An NPR member station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Salvation Army faces staffing challenges as city prepares to expand new Trent shelter

trent resource and assistance center shelter inside look
Rebecca White
These beds at the Trent Resource and Assistance Center shelter will soon be replaced by 350 metal beds. There is also mats on the floor in the shelter that will be kept when additional capacity is needed.

There are now around 270 people staying at the Trent Resource and Assistance Center in Spokane. Leaders at the Salvation Army say they’ve ironed out many challenges, but need more workers to keep up with the increasing demand for a warm, safe bed.

The Salvation Army, which took over the Trent shelter earlier this month, has had a number of challenges. An employee of the previous operator, The Guardians Foundation, has been accused of embezzlement.

In the first few weeks of The Salvation Army's oversight, workers and patrons complained of overflowing portable toilets and issues managing medication, according to a story by Range Media.

Major Ken Perrine, leader of the Spokane Salvation Army, said some issues were expected, and changes have been made, such as buying more toilets. He said the challenge now is staffing. Spokane County has purchased 350 new beds that will arrive sometime in the next month.

“Currently we're staffed for below that number,” he said. “So if people want a job, please go to the Salvation Army Indeed page and apply. We do need to raise the number of employees here to match the beds we're going to have eventually.”

Spokane city spokesman Brian Coddington said once the new metal beds are set up, mats that many are sleeping on now will still be available to further expand capacity.

He said the shelter is serving men and women, parents with children, and people with pets, and will not turn away anyone.

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.