Jeff Humphrey

New Shelter Services for Teens

Jeff Humphrey, Media Manager, 509.625.6308

Tuesday, October 17, 2023 at 2:11 p.m.

Spokane's Young Adult Shelter is about to extend its hours of operation.

Up until now, the facility was only able to open its doors at night. The tight turnaround gave guests, aged 18 to 24, little time to do anything other than sleep.

"We wake them up at 6:00 a.m. They have to leave at 6:30 a.m. and then they are out on the streets. And there's really not much for them to do, and they're downtown. And, they ask all the time, 'When are we going to be 24/7,'" explained LaKedia Davis, manager of the Young Adult Shelter.

The shelter is now going 24/7, thanks to a year-long remodeling project that reshaped the former SCAPCA building into a place that's equipped to shelter and serve young people around the clock.

"And now that we're in this building, they are able to have access to four bathrooms with showers. We have a commercial kitchen. We have a laundry on site where young people are able to wash their clothes," detailed Davis.

And soon, when young adults won't have to migrate around the city, looking for life's daily essentials, they'll be able to concentrate on finding themselves an exit strategy out of homelessness.

"We have embedded behavioral health to make sure that any young person who comes through this door gets every service they need, when they need it. They're excited to get that apartment, excited to get that job and ready to start their future," said Rae-Lynn Barden, Volunteers of America.

And now Crosswalk, VOA's youth center, also envisions its future, serving 13- to 17-year-olds, outside of downtown Spokane for many of the same benefits.

"We're bringing the teen shelter that's been downtown since 1985 right here off of Mission. A CHAS Clinic behind us, and SCC, also to our back. Right on the Central City Line, and we are so excited to be open the winter of 2024," predicted Barden.

The Washington State Legislature and even the City of Spokane Valley are helping fund Crosswalk's relocation. But it's actually Crosswalk's young clients who favor the move out of downtown.

"When we came to them and said '';Hey, we're looking for a new building, what would you like to see?'. And they said, 'please, a neighborhood.'"

"We want to be that intervention where they get housing, gainful employment, and then they never need our services again," pledged Barden.

Spokane County and the City of Spokane gave Volunteers of America a combined $1.3 million to purchase and renovate the former SCAPA building.

The Young Adult Shelter will begin 24/7 operations as soon as VOA hires additional staff.

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