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Spokane Mayor Announces Shelter Service Expansion, More Sanitation Downtown

Rebecca White/SPR

The city is changing several of the homeless services it offers, remodeling its newest shelter on Mission Avenue and opening the Cannon Street shelter year-round.

Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward announced several updates to how the city responds to homelessness at a presser Thursday. She said the city’s newest shelter on Mission Avenue is being remodeled into a service center which will help people staying there get into long term housing, instead of continuing as a night by night shelter.

She said one of the biggest changes is moving the Cannon Street shelter away from seasonal services. It currently only operates during the coldest, and warmest months of the year.

“We’re going to avoid the scramble to ramp and then to ramp down. We’ll be able to pivot very very quickly with one operator here year-round depending really on the season, or on the weather, or how the weather is that season. So yeah, it’s going to provide much more flexibility than we’ve ever had here.”

She said the change would help the city avoid scrambling to provide beds and services like it has in the past just before a cold snap, or heat wave.

The city is also hiring more sanitation, litter and clean up crews for downtown, and for other areas that see frequent illegal camping. Woodward said Spokane is also hoping to bring back Geiger clean up crews, which were halted for most of the pandemic.

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