SPOKANE, Wash. — With below-freezing temperatures and snowy weather, Spokane city leaders added $45,000 in funding to a shelter to accommodate additional beds for women without homes.
The City Gate center was previously a daytime drop-in facility.
The funding will provide enough staff to cover overnight operations, according to city spokesperson Kirsten Davis.
A city report for Sunday, Jan. 12, showed 40 available beds for adult men at shelters in the city, while only eight beds were available for women.
Davis said with January’s snow and frigid temperatures, city leaders needed to make a quick decision to help keep more of the city’s female population out of the cold.
“Between a combination of the weather and cold temperatures in a period of time, we could expect a surge this week,” she said. “So we had to add to our emergency plan.”
Davis said providing space for women at City Gate will allow more space at other shelters.
“The question we had to answer was, ‘How can we adjust and be flexible to take care of the whole system and move it in that direction to take care of people the best that we can?’” Davis said.
City administrators were able to use their budget to bypass city council and approve emergency funding for City Gate faster.
Davis said the contract with City Gate will last until March, when city administrators will then propose a permanent solution to city council.
The city’s funding for City Gate was in addition to about $2 million the city council approved in the fall of 2019 to give shelters like Truth Ministries and House of Charities.
That amount also covered the purchase and repairs of the building that became the 24-hour Cannon Warming Center.