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Spokane Mayor Woodward hears from public about emergency shelters response

Woodward explained that the proposed ordinance would jeopardize existing partnerships by requiring resources to be diverted to the expansion of the shelter system.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Mayor Woodward held a public meeting Wednesday to discuss the city's emergency shelters response after a proposed ordinance from the Spokane City Council that would expand the City's responsibilities dramatically.

There were multiple stakeholders in attendance at the meeting including people from Jewel's helping hands, the salvation army and the Guardians Foundation.

Woodward started off the meeting by accusing the City Council that they were wanting to move forward with the policy before hearing from stakeholders.

Woodward also explained that the proposed ordinance would jeopardize existing partnerships by requiring resources to be diverted to the expansion of the shelter system. Additionally, Woodward said that it would cost the city $4 million a year to open up as many bed spaces as the ordinance calls for. Woodward explained that it wouldn't get used.

As for the public comment, most have not directly addressed the ordinance but discussing the ongoing homeless debate.

One public commenter explained that they feel that people aren't using the resources because they either don't feel welcomed there or didn't have access to information about them. An additional person said they felt there were transportation barriers to cooling shelters.

A man from Jewel's Helping hands is in favor of the proposed ordinance explaining that the beds are in fact needed, and if $4M saves one life it’s worth it. 

Former City Council President Ben Stuckart, who now works in housing, explained that there are millions of dollars available from the American Rescue Plan that could be used for these emergency situations.

This is a developing story and will bring you updates as more information comes out.