Non-profit leaders claim to be victims of racial attack amid warming center controversy
SPOKANE, Wash. — The owners of a non-profit at the center of a warming center controversy with the City of Spokane are now claiming to be the victims of an attack that they say took place on Friday.
Leaders of Jewels Helping Hands shared photos with 4 News Now. In one photo, you can see a rock wrapped in paper that a leader of the non-profit claimed was thrown through the window of his family’s home. On the paper reads a racial slur believed to be directed at members of the non-profit and telling them to “shut up.”
Julie Garcia with Jewels Helping Hands says she believes the attack is linked to the non-profit’s recent stalemate with the City of Spokane.
Tanya Riordan, a board member and operations manager with Jewels Helping Hands, said the city has no just cause to ask them to vacate.
The nonprofit added that they are in compliance with the contract and are ready to move forward.
On Friday, the city of Spokane asked the organization to vacate the shelter due to new allegations that were brought to light. However, on Saturday, the organization was still there setting up.
4 News Now asked Jewels Helping Hands if they were afraid of the repercussions that would come in not leaving the shelter when asked, they said: “The repercussions of people suffering on the streets is too great to ignore. Those are the repercussions we are concerned about.”
4 News Now reached out to the city, who said they did ask the organization to vacate, however they won’t enforce it over the weekend.
“We feel like that would escalate the situation,” a city spokesperson said.
The weekend will then give the city time to look into the allegations and see where things land on Monday.
“It’s just a difficult position. A very complicated contractual situation and the reality is that, we are dispersing tax payers and federal funds. We have basic things we have to meet and this doesn’t just affect Jewels, it affects every other agency we uphold to the same standard,” the city said.
Jewels Helping Hands says they are ready to open up. Though the city won’t let them, they’ll be at the shelter throughout the weekend because word went out they’d be open. They’re there to offer other resources for the vulnerable population to go to.
Jewels Helping Hands was recently chosen to operate Spokane’s newest warming center, located on Cannon Street.
However, the allegations against at least two staff members at the non-profit have prompted the city to reevaluate that partnership.
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