Local businesses weigh in on Spokane’s homeless crisis

Local businesses weigh in on Spokane’s homeless crisis

Running a business is no easy job — and over the last several months, entrepreneurs near House of Charity have told KXLY the homeless crowds that loiter and litter have jeopardized their businesses.

Mimi Ewers owns a ballet studio next to the shelter and told KXLY in a 2017 interview that some families do not feel safe dropping their children off outside the studio near Browne and Pacific.

Chris Lowry owns an antique shop less than a block from the shelter and told KXLY in September that his patience had run out.

“Whether it’s trash, feces, human needles, I’ve had recliners, mattresses, you name it, it’s been on my front step,” Lowry said.

But not all businesses near HOC are losing hope.

Bruce Van Cott and his business partner bought a building near the shelter last May. Van Cott sees the area as downtown Spokane’s final frontier.

“I love this place, I think there’s so much potential down here and it’s so beautiful, and if everybody just gave up on places like this, where would we be?” Van Cott said. “The neighborhood itself, while it’s a little rough in certain areas, this particular block is gorgeous — if you look it’s all early 1900s buildings.”

The financial advisor understands there’s still a lot of work to be done, but Van Cott said Catholic Charities has done everything he’s asked for.

“When we’ve had an issue and we’ve called their response team — they’ve been down here,” he said.

Van Cott said he’s heard horror stories from other businesses in the area, but he says the bitterness many have toward Catholic Charities is not helping the problem.

“So many times people are focused on what the issues are rather than what the solution is,” Van Cott said. “We don’t need any more arguments, we all need to work together to solve this.”

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