Spokane City Council in the dark about city’s role in House of Charity move

House Of Charity Moving

SPOKANE, Wash. – Within hours of announcing that the City had formalized a partnership to help move the House of Charity out of downtown, the Spokane City Council was asking questions about the city’s role in paying for it.

Mayor Nadine Woodward announced “House of Charity 2.0” during her State of the City Address on April 27. 

READ: House of Charity moving homeless shelter outside of downtown Spokane

Catholic Charities of Eastern Washington has not specified the location of the new shelter but said it will be low-barrier and serve around 300 people. 

Woodward stressed it will be outside of the downtown core.

“This is big,” Woodward said during her address. “We’re excited to announce the city has formalized a partnership with Catholic Charities to pursue a new permanent shelter campus.” 

In an interview after the address, Catholic Charities CEO Rob McCann said “The mayor is helping us pay for one 24/7 staffing pattern.” 

Two hours later, Councilwoman Karen Stratton sent an email to City Administrator Johnnie Perkins and Catholic Charities CEO Rob McCann asking if the city was paying anything for the move. 

Catholic Charities Chief Housing Officer Jonathan Mallahan responded with a copy of a non-binding Letter of Interest the organization had sent to the city a few days prior. 

Signed LOI House of Charity 2.0 by Erin Robinson on Scribd

In the LOI, Catholic Charities calls the plan a “mutually beneficial project, which is dependent upon funding through City/County sources” for the development of the project and operational costs for up to five years.

The letter is non-binding and says Catholic Charities plans to engage the council on the plan.

Members of the council were still noticeably confused about the partnership during the Public Safety and Community Health Committee meeting on Monday. 

Pressed by Councilman Zack Zappone, City Administrator Perkins said the mayor’s office was committed to being collaborative with the council. 

But Zappone pointed out that they have been in the dark. 

“The mayor announced the move without collaboration with council. I want that on the record,” Zappone said. 

Zappone also asked Perkins about any financial commitments for House of Charity 2.0. 

The city administrator said the city has pledged no money to help Catholic Charities with the new shelter. 

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