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House of Charity keeping beds open

Tue., May 19, 2009

The House of Charity’s overnight accommodations for homeless men will remain open this summer thanks to a combination of expense cuts and the hope of additional funding.

“Spokane is a better community when House of Charity remains open,” said Loreen McFaul, a spokeswoman for Catholic Charities, the shelter’s nonprofit parent organization.

The shelter’s 108 beds are nearly all occupied each night, winter or summer, and last year the shelter served 72,000 meals.

The House of Charity has provided winter accommodations for homeless men for the past 50 years. In 2007, it began keeping its sleeping program open through the summer at a cost of about $21,000 a month.

Late last month, House of Charity told its patrons they would have to make other arrangements this summer because of a decline in state funding amid the economic recession.

But Catholic Charities Executive Director Robert McCann and city officials, including Spokane Mayor Mary Verner, consulted and found a way to keep House of Charity open this summer, McFaul said.

McCann and other Catholic Charities program directors have agreed to take a 10 percent pay cut, McFaul said.

In addition, House of Charity will eliminate all but its basic services of sleeping and feeding. The shelter’s transitional housing and case-management services will be terminated.

Finally, McFaul said, the city advised Catholic Charities about future sources of funding from governmental agencies. She declined to specify what those funding sources may be.

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