Jeff Humphrey, Media Manager, 509.622.5868
Tuesday, November 23, 2021 at 4:05 p.m.
Spokane’s community college system is really good at lighting a fire under young people.
Things like vocational training can create a spark that helps students realize their full potential.
“We always feel like at Spokane Community Colleges, that we want to see people get into careers and not just job seeking,” explained Kevin Brockbank, President, Spokane Community Colleges.
And that’s one reason why Volunteers of America is standing up it’s new Young Adult Shelter, ages 18 to 24, just across the street from the SCC campus.
“And so if we can get those individuals on campus, and provide them the kind of wrap-around services that help them understand how to navigate the finances and support, and housing, and all the different things they need to be successful in those programs, we’re more than happy to do that, and we’re good at it,” added Brockbank.
Fortunately, homeless young adults are quick to respond when given opportunities to improve their quality of life.
“A lot of the young folks we are seeing are experiencing homelessness for the first time. So we want to, as VOA, provide those exit strategies to end that cycle of homelessness early,” pledged Rae-Lynn Barden of Volunteers of America.
Both Spokane County and the City of Spokane gave Volunteers of America a combined $1.3 million to purchase and renovate the former SCAPCA building.
The new shelter at Mission and Greene Street sits on a busy bus route and far from the distractions and temptations of downtown.
“For the first time, we are working upstream with young adults to stabilize them through this shelter. Get them the wrap-around services they need, in addition to continuing education and technical training. So we are,for the first time,working to prevent the next generation of homeless by working with young adults 18-24 years old,” said Nadine Woodward, Mayor of Spokane.
Gus Santos is the new shelter’s program manager who thinks a change of scenery,combined with support and services, will change young lives.
“And what we believe at VOA is, people do well if they have the resources to do well and that’s what we’re looking to provide here,” predicted Santos.
The Young Adult Shelter staff hope to open their doors to up to 44 new residents December 1, 2021.