Funding secured for new women’s shelter in downtown Spokane

Funding secured for new women’s shelter in downtown Spokane

Women fleeing abusive relationships, struggling with addiction or mental illness have found safety for 20 years inside Hope House — a shelter operated by Volunteers of America.

But the building at 111 West 3rd Ave. in downtown Spokane is packed to capacity and volunteers are forced to turn women away once the shelter’s 38 emergency beds are filled.

“We’re turning away and continue to turn away 15 to 20 women every single night of the week,” said Volunteers of America CEO Fawn Schott. That dilemma has been the driving force behind building a new shelter.

“Our women need our services, they need a safe place to sleep,” Schott said.

It’s not just VOA that understands the need. Premera Blue Cross donated $1 million toward a new shelter in 2018, and this week the Washington State Finance Commission awarded the final funding needed to build a new $15 million shelter which will allow Hope House to triple its capacity.

Volunteers of America released photos Friday of what Hope House 2.0 will look like. The location is one mile from the existing shelter on land that was once home to Linnie’s Thai Cuisine at 1301 West 3rd Ave. The ground floor will act as an emergency shelter with enough space for 100-120 emergency shelter beds. Floors above will hold 60 affordable housing units.

“We serve over 300 women a year, 40 percent of those find stable housing every year,” Schott said.

Tax credits, along with Premera’s contribution and $350,000 in private donations will pay for most of the project.

“We [VOA] will commit about $500,000, but over the life of 10 years,” Schott said.

Once complete, the new space will offer new hope for some of Spokane’s most vulnerable women. Crews will break ground on the project in fall 2019, the goal is to have it up and running by summer of 2020.

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