$1 million grant supports new women's shelter planned for Spokane

SPOKANE, Wash. - Women battling addiction, trying to leave abusive relationships, or facing any kind of crisis will soon have another place to get help in Spokane, thanks, in part, to a major gift to a local homeless shelter. 

Premera, the Washington-based health insurer, awarded a $1 million grant to Hope House, which will allow the women's shelter to build an entirely new place with triple their current capacity. 



The announcement comes as the downtown shelter faces critical crowding. Volunteers of America Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho President/CEO Fawn Schott said they have to turn away between 10 and 15 homeless women every night because they don't have enough room. They have 40 beds tucked into every room they can spare. Offices have been consolidated into small, windowless rooms to make more space for sleeping areas. 

"We've just outgrown the building," Schott said. "We have over 300 homeless women on our street in Spokane at any given time. We have a drastic need for this shelter."

There's plenty of hope to go around at the shelter, just not enough beds. 

"We say that a woman's worst day is often the day that they come to Hope House Women's Shelter, so it's probably the scariest and the worst day," Schott said. 

That's why this donation comes at such an important time. It helps Hope House build a brand new facility in Spokane that will serve 120 women each night. They'll have triple the number of beds they have now. 

That's a facility Jessica Worley can't wait to see. She works at Hope House as a domestic violence victim advocate and community health worker for the shelter's respite program. 

"This grant will help us reach more women and provide hope and joy to those lives," Worley said. 

The women who seek shelter at Hope House get more than a warm meal and place to lay their heads. They find help to escape their own personal crisis and move on with a better life. 

"It's a bounce pad for women to be able to land and have the support and the guide rails to go through the system to get out of homelessness and have a stable home to call their own," Schott said. 

The new shelter location hasn't been announced yet, but should open in the fall of 2020. The project also includes 50 units of affordable housing. 

Premera's donation is less than half of the projects total cost. Schott said a fundraising campaign is getting underway to cover the rest of the plans, which total an estimated $2.5 million. You can email if you'd like to donate or get involved in the project.