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Posted on: June 15, 2023

Support for affordable housing, reducing homelessness

Family sits together behine a home icon

The Spokane Valley City Council is intensifying efforts to address homelessness and affordable housing with strategies reflective of the city’s outcomes-based goals, $4 million to local nonprofit service providers, and a data-driven approach.  

While homelessness is a regional problem that requires collaboration with stakeholders beyond the city limits, the Spokane Valley Homeless Action Plan (SVHAP) is a systematic, long-term response that accounts for City Council’s explicit goal to prevent homelessness; preserves funding for sustainable strategies with actionable outcomes; and considers input from residents, the business community and local service providers.  

The SVHAP is being reviewed by City Council, and is anticipated to be adopted this summer. The systematic, long-term response is based on preventing homelessness whenever possible, or if it cannot be prevented, ensure it’s a rare, brief and one-time experience. Mayor Pam Haley said City Council has made clear Spokane Valley’s vision should extend beyond chronic homelessness, and efforts and taxpayer funds should support Spokane Valley families, youth, and senior housing solutions. “It’s our fiscal responsibility to build a system – a process that moves people from unsheltered or unstable to sheltered – a framework we can sustainably fund. Focusing solely on chronic homelessness requires infinite funding, because it’s chronic. We will contract with service providers that provide a path out.” View a list of current community resources

Council recently awarded $4 million of American Rescue Plan funds to five local nonprofit organizations, constructing a strong foundation of services identified as community needs in the SVHAP. Haley said City Council’s unanimous support of the allocation was a result of the connection between concrete goals and measurable outcomes to reduce homelessness and increase affordable housing, and the transparent request for proposal process. “We’ve heard community feedback, collected data, and are confident this one-time funding will make a meaningful impact,” Haley said. “These non-profit providers address our core issues, have successful track records, and reach families, youth and seniors.”

    Family Promise of Spokane was awarded $1,095,000 to establish a fast leasing and sustainable housing program for families at risk of homelessness. City-allocated funds for operational startup will augment additional financial support through Spokane County for property acquisition and a rental assistance program. 

    Volunteers of America Eastern Washington was awarded $500,000 to construct 18 new emergency shelter beds and 18 college dorm-style living units for young adults, extending its Spokane Crosswalk program to Spokane Valley. Professional case managers, teachers, health care workers, and chemical dependency counselors work with Crosswalk youth with the primary goal of connecting them to stabilizing and supportive services and ending their homelessness.

    Reclaim was awarded $1,460,000 to acquire and startup two sober living transitional homes and a multipurpose business operations facility that will comprise a comprehensive homelessness prevention program. The self-sustaining operational model includes a thrift store job creation component. 

    Spokane Neighborhood Action Partners was awarded $471,700 for a 60-unit affordable senior housing on Broadway. 

    Habitat for Humanity was awarded $471,700 to acquire land for housing that will be designated permanently affordable.

Councilmember Tim Hattenburg emphasized Spokane Valley’s attention to prevention and the unseen population experiencing homelessness is a result of community input. “We’ve engaged the public. Our plan is intentional, thoughtful and the product of countless discussions with our neighbors, business owners, educators and service providers over the past several months,” Hattenburg said. “We need to stabilize ‘the invisible ones’ with mental health, substance abuse, housing and services, from couch-surfing youth to our seniors. Our plan and funding is transparent and aligned with our community values.”

Spokane Valley was recently honored for its forward-thinking approach of using data to inform strategies to transition individuals out of homelessness and address health and safety concerns in our community. The Washington Economic Development Association presented the city with the 2023 Innovation in Economic Development award for its development of a data collection tool for homelessness and site cleanup. 

The data collection technology platform was developed to help the city’s homeless outreach team understand the situations of individuals that are unhoused within the city, the barriers they face, and impacts of homelessness to specific neighborhoods. Haley said the information shapes the city’s approach to addressing homelessness. “Without data, strategies and potential solutions are just speculation,” she said. “These tools help us move from speculation to informed decision-making and measurable outcomes.” 

Published Date: June 12, 2023

For more information:
Emily Estes-Cross, Public Information Officer

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