New addition at House of Charity to benefit shelter, neighbors
SPOKANE, Wash. — Drive past the House of Charity in downtown Spokane and you’ll notice some changes.
Trees have been cut down, new sidewalks are poured, and half of the shelter’s lot has been replaced by a large metal structure.
“I feel like this is the answer that I wish we would have had when we started the 24/7 shelter,” said House of Charity director Heather Schleigh.
While it may not look exciting now, Scleigh says the possibilities are endless once the structure gets a roof.
“It’s going to give us the capability to have a place where patrons can be off the street, off the sidewalk, a designated smoking area,” she said.
When the shelter was built, the courtyards were designed to be smoking areas. Then state law changed, and smokers needed to stay 25 feet away from a building’s entrance.
“We were actually fined and that was a great catalyst for us to say, how d we create the space?” says Schleigh.
That’s where the new roof shelter comes in. The $285,000 project is being funded by a grant through the Department of Commerce.
“Our neighbors don’t really want to see all of our patrons outside all of the time, and we understand that,” Schleigh said.
And so do many of the House of Charity clients.
“We want this place to look better because they do help people, said Amber. “And not get such a bad wrap because most of the people that did those bad things and made that dirty mess didn’t even stay here.”
Amber and Karen are just some of the volunteers picking up trash, cigarette butts and needles, trying their best to keep the street clean and holding those who litter accountable.
“Oh, I yell at them,” says Karen. “Especially when they do it in front of me. I’m like, really?”
House of Charity says construction of the new outdoor space is behind schedule, but it should be finished in the next few weeks.
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