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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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City will keep warming shelter at Spokane Convention Center open until Jan. 9

UPDATED: Fri., Dec. 31, 2021

“I feel safe here,” says John Tyler Ensminger, right as he talks with Junior Burton of The Guardians Foundation at the temporary warming shelter at the Spokane Convention Center on Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021. The shelter closed Sunday after remaining open for two weeks.  (Kathy Plonka/The Spokesman-Review)
“I feel safe here,” says John Tyler Ensminger, right as he talks with Junior Burton of The Guardians Foundation at the temporary warming shelter at the Spokane Convention Center on Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021. The shelter closed Sunday after remaining open for two weeks. (Kathy Plonka/The Spokesman-Review)
Staff reports

From staff reports

With cold temperatures expected to linger for the next week, and more snow on the way, the city of Spokane is extending 24/7 warming shelter services at the Spokane Convention Center through 8 a.m. Jan. 9.

“Extending for an additional week keeps our most at-risk community members out of the elements and monitored for illness while additional permanent enhancements are put in place,” Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward said in a news release. “This has been a community effort that has seen tremendous support over the holidays.”

The co-ed warming center, which opened Sunday ahead of the expected arctic storm in collaboration with the city, the Public Facilities District and the Guardians Foundation, drew 301 people at one point on Friday morning, the city said in a news release. That is the peak usage so far during the winter storm, and has more typically averaged around 150 people, the city said.

In addition to offering a warm respite for the city’s homeless residents and their pets, the warming center offers three meals a day. COVID testing will be offered next week, and the city is working with Spokane Regional Health District to offer a vaccination clinic as well, the city said.

The Guardians Foundation also will continue to accept donations of blankets, non-perishable food, socks, hats, gloves, hand warmers, and undergarments for distribution to warming center guests as needed. Those items should be delivered to the Cannon Street Shelter, 527 S. Cannon St.

The Spokane Fire Department will conduct wellness checks of vulnerable people who are out in the weather, the city said, and the Spokane fire and police departments have been handing out bus passes to help individuals get to shelters.

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