Julie Happy, Communications Manager, NBS Division, 509.625.7773
Friday, August 31, 2018 at 3:27 p.m.
Changes to the House of Charity sheltering hours and capacity, accelerated the City's planning measures for advancing the service system for people experiencing homelessness, including support for sheltering models that provide for health and safety, and facilitate movement to permanent housing Plans already in place included additional funding for more outreach that meets those experiencing homelessness where they are and working one on one to connect with the resources that best meet their needs. This direction and others in place will create the opportunity to move those experiencing homelessness into permanent housing in a more accelerated manner.
“Shelters are an integral piece of the coordinated service system, for safety and dignity and as a platform for access to housing,” said Kelly Keenan, Director of Community Housing and Human Services (CHHS).
With the transition in capacity at the House of Charity (HOC) on Saturday, September 1, the City of Spokane created an immediate interim plan that included, assisting and monitoring impacts to neighboring properties and businesses and the surrounding community, with an initial emphasis on the Labor Day weekend. Outlined below is a detail of the interim plan:
Litter and Garbage:
Geiger Correction Litter Crew will be doing frequent sweeps in a 2 to 3 block radius around HOC and the I-90 underpass, removing litter and garbage in the public right of way during the Labor Day Weekend.
Sweeps by the City's Litter Crew and Geiger Correction Litter Crew will occur for several weeks checking for litter in the area
Viaduct cleaning has been scheduled for the area.
To report litter or garbage, please contact 3-1-1 Monday through Friday 7a.m. to 6 p.m. or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Safety and Security
The Spokane Police Department has scheduled two officers to patrol in the vicinity of HOC from noon to 8 p.m., Saturday, Sunday, and Monday (September 1—3).
Beyond the Labor Day weekend, conversations are continuing between SPD and HOC on a transition plan for security moving forward.
To report safety issues, contact Crime Check, 456-2233 and 911 for emergencies.
Please report encampments by calling 3-1-1. Outreach services will assist homeless community members with accessing services and housing or sheltering options.
Homeless Services and Sheltering
HOC is one of many facilities and agencies that provide shelter and other services for those experiencing homelessness in our community. Other shelter service providers remain open and are unaffected by HOC changes. Outreach teams will continue to connect with people wherever they are in the community and will communicate with shelter service providers about available shelter space.
Please refer to the Homeless Resource Pocket Guide for information on assessment, shelter and meal options.
Additionally, direct outreach services to those experiencing homelessness have been enhanced, in response to local data indicating that Outreach is an effective service intervention. Outreach is particularly critical for those who choose not to seek shelter services for a variety of reasons.
Warming Centers will be activated later this year, and review of daily sheltering proposals will proceed.
The City is not reducing its investment in emergency shelter, but is re-directing emergency shelter funding to add an additional shelter resource for the community. The reduction in shelter capacity will be temporary, and allow the community to accelerate the process of moving toward a vision of sheltering that follows national best practices models, and is responsive to our local data. These changes will occur concurrently with many other system improvements including boosted funding for add outreach case workers, updating the assessment system for smarter service prioritization, the opening of an Integrated Social Services center that provides for one-stop service for individuals and families, and many others. The best practice models for helping our most vulnerable citizens are changing nationally to achieve these kinds of results, and we are taking advantage of the best thinking.
The City also will support the activation of a warming center program to provide emergency indoor sheltering during the upcoming cold weather season.
Persons experiencing homelessness can access assessment and housing services through SNAP (for households without children) and Catholic Charities (for households with adults and children). Additional homelessness resources for specific populations are available in the community, with locations and contact numbers specified in the Homeless Resource Pocket Guide.
The City and other stakeholders will work with the Continuum of Care to develop criteria for siting a new shelter project, outside the immediate downtown core, intended to be up and running by July 1, 2019.