Rebekah Tuno, Homeless Program Specialist, CHHS, 509.625.6321
Monday, November 11, 2019 at 3:29 p.m.
According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH), since 2009 the number of veterans experiencing homelessness has dropped by 48.4 percent. On a single night in January 2018:
In honor of our veterans, it is important to acknowledge that once our veterans return home they can face a variety of trials and tribulations, including homelessness. The national Point in Time (PIT) Count in 2018 indicated that on any given night 552,830 people experienced homelessness. On any given night in Washington, 22,304 people are experiencing homelessness (USICH 2018), with 1,636 veterans counted in the 2018 PIT Count throughout Washington State.
In the 2019 PIT Count, Spokane counted 1,309 people or 1,070 households experiencing homelessness on the night of the count, with a total of 85 veterans identified during the count. This represents an 11.5% decrease from the 2018 PIT count.
*2019 Spokane City/County CoC PIT Count
The Continuum of Care (CoC) Veteran Leadership Committee continues to increase partnerships and collaboration, improve landlord relationships, increase affordable housing for veterans, and utilize effective tools such as the veterans Master List and case conferencing to put an end to veteran homelessness in Spokane. To date, more than 78 communities and the entire states of Connecticut, Delaware, and Virginia have effectively ended homelessness among veterans, which means when a veteran experiencing homelessness is identified their homeless response system is able to rehouse them within 90 days.
Each year in the preparation of the PIT Count the City of Spokane operates a donation drive to collect a variety of gently used items to be distributed to those experiencing homelessness by volunteers and outreach workers. For Spokane’s 2020 PIT Count, which will occur from January 23rd through January 30th, focusing on where people slept on the night of the 23rd, we would like encourage the community to be compassionate to those in need by supporting the numerous donation drives and organizations in our community that benefit our nation’s heroes. Many organizations provide basic necessities and essential items to veterans and their families. Please reach out to these organizations directly to get involved and assist those in need.
As part of the 2020 PIT Count, a Veteran Stand Down will occur on January 25th from 10 AM – 3 PM at the West Central Community Center. At this event, a variety of housing and service providers will be available on-site to connect veterans experiencing homelessness with a variety of resources including: Housing Services, VA Healthcare & Benefits Staff, Employment Readiness, Legal Services, Higher Ed Programs, and Energy Assistance.
The City is setting a goal for the 2020 PIT Count to be able to create and distribute at least 1,309 “care bags”, comprised of a bottle of water, hat, scarf, gloves, hand warmers, soft granola bar, and travel-size hygiene supplies. These bags provide some very basic need items to people experiencing unsheltered homelessness. If you would like to help us reach our goal, you can go to our Amazon WishList to purchase items needed for creating the care bags.
You can also help a veteran in need of housing by connecting them with the Veteran Helpline operated by the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans. It provides a hotline and online chat for free, confidential assistance. Trained VA staff are on-call and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to assist homeless Veterans and their families at 1-877-4AID VET (877-424-3838).