Jeff Humphrey

Helping Families on Their Worst Day

Jeff Humphrey, Media Content Coordinator, 509.625.6308

Friday, April 12, 2019 at 10:52 a.m.

Raising a family is hard work. So imagine what it would be like trying to take care of your kids while living out on the street.

Families with children represent 23 percent of Spokane’s homeless population.

“Me and my family were walking the streets, wondering where we were going to go. I almost gave up but I knew I couldn’t because I had three children to keep warm,” recalled Stacy Salazar.

Salazar found the help she needed at Family Promise, one of the few shelters that opens its door to families.

“Most shelters separate the men from the women, they don’t allow teenage boys. We’re the one space that keeps the whole family together as well as single fathers with daughters,” explained Joe Ader of Family Promise.

So many people wanted to keep their kids together or remain with their spouses that Family Promise outgrew its South Hill headquarters.

Now, the non-profit is setting up a new shelter in the old Cassano’s Deli at Mission Avenue and Napa Street.

“So this building is really unique. It allows us to do a lot of things, but one of things we were really looking for, and we looked for a building for a year and a half, was a space that had a commercial kitchen. But we also have a place where we’ll be able to do lockers and showers and things like that which will be in the basement,” Ader said as he offered tours of the new facility.

Plans call for using the first floor as a shelter and resource center during the day, then a secure sleeping area at night.

“We’ve got some great success stories and some people who have come through the program, and gotten back on their feet, who even work for us now,” said Ader.

Dennis Arsenault is one of the former Family Promise clients who now works as the shelter’s facilities manager.

“Well, family promise gave us a safe place to stay together as a family,” Arsenault said of his first weeks at the shelter.

Arsenault is looking forward to helping other homeless moms and dads while making sure Family Promise is a good neighbor to the Chief Gary Park community.

“We built a children’s playground over there when we moved in and those are the kind of things that we are going to bring to this neighborhood. To not only beautify our property and our building, but the neighborhood as much as we can,” pledged Arsenault.

“When people walk in our door, it’s their worst day. It’s the day they become homeless with kids,” Ader said of his clients.

A good track record of getting families back on their feet is one reason why Ader’s non-profit is funded by the City of Spokane Community, Housing & Human Services Department.

The Family Promise staff hope to have their new shelter up and running by June.

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