News

City of Spokane orders warming shelter operator to vacate; new allegations raised

SPOKANE, Wash. - The nonprofit selected to operate the City of Spokane's new warming center has been asked to vacate the location. 

City of Spokane spokeswoman Marlene Feist said additional allegations against Jewels Helping Hands' leaders have surfaced. 

Jason Green, along with Julie Garcia, own and operate the non-profit. Earlier this week, news of Green's criminal past came to light. In 2015, he pleaded guilty to embezzling money from his employer. 

The Spokane City Council selected Jewels Helping Hands to operate the emergency shelter and passed a resolution to set aside nearly $740,000 to fund operations for six months. 

The city said Thursday that the shelter's opening date would be delayed as they work to finalize permits and operating procedures. At that time, the city said they would continue to work with Jewels Helping Hands as the operator. 

RELATED: Cannon Shelter opening date pushed back, shelter organizer speaks about controversy

In a release sent Friday afternoon, the city said the non-profit has been asked to vacate, but did not detail the new allegations. However, the city did say final tenant improvements and life-safety requirements are proceeding, with the goal of opening the facility no later than November 22. 

The city is continuing to investigate the allegations and said their goal is to ensure that vulnerable citizens and taxpayer dollars are protected. 

Garcia told 4 News Now she received the email requesting they vacate, but said she is not aware of any new allegations. 

Garcia said Jewels Helping Hands will not vacate the facility, as the non-profit has met every requirement needed and went through background checks. 

"They cannot do that and it's not in our contract to be done," Garcia told 4 News Now. "The city should trust that the city employees do their job effectively and that's to review every receipt that comes in and every expense that comes out." 

RELATEDSpokane City Council decides on warming center location

RELATED: City responds to concerns over South Cannon warming shelter's operator



LOCAL AND REGIONAL NEWS

THIS WEEK'S CIRCULARS