After years of planning, fundraising and building, Volunteers of America is nearly ready to open its new Hope House women’s shelter.
The nonprofit will hold a ceremony with local leaders to mark the occasion on April 26, and the facility will begin welcoming guests later that same day.
The new building at 1301 W. Third Ave is large enough to accommodate 120 women, many of whom are fleeing domestic violence, in the overnight shelter on the building’s first floor. A portion of the shelter is dedicated to respite beds for women who are unable to care for themselves but whose needs don’t require a hospital stay.
The top floors of the building contain 60 studio apartments dedicated to permanent supportive housing for men and women, many of whom will transition into the stable homes from the shelter below.
Residents will be allowed to stay for as long as they’d like, but a typical stay will be 18 to 24 months. Aside from the obvious benefit of an apartment with a bed and kitchen, the building offers a case manager on every floor.
The new shelter is replete with amenities not available at the old Hope House, located just down Third Avenue. Laundry service will no longer be such a chore, and the cramped eating area in the old building has been replaced with an open dining room and commercial kitchen.
The new location is perfect for the Hope House, where many guests will walk to the nearby Women’s Hearth for services during the day.
The Hope House’s opening will be the punctuation on a time of transition for the Hope House.
Due to COVID-19, the shelter had to transition out of its former building, which was always a tight squeeze. Since last year, it’s operated out of a more spacious Spokane County Community Services building on Spokane’s South Hill, which allows the shelter to improve social distancing between guests.
Volunteers from throughout Spokane plan to aid with the move into the new building later this month, making what is now a mostly empty building into a home.
When it opens, the Hope House will be able to close down its shelter in the county office building.
Volunteers of America will still own and operate the former Hope House, which, like the new building, contains permanent supportive housing in which some tenants have lived for decades.
Construction of the new building was funded with a blend of federal tax credits and support from the state legislature, private donors and Primera Blue Cross, which chipped in $1 million.