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Service Center for low-income, homeless opens Tuesday

UPDATED: Tue., April 16, 2019

Spokane Mayor David Condon holds the ceremonial giant scissors as he and other dignitaries cut a ribbon at the opening of the Envision Center, a service center for the homeless, sponsored by the City of Spokane, shown Monday, April 15, 2019. (Rebecca White / The Spokesman-Review)
Spokane Mayor David Condon holds the ceremonial giant scissors as he and other dignitaries cut a ribbon at the opening of the Envision Center, a service center for the homeless, sponsored by the City of Spokane, shown Monday, April 15, 2019. (Rebecca White / The Spokesman-Review)

People on the brink of homelessness, struggling to re-enter society after incarceration or access basic health care now have a one-stop shop in Spokane where they can quickly get services without having to make an appointment.

The Spokane Resource Center, on the second floor of north Spokane’s WorkSource Center, opened to the public Tuesday.

Mayor David Condon said the center will help people quickly access the services they need to stay housed when they are faced with traumatic life events.

Citing this year’s point-in-time homeless count, Condon said it can be much more difficult for providers to stabilize someone who has become homeless and get them into housing, instead of making sure they’re connected to the resources they need to stay housed.

About 30% of people who were surveyed said they were homeless for the first time. Condon, who along with other city and county leaders led the grand opening, said the service providers needed a chance to connect with people before they became homeless.

“This resource center is going upstream,” he said.

Jen Morris, the site manager, said making appointments and traveling to several agencies in one day can be barriers for people trying to access services. She said people will have access to a rotation of 15 or 20 service providers when they drop by the center on an average day.

She said the center isn’t just for people who are homeless. Anyone who is having difficulty accessing health care and housing or needs help getting a job can use the center.

Over the past few weeks, the center had a soft opening, serving about 18 people when it was open. Morris said most of the people who visited the center needed rental assistance to stay in their homes or some sort of housing.

Matthew Hunter, an assistant deputy secretary at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, said Spokane’s Resource Center was one of 17 EnVision Centers across the country. He said HUD Secretary Ben Carson may visit Spokane this summer during a tour of the Northwest.

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