Jeff Humphrey, Media Manager, 509.625.6308
Friday, December 16, 2022 at 3:01 p.m.
It’s the first time Kevin Staudinger had his own shower, slept behind a secure door, or put up Christmas lights in eight years.
“They got me a really nice bed, the frame, the stuff here,” Staudinger said of the new furnishings in his South Hill apartment.
Staudinger has gone from homelessness to having his own home in just months.
He did it with persistence, support from a service-intensive program, and the personal accountability that can lead to recovery.
“You’ve gotta just make that first step. Admit you’ve got a problem and go get help. There’s plenty of help out there,” explained Staudinger.
Staudinger’s problems included substance abuse and mental health issues.
“Yeah, you kinda lose hope. You get stripped of your dignity and you kinda give up,” Staudinger said of his former life on the street.
In August, Staudinger left Camp Hope hoping to reclaim a bed at The Salvation Army’s Way Out Center. But the staff at the Center were dubious of Staudinger’s commitment to dealing with his addiction.
“It was, ‘Kevin are you really ready? ’Cause, we’ve already done this once before,’” recalled Gerriann Armstrong of the Way Out Center.
“When I had been there before, when it was a shelter, I wasn’t a very good guest. And they weren’t going to let me back, but now, they’re happy they did,” said a relieved Staudinger.
Staudinger got a second chance at The Way Out by first checking himself into Spokane’s Regional Stabilization Center.
“Well, for one, they made sure I got back on medications. They listened to my story. They helped individualize my help,” detailed Staudinger.
Spokane County, the City of Spokane, and local leaders stood up the Regional Stabilization Center last fall as a way of diverting people away from jail and steering them toward treatment.
“And once he completed the 28-day inpatient program with Pioneer Stabilization, he made application to come back here,” Armstrong said of Staudinger’s rehab. Staudinger was able to avoid the temptations of his old lifestyle by re-enrolling at The Way Out and now, Staudinger has been clean and sober since September.
“You know, I can’t tell you how many people have come in and been honest about their last use, gone to stabilization and treatment, and knew that there was a bed here for them at The Way Out. And it made all the difference in the world,” added Armstrong.
“Well you know, every once in a while I pinch myself just to make sure I’m not dreaming,” Staudinger said of his newfound happiness.
Staudinger’s new apartment is now adorned with furnishings donated by the very same CHAS medical staff who treated him on the street.
“I’m gonna make a sign that says, ‘Homeless No More’, you wanna do that,” Staudinger asked a recent visitor.
Staudinger, who used to panhandle for change, has created a new cardboard sign that’s on display in his living room.
“I just wanted people to see this. Kinda little holiday cheer and humor. I’m homeless no more. Thank you Spokane,” Staudinger said with a smile.