The One Day “Point-In-Time” Count is a federally mandated annual exercise (for cities receiving federal monies to fight homelessness) to count the number of homeless individuals and families in a given area. The theme for this year’s PIT count is “Everybody Counts.” This year (2018) Spokane is radically re-inventing its approach to the count by going high-tech and using a smart phone app rather than awkward paper forms. The goal is a more accurate count and less paperwork.
Meet Layne Pavey, an ex-felon who is using her own experience to make a difference on a tough problem: helping ex-felons find jobs. The State of Washington will release some 6,000 felons back into the general population, offering only $30 and “best wishes.” A year later, fewer than 30% will have found a job.
The good news is that Spokane is growing. The bad news is that rising rates are becoming a burden, and the supply of available rentals can’t keep up. For those working their way out of homelessness, it gets worse. Not only is it more difficult to find affordable housing, but homelessness actual increases as rental rates increase. According to a study conducted by the Washington State Department of Commerce, a $100 increase in rental rates in an urban area like Spokane results in a 6% rise in homelessness in that same area.
A very good article from the Spokesman-Review newspaper on the work of Catholic Charities to eliminate homelessness in Spokane through a “Housing First” model. Will it work? Only time will tell, but the effort is noteworthy and we applaud it! Along a similar line, the City of Spokane will soon be receiving a $3.8 million grant from HUD to combat homelessness in the Spokane area.
The lack of adequate shelter beds in Spokane for women in crisis has been an on-going embarrassment for some time. Great article in The Spokesman-Review about the new women’s shelter opening up. Kudos to Union Gospel Mission for stepping up and making a significant investment toward resolving this problem. Unfortunately, as Phil Altmeyer (Executive Director at UGM) recently told me, even this won’t be enough. Read about it here.