A group of Walla Walla University students, part of WWU's Engineers without Borders group, completed the assembly of a jumbo Conestoga hut. Their effort was made possible by the expertise and organization of Craig Volwiler, who previously oversaw the building and installation of an ADA jumbo hut, arranged for five contractor-built huts, and led the initial project to build 31 huts in 2017.
The great advantage of having a second 8' x 10' jumbo hut is that it serves as a two-bed women's overflow unit. Until now, if a man showed up at the gate when all the huts were assigned, he could go into the six-bed men's overflow unit. However, women were out of luck until a hut came open. Sometimes, staff would leave a hut open in case a woman sought shelter, but that was a limited strategy. Three days after the new hut came online, two women sought shelter while no huts were available, so the jumbo hut sheltered its first occupants.
At this point, available space for huts is maxed out. There are 36 standard 6' x 10' huts, 1 8' x 10' ADA hut, a 6-bed men's overflow space, and the new 8' x 10' women's overflow hut. With some huts sheltering a couple, the maximum capacity of the sleeping center is about 50 guests. Both the hut space and the management capacity tell the Alliance that we are unwise to plan more huts, even if space was available. The more effective emphasis is to keep moving people into better situations - permanent housing, treatment, or back with families - instead of accommodating more in temporary emergency shelter.
Many thanks to Craig and the WWU students for making this important final hut possible.