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Homeless Count Up, But Spokane City Officials Say Progress is Being Made

City of Spokane

City officials say Spokane is making progress in helping homeless people, and especially families, stabilize their lives. This despite an 11% increase in the number of homeless people counted during the city’s one-day census in January.

The city says it and its private social service partners made contact with 1,090 homeless people during the annual Point-in-Time count on January 16. That number is up about a hundred from the 2016 figure. About a quarter of those were families with children.

That’s one of the areas where Dawn Kinder says the city is actually making progress. Kinder directs the city of Spokane’s Community, Housing and Human Services Department.

“In the past seven-to-10 years or so, we have reduced family homelessness by about 60-percent," she said. "We’ve built, on average, 50 new permanent supportive housing units a year through new construction and with Catholic Charities, Volunteers of America, Spokane Neighborhood Action Programs and others.”

There’s still plenty to do in that area, she says, but the needle is moving. She credits a well-integrated effort between government and non-profit programs. She says the city-funded Family Promise shelter in the Perry District has helped to move about two dozen families off the streets into permanent housing since the beginning of the year.

The city is also about halfway through a 100-day drive to move 100 homeless young people, especially those leaving the juvenile justice system or foster care, into housing. So far, 36 youth have found permanent housing.

NOTE: Doug Nadvornick will air more of his interview with Dawn Kinder during his Inland Journal program, Thursday at 5 pm on KSFC (FM 91.9).