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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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City officials looking to expand shelter as cold returns to Spokane

UPDATED: Fri., Feb. 18, 2022

The Spokane Convention Center is shown earlier this winter when it was used as an emergency homeless shelter because of a cold snap. A plan for a temporary homeless shelter in Hillyard was abandoned by Mayor Nadine Woodward on Monday amid fierce neighborhood opposition.  (Jordan Tolley-Turner/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW / The Spokesman-Review)
The Spokane Convention Center is shown earlier this winter when it was used as an emergency homeless shelter because of a cold snap. A plan for a temporary homeless shelter in Hillyard was abandoned by Mayor Nadine Woodward on Monday amid fierce neighborhood opposition. (Jordan Tolley-Turner/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW / The Spokesman-Review)

Winter isn’t over, and neither is the need for emergency homeless shelter.

Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward said Friday that the administration is looking to expand shelter capacity as cold weather returns next week.

The city’s existing shelters often have been full throughout the winter, which is typically when demand is highest.

The National Weather Service is forecasting daily high temperatures will fail to reach above freezing starting Monday and lasting through at least Wednesday. Overnight low temperatures during that stretch will reach as low as 9 degrees.

The city is working to open a new homeless shelter but that won’t be ready in time for next week’s cold snap.

“We are working on a temporary solution to bridge that other project as well,” Woodward said.

The details of the shelter plan for next week, and the long-term plan beyond that, were not ready to be revealed Friday, Woodward said.

City law requires the city to open emergency shelter when the forecast falls below 32 degrees.

During a streak of bitter cold around New Year’s Day, the city opened a temporary warming shelter inside the Spokane Convention Center that closed after two weeks. The city said the Convention Center was damaged by its use as a shelter and needed to be repaired before upcoming events.

Since the closure of the Convention Center warming shelter, the administration acknowledges that it has failed to meet the standard set by city law, but argues that it has struggled to find a suitable location for a new shelter.

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