Spokane's 'Moving Forward' to help provide rent assistance

SPOKANE - If you can't pay your rent because you have been impacted by the poor economy the City of Spokane has created something to help people like you out.

The city has created ?Moving Forward? and has contracted with SNAP, Volunteers of America, Catholic Charities and Spokane Low Income Housing Consortium to help manage the program.

Moving Forward is funded with $1.5 Million from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and is designed to help people who have lost their job or have had their hours cut back pay their rent.

The program specifically caters to people who have never had to rely on a community resource.

One of those people who finds themselves in this situation is Vesper Star. She has a four year degree and has worked as a paralegal. She recently lost her job because of cutbacks and finds herself in a situation she is unfamiliar with.

"I felt like because of educational background it would be easy for me to pick up a job," Vesper Star said.

Star says it is hard to admit she needs help because she has always been able to provide for herself.

"It is very hard to admit that you have financial issues and ask for help," she said.

Moving Forward Coordinator Shelia Morley says they want to target people like Star who need temporary assistance.

"They just needed short rental subsidy to help them stay in their place and they have been able to find employment and are able to sustain their household as is," Shelia said.

Morley says their biggest struggle is getting people to admit they need help.

"That is who we are targeting, who we need to access, are those that have never used services before," she said.

The program has only been operational for a few months and has given assistance to 55 households.

If you need help and are at risk of becoming homeless because of the economy you can call 455-4965 on Monday mornings between 8:30 and 10:30 or Wednesday afternoons between 1:30 and 3:30.