SPOKANE, Wash. — The new homeless shelter on Trent Avenue in Spokane is open. This has been anticipated for months as city officials and homeless advocates worked to secure the plan and the funding.
On the first day of the Trent Shelter opening, about 20 people moved in. The first shuttle left the homeless encampment near I-90 and Freya Street at approximately noon Tuesday.
Jewels Helping Hands, the non-profit at the camp, said they are getting the word out about the shelter and handing out flyers.
The shelter will provide three meals a day and an overnight sleeping area for people who want to stay long-term. There are currently 40 beds, but that number is expected to grow to 250.
“Everything seems like a good idea, honestly. I mean food and shelter everything, just to have a place. Keep people off the streets and stuff and away from here,” said Luis Moreno, a homeless encampment resident.
The city hopes the shelter gives people at the homeless encampment on I-90 and Freya a safe and healthy living option.
Andy James Kreig, a resident at that camp, was one of the first people on the bus to the shelter.
“I’ll have a bed and shower and all three meals and a place I can call home for now," Kreig said. "An address, and get me a phone, and people won’t be stealing me blind in sin city or downtown. I’m looking forward to it.”
While some encampment residents are excited for the shelter, many of the residents at the camp did not want to leave.
“It looks like a concentration camp. I don’t know if anyone’s seen it but it just like a bunch of tents and beds and looks like it’s in a big warehouse surrounded by a fence,” said Jonah Michael Johnson, a homeless encampment resident. “Nobody’s going to go there.”
The shelter currently does not have indoor plumbing, but Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward told KREM 2 she is hoping that funds from the Department of Commerce will pay for indoor plumbing and laundry facilities.
“What does this shelter consist of, change?" said Jason Staples, a resident at the homeless encampment. "Does it consist of empathy? Compassion for the people here?”
The mayor said that the shelter will be a new option for the campers, but is not a solution to fully clear out the camp.
Jewels Helping Hands said they hope as the weather gets colder and through word of mouth, more people will want to move into the shelter.
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