Jeff Humphrey, Media Manager, 509.625.6308
Monday, January 23, 2023 at 2:01 p.m.
The Spokane community has expanded its capacity to not only bring people who are experiencing homelessness inside out of the elements, but also connect them to critical needs.
The 350 new beds at the Trent Resource and Assistance Center (TRAC), which added space for single men and women and couples this fall, has received most of the attention. New and expanded space at other locations for women, young adults, families, couples, and men have also helped increased capacity by more than 500 over the past couple of years.
“I’m pretty proud of the fact that over the course of this year, we’ve been able to bring online a new facility that was able to help basically hundreds of people get out of the cold and be able to find services that potentially we didn’t have that space for before,” said Eric Finch from the City of Spokane’s Neighborhood, Housing and Human Services Department.
There is also more space for couples and children at the Family Promise Shelter on Mission Avenue.
“Family Promise serves exclusively adults who are caring for children and who are pregnant,” explained Emma Hughes of Family Promise of Spokane. “So, with 25 additional beds, we’ll be able to serve more families here by keeping them together, and that includes the cat and dog and entire family.”
Most shelters are now offering people more than just a place to spend the night. The goal is to transition individuals from the elements to an indoor space, and then more permanent housing.
At The Cannon Shelter in West Spokane, up to 80 guests can connect with services and stay 24 hours a day. Previously, the shelter operated during the winters and only maintained overnight hours.
Spokane’s Young Adult Shelter is expanding its operations as well to include 44 beds and 24-hour accommodations. A current remodeling project is adding showers and a new kitchen so people 18 to 24 years old can also get around-the-clock care.
“They are there with our case management to make sure they have all the tools they need to be successful,” detailed Rae-Lynn Barden from Volunteers of America. “They can work on obtaining housing and getting gainful employment.”
Zeek, who recently stayed at the Young Adult Shelter, has experienced the benefits firsthand.
“They give me a place where I can stay safe, have my stuff here, and they are also helping me provide my social security number, my ID and my birth certificate so I can get jobs,” added Zeek.
Some of the people currently staying at the Trent Resource and Assistance Center are also holding down jobs.
George says by staying at TRAC, he’s able to use his paycheck from working as a security guard to save up money for first and last month’s rent.
“I’m grateful for the help they’ve given me. Just the tools that they’ve given me to where I can succeed,” George said from his bed inside the navigation center.
Fourteen counselors are assigned to TRAC to help guests navigate their way out of homelessness.
“Now we’re bringing the help into the shelter,” said Layne Pavey from Revive of Spokane. “People can start getting help with those things, so they can navigate out of the shelter in a positive direction, instead of getting kicked back into the cycle.”
And, while breaking the cycle of homelessness is not easy, the Spokane community is finding new ways of delivering solutions to people looking for life-changing answers.
“There are an extraordinary number of people in our community, in government, outside of government, at our services providers, who really want to improve the process and make things better for people,” Finch said. “And, we just need to figure out how to better come together, every day, and just keep moving the ball forward. And, we are. And, I think the more we do that, the better it’s going to be.”