Jewels Helping Hands providing peer navigators to help the homeless find resources

SPOKANE, Wash. — Uncertain times have been a constant for some people. Those who are homeless deal with it daily. Jewels Helping Hands hopes to provide more stability.

On Sundays from 10-2, they will provide a service center at the Monroe Room. Last week, they had a soft opening and about 70 people came looking for help. This week, they expect the number to double.

“There’s not place for them to come inside at,” said Julie Garcia, founder of Jewels Helping Hands. “Most beds at the shelter have been full almost regularly and we’re still serving 500-600 un-sheltered folks every day.”

The center hopes people will utilize the peer navigators they have on hand.

“They can get them into Social Security. They can help them set up appointments at DSHS (Department of Social and Health Services),” Garcia said. “They can help with IDs, setting up appointments at DMVs. That’s what peer navigators do in here.”

Garcia has also provided laptops.

“There’s a bunch of WiFi spots in town but the fact that they don’t have computers or phones they don’t have access to that internet,” she explained. “So all of their appointments that they can make — mental health, NA (Narcotics Anonymous), SNAP, housing — any of that has to be done online and they don’t have anywhere to do that online at.”

She said many people normally go to the library for computer access. It’s closed due to the pandemic.

Jewels Helping Hands will also assess a person’s needs at the center and connect them with an outreach worker. On top of this resource, they provide basic needs.

“They can come get clothing. They can change in clothing. We can get rid of clothing,” Garcia said. “They serve a meal here so we have one full meal that they’ll get that’s hot.”

Some people have offered to give free hair cuts. Garcia said services like this should be available every day.

“We hope that they get access to the services that they need,” she said. “They know that somebody still cares and that somebody still loves them and they get four hours out of the normal of their life.”

The center will be open until the end of summer.

READ: DOH: Wearing masks linked to rate of COVID-19 transmission slowing in eastern Washington

READ: Telling the story of this COVID-19 pandemic through one block in downtown Spokane