‘I don’t feel safer’: West Hills neighbors express concerns with Catalyst Project

SPOKANE, Wash. — People living in Spokane’s West Hills neighborhood have voiced their concerns over the Catalyst Project, Catholic Charities’ newest housing project coming to their neighborhood.

People living there say they have concerns about the project, especially because they say they don’t feel they have any say in it. They said they were stunned when they found out that the Catalyst Project was coming to their neighborhood.

They said they didn’t ask for this, but the shelter is coming to them anyway.

A group known as “Preserve West Hills” says they have been meeting with Catholic Charities to understand and share the changes coming to the neighborhood with neighbors.

Preserve West Hills held a meeting on Saturday to discuss these issues.

“I don’t feel any better about having a shelter near my neighborhood…I don’t feel safer, I don’t think my neighbors feel safer, I’d like to know what they’re gonna do for my safety,” said Sandy Nichols, a concerned resident.

Concerned West Hills neighbors gathered in Restoration Church Saturday to hear Catalyst Project updates presented by Preserve West Hills.

“It was an ad HOC group that formed in reaction to hearing the news,” said Annie Iishi, a member of “Preserve West Hills.”

Iishi says she, along with others, met with Catholic Charities multiple times to get answers.

“There were some things that were hard to accept,” Iishi said. “And that is that they did not notify or engage our community because they felt they had an obligation to the owner of the quality inn motel to keep it secret until the deal was done.”

Iishi says the shelter is set to start accepting people living at Camp Hope, Hope House and House of Charity on Dec. 1.

“They will be phasing them in,” Iishi said. “They won’t have all of their beds filled with the full 100. It will be done in phases.”

Other neighbors at the meeting said they’d like to have more of a say when it comes to the new shelter.

Catholic Charities and other officials weren’t at Saturday’s meeting. Instead, Dawn Kinder, the lead of the project, wrote a letter to neighbors, stating that they are taking steps to ensure the Catalyst Project will be safe for everyone.

This includes adding a fence around the perimeter, bag checks for visitors and a phone line for West Hill Neighbors to contact if they feel unsafe.

No Catholic Charity Officials nor City leaders were invited to attend the meeting because Preserve West Hills wanted to keep the meeting peaceful and productive.

4 News Now reached out to Catholic Charities and have not heard back from them.

READ: Catholic Charities receives preliminary approval for Catalyst Project

READ: West Hills Neighborhood Council meeting with Catholic Charities about Catalyst Project