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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

Spokane joins regional funding effort for social services center

After wavering this fall, the city of Spokane affirmed its financial commitment to the Resource Center of Spokane County on Monday.

The Spokane City Council signed off on a plan to fund one-third of the resource center’s lease in east Spokane, splitting the cost evenly with Spokane County and the Spokane Workforce Council.

It was the same agreement that the City Council narrowly rejected in September, as members cited concerns about the cost of the lease and the efficacy of the resource center’s work.

The resource center opened in 2019 in an effort to gather multiple nonprofits and agencies under one roof, functioning as a center where one person could access services like housing assistance and help applying for a job.

The Resource Center of Spokane County is one of several “EnVision” Centers across the country designated by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. HUD provided the template for EnVision Centers, but leaves the funding up to each local area.

After a two-year pilot, the Resource Center of Spokane County earlier this year extended its lease in a building on South Arthur Street through May 2023.

The city of Spokane was the last holdout on the deal. The Spokane Workforce Council and Spokane County’s Board of Commissioners had already approved the funding agreement on a new lease, but the Spokane City Council balked.

Under the agreement approved on Monday, the monthly payment of $21,833 will be shared between Spokane County, the city of Spokane and the Spokane Workforce Council, the nonprofit that operates the resource center.

City Council members wanted additional evidence of the center’s efficacy, and more assurances that the center was working to become financially self-sufficient.

Some members reiterated these issues during a meeting last week, questioning the length of the lease and arguing that the Workforce Council should know whether or not the resource center is self-sufficient by next year.

The agreement’s supporters, including City Council President Breean Beggs, assured the council that the deal placed the city in a better financial position by securing contributions from Spokane County and the Spokane Workforce Council.

Despite hesitations aired by council members last week, there was no discussion before the agreement was passed on Monday as part of the council’s consent agenda.

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