New Trent Ave shelter set to open next week

SPOKANE, Wash. — The new homeless shelter on E. Trent Ave is set to open next week.

On Monday night, the Spokane City Council approved an agreement to name The Guardians Foundation as the shelter operator through December 2023.

The shelter will provide access to showers, restrooms and three meals daily. It will be open 24/7 and the city says there will be separate spaces for men, women, couples and people in the LGBTQ+ community.

Beds have been ordered and will be constructed as they arrive. There will also be space for personal storage underneath. The city says about 40 beds will be available for the soft opening and additional mats will be provided in the interim. Capacity is expected to grow to at least 250 over time.

Private security will also be in place to monitor activity outside the center and within surrounding blocks. The Guardians will also use staff ambassadors to conduct rounds in the neighborhoods 24 hours a day and interact with neighbors.

“We are going to be a new neighbor and with that comes the responsibility to be a good neighbor,” Guardians Executive Director Mike Shaw said. “Communication with our neighbors will be key to that relationship and help us make needed adjustments as we go.”

Despite the shelter opening soon though, people living at Camp Hope don’t have any plans to leave soon.

“I just like my freedom, you know I’m 60 years old, I don’t like being told what to do,” said Michael Ashby, whose been at the camp since day one. “We pretty much do what we want in many ways, I just like it here.”

Other campers say they plan to leave eventually, but don’t want to go to a shelter like the one on Trent.

“I do have other things going, like I am looking into other programs that help with housing and stuff like that, but I don’t plan on being here forever. But I’m not going to the shelter though,” said Heather Morse, who lives at the camp.

The city says the Trent shelter will be more than just for people living at Camp Hope, and they know people won’t be leaving the camp all at once. But Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward says eventually, they will have to move.

“We know that not all of them will go to the Trent shelter, but there will be other options for them as well,” said Woodward. “At some point they will. I mean the whole purpose of this commerce funding, the $24 million that’s coming to the county, is to eventually remove people from right of way encampments. I mean that’s the end goal here. Now whether or not that takes a month or two months we’ll have to see how that plays out.”

The Guardians plan to provide transportation to and from the Trent shelter.

The Guardians and the City will jointly host an open house Thursday from 4-6 p.m. to give neighbors a chance to tour the center and meet its staff.

READ: Catholic Charities seeks additional location options for House of Charity 2.0

READ: Spokane City Council names The Guardians as operator of Trent shelter