Regional Partners Open Bridge Housing Program

Brian Coddington, Communications Director, 509.625.6740

Friday, November 5, 2021 at 2:08 p.m.

A referral-based, service-intensive program that will help participants make the transition from the drop-in shelter system to permanent housing is set to open its doors this month.

The Way Out Center, operated by The Salvation Army Spokane, will have up to 60 program participants at any one time accessing housing, employment, addiction, behavioral health, and life skills supports that help individuals transition out of homelessness. The program fills a gap identified in the Continuum of Care’s Regional Homeless Housing Strategic 5-year plan and is the culmination of a regional partnership between the City of Spokane, City of Spokane Valley, and Spokane County.

“Bridge Housing meets an immediate need in our regional system,” Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward said. “The program balances a measure of accountability with emersion in compassionate supports for people who are at a point in their journeys to take the steps necessary to succeed in permanent housing.”

The Salvation Army was identified as the program operator through a public request for proposals process. Operational support for the program is being provided through Spokane County, the City of Spokane, the City of Spokane Valley, the Avista Foundation, and other private organizations.

“We are just at the beginning of this journey,” Spokane County Commissioner Mary Kuney said. “There are so many successes ahead as we now have a place where someone will have access to the tools to help them break the burdensome cycle of homelessness.”

Spokane County allocated federal CARES funding to the Salvation Army for the purchase of the building on East Mission Avenue. The location operated as a regional pandemic night-by-night drop-in shelter until June when the building closed for renovations for the Bridge Housing program. Spokane County and Spokane Valley contributed funding for the renovations.

“This is a great partnership between governmental organizations and a community partner to add a critical piece to the regional system,” Spokane Valley Mayor Ben Wick said.

Bridge Housing participants are expected to stay in the program a few weeks to several months depending on their readiness to transition to permanent housing and its availability. Individuals entering the program free up space in the night-by-night system.

“The Way Out Bridge Housing model fits our mission to: Rescue the perishing, Renew the ability to thrive, Restore healthy community.  It’s a program that is a continuation of our 130-year commitment to do the most good and make Spokane better,” said Major Ken Perine of The Salvation Army Spokane.  “We are committed to rescuing the perishing by taking them from the streets to the sheets, restoring the ability for people to thrive by securing stable income and housing, and renewing healthy communities as they move forward and out of the situation that brought them to our doors.”

About a dozen individuals are expected to start in the Bridge Housing program right away with others entering in the coming weeks.