SPOKANE, Wash — When temperatures drop as low as the current conditions, finding a place to shelter can sometimes be the difference between life and death.
The Way Out Shelter in Spokane houses more than 100 people at their center for the homeless. The Salvation Army took over the facility in August. Its original purpose was to provide relief to the temporary shelter at the Spokane Arena and serve as a safe location amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Major Ken Perine works with the Salvation Army to oversee the the shelter.
“Every year there are numerous people who die in the United States because they freeze to death outside,” Perine said. “It’s very important to have a shelter like this one here that is open and serves people food so they can be safe inside and not outside.”
The downtown shelter has been directing homeless people to open beds throughout the city.
Throughout this cold snap, the shelter said it will provide transportation for anyone that can’t make it into their shelter because of capacity limits.
COVID-19 protocols are still in place at the shelter. While staying at the shelter people must wear a mask and stay physically distant.
“Even if COVID wasn't here, we need shelters like this,” Perine said.
The shelter is open 24 hours for seven days a week.