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Guardians Foundation will operate year-round Cannon Street homeless shelter in Spokane

The Cannon Street location will operate as a night-by-night, drop-in and day use shelter.

SPOKANE, Wash — The City of Spokane has partnered with the Guardians Foundation to provide a year-round homeless shelter.

The shelter will operate as a night-by-night, drop-in and day use shelter with wrap-around services. It will be located on Cannon Street, according to a press release from the city. 

Jewels Helping Hands previously operated a warming center at the Cannon Street location, which led to controversy between the Spokane nonprofit and the city. In November 2019, the city said it was investigating concerns about the nonprofit's leaders. Jewels Helping Hands defied a city order asking the nonprofit to vacate the Cannon Street warming center during the investigation. 

KREM 2 later learned the city's allegation of a "serious concern" was against co-founder Julie Garcia for a theft charge in 2013 when she worked at Spokane in-home care provider Comfort Keepers. The charges were dismissed in 2015.  

According to the press release, the daytime services include outreach and referral services for employment, housing, behavioral health, substance abuse, and other resources. There ill also be help with case management, transportation, and temporary storage for personal belongings. 

The contract is a new form of managing shelters as it discontinues an a seasonal approach to sheltering that prioritizes being open in the winter.

The Cannon Street facility was remodeled last fall in collaboration with regional governmental partners to add restroom, shower and laundry space.

The Guardians Foundation has been operating a similar program to meet COVID-related needs for more than a year under the pandemic emergency. It will formally begin as the year-round operator at that location on Oct. 1 to continue that work. Moving to a year-round contract with an operator introduces greater predictability for those who use the space and allows the provider to better plan for staffing needs.

“Stability and predictability are critically important when it comes to establishing the trust and relationships that help people take their next steps out of homelessness,” Mayor Nadine Woodward said. “Finalizing this arrangement continues uninterrupted the connection to services and the staff who are working to get those individuals housed.” 

The $1.85 million contract is for 72 adults in accordance with social distancing guidelines, three meals per day, and a point of contact for real-time shelter availability to help direct those in need of services or sheltering, according to the press release.