Jessica Fisher, Public Information Assistant, 509.625.6749
Thursday, May 31, 2018 at 2:41 p.m.
Did you spot a Give Real Change or Hope Works sign on your morning commute? City and local nonprofit leaders grabbed commuter’s attention at two separate downtown locations. They shared the need for programs such as Give Real Change and Hope Works; programs that support the services that can best meet the needs of those experiencing homelessness.
This year, the City of Spokane will invest $13 million into services and programs that support solutions to homelessness. These programs are working, the number of veterans experiencing homelessness is down 21% from last year and the chronically homeless population is down 17%, according to Point in Time Count data from January.
As encouraging as that data is, it also shows we have more to do, and the supportive programs are making the difference. Programs like Give Real Change and Hope Works are a way for everyone to show compassion by redirecting donations you would ordinarily give at the curb to programs that make a lasting change.
Give Real Change works with community-based services providers to coordinate shelter, outreach, job placement and training, and other services for people who are experiencing homelessness or at-risk of homelessness. A few dollars can go along ways when donating to services versus an individual. You can donate to this program by calling 311, rounding up your utility bill, or at a Give Real Change orange meter.
The Hope Works program provides dignity and pride through volunteer work experience connecting individuals who are panhandling with transformative services. Since, the March launch of this program, 52 people experiencing homelessness or at-risk of homelessness have volunteered over 220 hours of service removing 3,200 gallons of waste from downtown Spokane! After receiving a stipend for their work these individuals were connected with health care, housing and employment services. Help Hope Works empower those experiencing homelessness by donating to their go fund me page or by texting “change” to 50555.
These important programs will make a difference in the lives of the most vulnerable in our community who have fallen on hard times or who are battling underlying issues. It takes everybody seeing the human behind the person experiencing homeless and doing what they can to create a healthy housed community.