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Hope House, other shelters, receive funding to house Camp Hope residents

Shelter beds at the Hope House in downtown Spokane.
Courtesy of Volunteers of America
Shelter beds at the Hope House in downtown Spokane.

Long-standing Spokane women’s shelter Hope House will not close its doors in January.

The Washington State Department of Commerce has offered $330,000 to help the shelter continue operations until June. The money was contingent on housing women living in Camp Hope, the state’s largest homeless encampment.

Rae-Lynn Barden, director of communications for shelter operator Volunteers of America, said if no resources had been provided, the shelter would have had to close its doors next month.

“We've had women coming in experiencing frost bite with the cold weather, and knowing that we can now take care of them through the winter is just a huge relief,” she said.

Barden said the shelter still needs more support to continue operations after next summer. She said VOA is hopeful the city will commit to funding $1.5 million they previously asked for.

The Department of Commerce also funded several other projects in the Spokane area in hopes of making more beds available and ultimately closing Camp Hope. The city of Spokane’s Trent Resource and Assistance Center, a mass congregate shelter, will receive $500,000. Longer term housing programs proposed by Empire Health Foundation and the Spokane Low-Income Housing Consortium, also received funds.

In a press release Friday, housing policy director for the Washington Department of Commerce, Tedd Kelleher, said the funds distributed would add 376 shelter beds and housing units to the Spokane area. The state has spent about $24 million in Camp Hope related housing and homelessness projects.

“We are pleased to be able to fund proposals received from the city and nonprofit providers that will provide more people with the opportunity to get out of the cold weather now and connect with services that offer a pathway toward stable housing long term,” Kelleher said. “This funding is another substantial step toward that end result – closing Camp Hope - we’ve all been working so hard to achieve since the summer.”

Rebecca White is a 2018 graduate of Edward R Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University. She's been a reporter at Spokane Public Radio since February 2021. She got her start interning at her hometown paper The Dayton Chronicle and previously covered county government at The Spokesman-Review.