SPOKANE, Wash. - On Saturday, Nov. 9, KHQ went to the warming center on South Cannon Street, Jewels Helping Hands, where workers told us they're ready to open, and that the City of Spokane's "alleged concerns" about safety, simply aren't true.
You've heard the city and the shelter go back and forth for days about the opening date, but now, it's time to hear from the people this delay is affecting the most, the homeless.
"It's cold, your toes freeze, your hands freeze, and you shiver. You can't focus on anything but trying to stay warm," Vickie Smith, homeless woman in Spokane, said.
"You got people who come by, and look at us like we're trash, they look down upon us, yet they're not doing anything to help. If you don't want us around here, then give us some place to go," Josh Carter, homeless man in Spokane, said.
Homelessness in Downtown Spokane is everywhere you look, especially if you're out the door by sunrise. You'll see people like Josh Carter packing his things, and starting his day.
"Police are going to arrest us, or give us tickets for camping, but the thing is, we don't have anywhere else to go," Carter said.
Josh has been homeless for a year, but Vickie Smith, she said she’s been sleeping outside for a decade.
"I don't get any chances out here, I haven't had a shower in 10 days, and I stink. I guess I'll stay stinky," Smith said.
The city said the shelter on Cannon Street has some safety concerns, like evacuation procedures and security, but now the city has asked the charity to leave the building over concerns of some staff members.
Jewels Helping Hands says the claims are baseless and they're not going anywhere, ready to serve up to 80 people at a time. The city says it could still be another two weeks before their doors open, but for Vickie, that day can't come soon enough.
"They're delayed and delayed, and they're purposely delaying them because of the funding, they want to wait for all this political crap," Smith said.
There's several other shelters open in Spokane right now, like the Union Gospel Mission and House of Charity, but the crowd KHQ talked with said on cold nights, those shelters fill up fast leaving them to sleep in doorways or under bridges.
"We're tired, we're stressed out, we want homes, we deserve homes, we need respect, and we need love. We need everything that you guys have, the only difference is, we don't have places to live," Smith said.