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History of ending homelessness in Spokane includes setbacks and successes

SPOKANE, Wash. - The Spokane community has been at odds for years over how best to address the issue of homelessness. 

A past strategic plan by the City of Spokane had goals to end veteran homelessness by 2015, end chronic homelessness by 2017, and end family homelessness by 2018. 

Those goals weren't met, but there has been progress over the last few years. 

Data from Spokane's annual census of homeless people showed that the number of homeless people has dropped in the last decade. But, volunteers still counted 1,245 people as homeless across Spokane County in January of 2018. In 2008, that number was 1,370.

Last year, the top three reasons people said they were homeless was a lack of income, family conflict, and lack of affordable housing. 

Advocates for homeless people, like Jason Green, who is with Jewel's Helping Hands, said we are all just a bad month away from being on the streets. 

"If you don't have family and you don't have money in the bank and something happens to your job, you're one bad month, you're four, five weeks away from being in the same exact position," Green said. 

While people without homes face their own challenges, some have been accused of causing issues for business owners

Last year, first responders had to increase crew sizes when responding to incidents near the House of Charity. Spokane Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer told KXLY equipment was tagged and damaged. He said once, people even tried to drive off with the ambulance while crews were helping someone. 

All of this and more makes up the issue of homelessness in Spokane. That's why KXLY 4 has started an extensive series to help people see the issue through someone else's eyes and then make up their mind on the issue. 


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