City Council to vote on homeless shelter resolution, mayor moves forward with plans

SPOKANE, Wash. — What type of homeless shelters does Spokane need or want to see? It’s a complicated question with no easy solution.

While the City searches for a provider for the proposed shelter at 4320 E. Trent Ave., the City Council has different ideas for how homeless shelters should look in the future.

The Council is expected to vote Monday on a resolution which will provide guidance to the City on new shelter specs.

On the resolution from the city’s agenda for April 25, Council Member Lori Kinnear is sponsoring the resolution for “establishing operational and facility requirements for additional low-barrier shelter investments.”

The resolution lists these points as the Highest Priority Criteria:
1. Shelter space at a location with around 100 regular shelter beds/acre on a daily basis, but that contains allowances for substantial surge capacity for extreme weather events;
2. Flexible space for increasing extreme weather capacity at appropriate locations by utilizing floor mats on a temporary basis;
3. Dedicated space for wrap-around service providers onsite to help individuals transition out of homelessness;
4. Provision for an independent security assessment and inclusion of recommended security as identified in that assessment;
5. Opportunity for on-site lockable storage;
6. Memorandum agreements with guest service providers;
7. Proximity and/or dedicated transportation to training sites (i.e. pre-apprenticeship programs, job search resources, educational resources, etc.

It also states “the City will solicit proposals for both a pallet shelter model of sheltering and a drive-in model of sheltering for non-recreational vehicles in
which people are living, both of which should serve around 100 individuals each, will have a secure, 24/7 monitored fenced perimeter to ensure the safety of guests, and are not adjacent to another homeless facility.”

While current Council Member Jonathan Bingle agrees with most of this, he has an issue with the 100 bed cap.

“My only big concern with it is again the capacity limits, and if we pass the capacity limits and we expect the Mayor to follow through with what we’re tasking her with, it’s a step backwards in our homeless situation,” he said.

Mayor Nadine Woodward doubled down she is still moving forward with her proposed shelter on Trent which could house 250 people or more in emergency situations. It’s important to note if the City Council approves this resolution, it’s only a suggestion for Woodward, not something binding she’ll have to adhere to. She says the growing homeless encampment in East Central isn’t expected to be cleared till June at the earliest.

READ: ‘Several weeks out’: Delays complicate new shelter, City Council prepares to pass new resolutions

READ: Spokane City Council strikes down ordinance change on proposed shelter