Neighbors, non-profit voice concern over proposed homeless shelter on East Sprague

Neighbors, non-profit voice concern over proposed homeless shelter on East Sprague
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The city of Spokane is one step closer to turning a former grocery store on East Sprague into a homeless shelter — a move that has some neighbors and a non-profit concerned.

City council members voted unanimously to approve the purchase of the former Grocery Outlet store at 4210 E Sprague for $1.8 million. The City has 60 days to back out of the agreement.

Tammy Mitchell lives behind the former grocery store and said drug use and prostitution in the area is out of control.

“It’s going to be way worse,” Mitchell said. “Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been homeless and I’ve been in that situation but I know by being homeless and being a recovering addict what is going to happen.”

The shelter would also share the same parking lot with Project ID, a non-profit that helps people with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Staff told council members they already deal with drug use and prostitution in the parking lot. Rick Pisani, who serves on Project ID’s board of directors, told council members he fears for the vulnerable adults they serve.

“These are young adults that have aged out of the system,” Pisani said. “Unfortunately, they don’t have a filter. Most of them don’t have the ability to stop and say ‘oh, this person might hurt me,’ or ‘this person might do this or take that from me.'”

Council President Ben Stuckart said security would be an essential component and the shelter itself will serve as a stepping stone toward permanent housing.

Council members are holding a town hall July 30 to get more input from neighbors and businesses.

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