SPOKANE, Wash.-- The House of Charity, located in downtown Spokane, was initially planned to house 109 people each night; however, in the past year, it has been sleeping over 300 men, women, couples and service animals.
The City of Spokane and Catholic Charities announced Friday that they were moving toward a long-term plan to alleviate current overcapacity situations at the House of Charity.
“The City of Spokane and Catholic Charities have agreed to reduce the shelter capacity at the House of Charity, in order to continue the development of an emergency shelter system that provides for health, safety and dignity of shelter patrons and staff, mitigates for the secondary impacts of homelessness, and facilitates movement to permanent housing for the people accessing shelter services,” said Spokane Mayor David Condon.
Although the House of Charity programs have alleviated homelessness in downtown Spokane, the city said it has placed a great deal of stress on staff, the facility, and the surrounding neighborhood.
The city said it was doubling the number of outreach service workers after the City Council approved an increase in budget earlier in July.
Starting September 1, the shelter will no longer be open 24/7 and it will also start reducing capacity. The House of Charity and the city are in the process of developing a new shelter that will open its doors on July 1, 2019.
The city said it is not reducing its investment in emergency shelters, but instead it is redirecting its funding to add an additional resource for the community.
The House of Charity will discontinue overnight accommodations for men on the first floor and close the shelter in the afternoons for cleaning. Even with the changes, Catholic Charities said it will continue to provide overnight sleeping options for men and women on the second floor of the shelter and will continue to provide overnight shelter for women on the first floor.
The city said it will also support warming centers and continue to provide emergency indoor sheltering during extreme weather over the upcoming winter season.