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Catholic Charities looking to buy Quality Inn to relocate some campers living near I-90 and Freya

The building could have space for 110 people if the Department of Commerce awards Spokane County leaders the funds to relocate campers.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Today marked the deadline for local leaders to submit a plan to remove some 600 people living at the homeless camp near I-90 and Freya.

If the proposal is approved, the county would receive nearly $25 million in state funds to relocate campers.

Spokane County leaders are telling the Department of Commerce they'll have a plan and several places to relocate homeless campers within 90 days if they are awarded the funds.

"They want us to come up with a plan that would meet their requirements to move people out of that encampment and into housing," Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward said.

Their proposal would add 650 additional beds, half of them in spaces classified as permanent housing. Right now, Catholic Charities is discussing the purchase of the Quality Inn on the Sunset Highway.

"It would be converted into apartments from the motel rooms that they are," Woodward said.

The building could have space for 110 people within 90 days of funding. Funds have also been earmarked for 60 tiny homes within the Trent shelter, providing a private space for an additional 120 people.

But, the first step of this large plan is assessing each person living in the field near the freeway.

"It's finding out what kind of services they need and directing them to those services," Woodward said. "Is that temporary housing? Is that shelter housing? Is that permanent housing? The assessment part of it is the very first step, that's going on right now."

"Acquiring the properties, getting the shelter open, purchasing the Quality Inn, those are all things that happen next," Woodward added.

"These are complex issues and things we've been discussing for years and we're just trying to put all the resources we can to secure this opportunity for our community because it's a huge opportunity and we want to make it work," Davis said.

These plans will only move forward if the Department of Commerce awards the county with these funds. That decision is expected to happen within the coming days.

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