City fails to activate warming centers despite frigid temps

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by KREM.com & Whitney Ward

KREM.com

Posted on January 22, 2013 at 4:54 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 22 at 6:42 PM

SPOKANE -- The City of Spokane’s effort to clean up a homeless camp in Downtown Spokane appears to be working, but another problem may be cropping up in its place.

Warming stations are supposed to be open for those out on the streets on extremely cold nights, but the system is not always working quite like it should.

Since January 10, it has fallen to 15 degrees or below ten times, but the warming stations have only been opened three times.

Pastor Rob Bryceson runs one of the City’s three official warming stations at First Covenant Church. He said each night the emergency response system is activated, it costs the city approximately $1,500.

“If [the City] budgeted a certain amount of money for that, and then a night comes up, then who's going to answer for that $1,500?  Or if it's two nights, that’s $3,000.  Who's going to yell and scream about that?  That's what it comes down to,” Bryceson said.

There are also problems with the rules.

Each morning, someone from the City checks the online National Weather Service. If the temperature is not slated to go below the 15 degree mark, the warming centers do no open, even if the actual temperature is lower.

The City said it is aware of the discrepancy and is always open to improving its policy.
 

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