Crosswalk funding cuts may force weekend closures

Published On: Nov 02 2012 07:00:47 PM PDT
Crosswalk cuts -- clothing rack
SPOKANE, Wash. -

Spokane's only teen shelter is dangerously close to shutting its doors on the weekends. Crosswalk lost two major federal grants and the domino effect is being felt.

Every day, about 75 teen walk through the doors of Crosswalk and when they do it's Marilee Roloff that is there to care for them. The CEO and President of Volunteers of America for Eastern Washington and North Idaho was Crosswalks first and only employee 27 years ago.

“I believe in [Crosswalk], it's kind of like my child,” Roloff said.

Crosswalk provides shelter, day and night, food, clothing, education, counseling and so much more for teens 13 to 17. Those 16 to 21 can even come in to earn their GED at their own pace.

But on October 1st, Crosswalk learned it would not receive nearly $155,000 in federal money. Almost immediately, jobs were lost, hours were cut and services were limited.

“That's a lot of money,” Roloff said. “That's almost a third of Crosswalk's money.”

One finally decision was made after the loss of federal money – Crosswalk would have to close on the weekends.

“With the Winter coming up it's just, it was just heartbreaking to think of shooing them out of here on Saturday morning,” Roloff said.

As Spokane so often does though, three banks stepped forward to help Crosswalk. Sterling, American West and Washington Trust each donated money to total $20,000. That will help Crosswalk keep it's doors open 24/7 through at least June.

“This came close to really hurting which was to close on the weekends and that would have been really tough,” Roloff said.

Still, the donations Crosswalk has received is a far cry from the $115,000 it needs. So Roloff is asking that more Spokane businesses step up to help during a tough time to keep the shelter's 27-year legacy going.

“We've gotta make up for those cuts for the kids stuff now, that's what we have to do we, we've got to be able to provide those things that help get them somewhere,” Roloff said.