David Condon

Filling a gap in caring for Spokane’s homeless

David Condon, Mayor, No Phone Number Available

Friday, May 6, 2016 at 2:45 p.m.

Homelessness in Spokane is a real issue that extends far beyond a warm bed and a hot meal, and numerous factors can send a person – or an entire family – into crisis. We have been working hard with our community partners to provide a continuum of care to develop long-term solutions for Spokane’s homeless population. Today, our efforts take another important step forward to meet that goal.

The City is working to fund emergency shelter access that is functional 24 hours a day, seven days a week, regardless of time and temperature. Our partnership with Catholic Charities, Family Promise and Salvation Army will establish a safe place where homeless families, children or a homeless individual can go at all times of the day or night.

Council President Ben Stuckart and I are working together to incrementally increase human service grant funding up to 1 percent of the general fund through the City’s annual budgeting process. The goal is to add any increases in Human Service funding in 2017 first to emergency shelters to maintain a continuum of care for those without shelter.

This funding effort closes a gap in providing services for our homeless population, by addressing the current lack of 24-hour, year-round shelter space. It also gives us another tool in our housing-first strategy. We aim to places individuals and families into safe housing situations so that service providers can focus attention on the underlying issues. In a crisis, shelter gives those who find themselves homeless a safe place to be, it provides officers and other first responders another resource to offer people they encounter and enhances our service partner network.

We are excited about taking this next step, but won’t stop here. As a community that includes service providers, businesses, individuals and the city, we have been making progress in reducing homelessness, but there is more to be done.

The City of Spokane and its many non-profit community partners are committed to helping individuals and families in need of help. For coordinated assessment services, households with children should call the Salvation Army Rapid Re-Housing Program at 509.325.5005. Households without children can call SNAP at 509.456.SNAP (7627).

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