Guardians Foundation to take over Cannon St. center, city says Jewels Helping Hands violated agreement

Coeur D'alene Park Homeless Tent 3

SPOKANE, Wash. — The City of Spokane on Thursday entered an agreement with the Guardians Foundation to take over the Cannon Street shelter starting Friday.

The space has been serving as a warming center since October, when the city entered an agreement with Jewels Helping Hands as its operator.

City spokesman Brian Coddington said that agreement was set to expire on Friday, but confusion led Jewels’ operators to believe the contract was expiring Thursday.

As a result, Jewels removed more than 100 people from the space on Thursday and began setting up tents in Browne’s Addition’s Coeur d’Alene Park, which the city said violates their agreement.

As this was happening, city, county and health district officials were reviewing requests for proposals for someone to take over the Cannon Street space in light of the COVID-19 scenario.

On Thursday morning, Dr. Bob Lutz from the Spokane Regional Health District signed off on the Guardians to take over the Cannon Street center, as well as the temporarily shelter at the downtown public library starting Friday.

For now, the Cannon shelter will operate as-is so those experiencing homelessness have a place to sleep.

RELATED: Cannon Street warming shelter closing as contract ends this week

Regional leaders are now looking at proposals for a solution that will transition the space to a day use facility in the future. Coddington said that will not happen for months because of COVID-19.

The shelter space at the library will remain in use until May 15, when construction resumes there. Coddington said, in the interim, the library space will be operated by the Guardians, as well.

Coddington did not say anything about a penalty for Jewels, but said the city is focusing on making sure people realize they have a safe place to sleep on Thursday night.

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