City Of Spokane To Open Temporary Shelter At Downtown Library

Mar 25, 2020

Tija Danzig from the city of Spokane says the city is asking shelter operators to consider expanding to 24/7 operations during the coronavirus outbreak.
Credit Spokane COVID Response

Spokane city officials expect to add — by early next week — a new temporary facility to the inventory of shelters available to people who are homeless. It’s one of two measures that will be taken to provide help for sick people with few resources.

Mayor Nadine Woodward announced today [Wednesday] that the city is configuring its soon-to-be-renovated downtown library into a place that can house at least 100 people. This is intended to provide more physical space between people in the shelters.

“So this will be for healthy populations only, with no co-mingling of programs. This is an initial phase while we understand, in greater detail, the full extent of the need," Woodward said.

The city is also asking its existing shelters to ramp up their programs to full 24/7 coverage.

“We’ve been reaching out, around the clock, to find out what resources they need in order to do that, working with meal sites to help bring food to those shelters so that everyone gets a nutritious meal three times a day, finding out what other sanitation and hygiene needs that they have so we can help them fulfill that request,” said Tija Danzig, the senior manager for Spokane's Community, Housing and Human Service department.

Woodward says the city is also working with its regional partners to create a separate facility at the Fairgrounds. That would be for people who are sick who can’t take care of themselves. She says emergency funding from the state will help the city cover the cost of the shelter space expansions.