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Spokane City Council votes to allow homeless shelters in industrial areas

A photo from the Spokane County Assessor's office of the proposed Trent Avenue homeless shelter.
Spokane County Assessor's Office
A photo from the Spokane County Assessor's office of the proposed Trent Avenue homeless shelter.

The Spokane City Council voted to allow homeless shelters in industrial areas.

Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward says the change is one of three steps needed to open a new shelter on Trent Avenue and potentially more homeless resources in the future. The zoning change was also strongly supported by business groups, who said it’s a safer option than allowing more shelters to open downtown.

The City is in the final stages of negotiating a lease on a new space with wrap-around services and receiving proposals from prospective operators of that shelter," Woodward said in a statement. "Both are being done in partnership with a growing list of community members who are willing to be part of the solution. We appreciate the City Council’s action tonight and look forward to their continuing support as we put the health and safety of our community first.”

All city council members at the meeting said they supported the change, but several such as Betsy Wilkerson, say they still had questions and concerns about the budget and how services will be provided.

“We're not talking about cost, we're not talking about sustainability, still no numbers, still no lease and it still feels like a blank check,” Wilkerson said.

City Manager Johnnie Perkins told the city council that budget, provider information and a lease would be presented to them on June 6.

The zoning change was an emergency ordinance, which means the city council is required to hold a public hearing to make the change permanent.

Rebecca White is a 2018 graduate of Edward R Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University. She's been a reporter at Spokane Public Radio since February 2021. She got her start interning at her hometown paper The Dayton Chronicle and previously covered county government at The Spokesman-Review.