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Spokane City Council Votes To Take Bids For Temporary Shelters

House of Charity/Catholic Charities

The Spokane City Council is looking for a way to find more shelter space for homeless people for the next nine months.

Last night [Monday] the council voted to take bids from organizations willing to open venues to serve as small shelters.

This comes just a few days before the House of Charity — which is the city’s largest shelter — reduces its capacity. The city plans to build another permanent shelter, but that’s not expected to open before July. Many worry the city won’t have enough space for those who want get out of the cold at night this fall and winter.

The city has asked for bids from organizations willing to provide spaces for warming purposes. And now, says council member Breean Beggs, the council should explore how much it would cost to operate one or more small overnight venues.

“Technically, all it’s really asking is that when the requests for proposal go out, that they include not just a proposal for warming shelters on very cold nights, but proposals for sheltering people every night,” Beggs said.

Council member Karen Stratton says she supports the idea in concept, but that there are hurdles to overcome in making it reality.

“I think we need to be clear that, right now, we don’t know how much this is going to cost and we don’t know where the money’s coming from to pay for it," Stratton said. "We’re going to have that tough decision at the end of this, when the RFPs and RFQs are in. I don’t want people to think this is a done deal.”

Council member Candace Mumm encouraged other local governments to work with Spokane to find housing solutions for the homeless this winter.

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