SPOKANE, Wash. — Homelessness in Spokane is not a new problem, but it is a growing problem. The City Council and Mayor Nadine Woodward say they are committed to finding solutions. However, they have very different ideas on how to do that. They shared those opinions at the City Council meeting Monday night.
The City Council approved the resolution after a lengthy discussion with public commentary and city council discussion. As a resolution, it does not require the Mayor to do anything. It’s more of a suggestion.
Meanwhile, the Mayor told us earlier today, that she’s moving forward with what she had planned all along, regardless of the outcome at the City Council meeting tonight.
“That’s why we need to get this shelter on Trent open. So we can offer the people who are in that field a better place,” Mayor Woodward explained.
For the past few months, the Mayor has been working on opening a 250-person shelter on Trent Avenue. The big point of contention on this resolution is the capacity. The resolution suggests 100 people max, much smaller than the planned Trent Avenue shelter.
“You can’t get sober when this stuff is around you. You need to give these people space,” one public commenter proclaimed.
Others feel that the Trent Avenue shelter is not going to be a solution at all.
“We hear a lot from people in the homeless community who have lived that experience say, ‘I don’t want to live in a warehouse. I don’t want to go there,’” Council Member Zack Zappone explained.
Either way, one thing is for certain. “This is not easy to navigate through. It was going on long before this mayor was in place and we’re going to continue to struggle with this,” Council Member Lori Kinnear said.
Meanwhile, the Mayor says she has another long-term solution that she’ll announce in her State of the City address on Wednesday.
“The goal is to move more of the resources that have been concentrated downtown because we’ve seen the impact on what it’s done to commercial property owners, business owners, people who want to visit downtown. We want to improve the environment of the economic center of this entire region but deconcentrating some of those services,” the Mayor explained.
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