City councilmember calls on community to volunteer to help homeless

Karen Stratton, Spokane City Councilmember, 509.625.6712

Monday, December 7, 2015 at 2:07 p.m.

Spokane City Councilmember Karen Stratton is asking the Spokane community to help a group of community organizations working to provide transportation for the homeless to the emergency warming center in Spokane.

Central United Methodist church and the Episcopal Diocese of Spokane have stepped up and have been working on organizing a transportation shuttle designed to pick up those who need a safe transport from the pickup area Central United Methodist Church to the warming center at the Salvation Army facility outside the downtown core in the evening, and again from Salvation Army to Central United Methodist in the morning, where they can get a free hot meal at Shalom Ministries.

“With many of our homeless community members in the downtown area where services are located, it is difficult for them to safely get to and from the warming center that is outside the downtown core,” explained Councilmember Stratton.

Last year, when Stratton noticed this gap of service, she worked with City staff to craft recommendations to consider transportation needs as an imperative for warming centers.

“While resources are stretched thin for everyone, there is still a need, and we need help” added Stratton.

Stephen Johnson, Pastor of Central United Methodist church in downtown Spokane, has said already the service has proven to be an essential need for some. “On the first day we had over three dozen people meet us for a ride. Working with the amazing staff and volunteers from Episcopal Diocese, we are happy to help, but we can’t do it alone. We need at least 30 volunteers a week to ensure people are safe and warm while the weather is cold.”

Those interested in helping must submit to a background check and attend trainings before volunteering. To volunteer, please contact Pastor Stephen Johnson at Central United Methodist at