Spokane borough sues over homeless housing projects

The group, Spokane for Safe Neighborhoods, claims in the lawsuit that the City of Spokane and other groups violated the law by placing three facilities for the homeless.

SPOKANE, Wash. — A group of Spokane neighbors in the West Hills area is suing the City of Spokane, Catholic Charities, Empire Health Foundation and others over plans to open three homeless centers in the neighborhood.

The group, Spokane for Safe Neighborhoods, claims in the lawsuit that there was no public process, no public hearings, no land use approvals issued and no environmental review of impacts and alternatives.

“…When you establish a homeless shelter, there are government processes and standards that must be followed,” William Hagy, president of the neighborhood group, said in a written statement provided. “The City of Spokane can’t just say, ‘We give up. Put them anywhere, just take them out of downtown. And that’s basically what our municipal government does.

Among the reasons for the lawsuit, Hagy claims the City of Spokane violated the land use code when it told the “Department of Commerce that the Quality Inn site is city-approved for a homeless shelter.” . Hagy also says the proposal “is likely to have a significant negative environmental impact” and wants the city to conduct an environmental review.

“Anyone familiar with the Catholic Charities Shelter or Homeless Housing in Downtown Spokane knows that a homeless shelter or housing opportunity can lead to violent crime, robbery and other activity. crime in the area,” Hagy said in a written statement provided. “You can’t take a small neighborhood and have it absorb a huge population of homeless people. And even if you disagree about it, you can’t break the law…”

The complaint also says the proposed accommodations are too far from necessities such as grocery stores and community services, and that the West Hills are being placed on a “disproportionate burden.”

The Washington State Department of Commerce recently responded to concerns raised by West Hill residents, saying they have a “legitimate argument” that their neighborhood should not have a disproportionate share of facilities serving people who were previously homeless.

“Commerce would be responsive to additional housing solutions in other parts of the county offered by local Spokane County governments,” Penny Thomas, Commerce’s media relations manager, said in a statement.

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