SPOKANE, Wash. — The Spokane City Council approved an emergency ordinance to temporarily suspend the "sit and lie" ordinance.
The ordinance says no one can sit or lie down on a public sidewalk between 6 a.m. and midnight, specifically in the downtown core.
"I was ecstatic that the council voted to suspend it. It's an inhumane law," Joan Medina, a Spokane resident said.
The council's action currently says the ordinance can't be enforced until 30 days after 200 more beds are made available.
City Communication Director Marlene Feist told KREM the council's vote on the emergency ordinance seemed unnecessary. That is because the sit and lie law doesn't apply to someone who is homeless when shelters are full.
This is something even Spokane Police have confirmed in the past they are practicing.
"They have the right to exist on public property. They have to exist somewhere. So the next steps are to repeal all of the law that criminalize people who are homeless and to get resources like to toilets that are open 24-7 for people so they have a place to go," Medina said.
The additional 200 beds will become available at the city's warming shelters.
The city is currently negotiating contracts with local organizations for warming shelters, which will be open daily during the winter. This means, they won't be temperature activated.
So far, the city is finalizing contracts with Open Doors for families, Women's Hearth and Hope House for adult women. The last to be negotiated is a men's warming shelter.
Feist expects negotiations to wrap up within a week, and the shelters to open shortly after.