed space, but some homeless advocates feel it may be too big to fix the problem.

“Smaller shelters of 50 to 60 people is what’s recommended because it gives you a more close in, hands-on opportunity to work with people,” said Maurice Smith. He’s a homeless advocate who wants to humanize homelessness through his short films. You can view his work HERE.

Smith says smaller shelters work better to solve the issue, but the city looked at nearly 100 locations throughout the city. Every neighborhood they tried to put just one shelter in shut it down. Smith says people need a different outlook on the issue.

“I think one of the first things we have to do to address this issue of NIMBY-ism .. not in my backyard, I don’t want a shelter here is we’ve got to change our attitude towards the homeless,” he said.

Stone wants to see something different for his hometown which is something everyone appears to agree on.

“The situation has become far far worse over the last two years, and something has to be done about it,” Stone concluded.

“I’m glad to see a new shelter coming online because even a mega shelter is better than no shelter at all,” Smith added.

If the lease negotiations continue, Stone would like to see the new shelter open in two to three months. The City Council could vote as early as Monday on a zoning change in the industrial location. The next big question the city hasn’t released yet is what provider will run the new shelter.

READ: City of Spokane eyes E. Trent property for new homeless shelter

READ: ‘No prior warning’: Businesses worry about new shelter coming to East Spokane