City Council restarts search for homeless shelter operator due to ‘conflict of interest’

SPOKANE, Wa. — An annual snapshot of Spokane County’s homeless population reveals a 2-year increase. The 2022 Point-in-Time count showed an increase of 13% across all populations since the last count, in 2020.

A total of 1,757 people were counted this year, as compared to the 1,599 people counted back in 2020, which is the last time the count was taken, because of the pandemic.

The unsheltered count has gone up by 52% since 2020. Mayor Nadine Woodward has a plan in place to resolve the issue, with some recent developments.

City Council released a statement today announcing that they are re-starting their search for the shelter operator, for the future Trent Avenue shelter, due to a conflict of interest.

“A couple of members of the C-O-C board who were providers and part of the proposals were in a meeting where that board was discussing who the provider should be. That’s the conflict” explained Mayor Woodward.

Now, they’re putting together a new review committee.

“The council has put forward a resolution on what we think should be included in the request for proposal,” said Council Member, Zack Zappone.

The City Council has expressed concerns about the capacity of this low barrier shelter, and while she’s keeping the size the same, Mayor Woodward says she has taken those recommendations into consideration in this request for proposal.

“My goal and a lot of the council’s goal is to look for long-term and permanent solutions for homelessness,” added Zappone.

The Mayor says the 33-thousand square foot facility has the flexibility to isolate people into smaller groups, and she emphasizes our need for that space.

“We have more than 300 of them camping out at the Washington State DOT property. We still have people on the street and under viaducts,” the Mayor told us.

The city is looking for submittals on two separate project types- that is operations and services- to help men and women escape homelessness. They’re accepting proposals through May 19th.


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