Spokane homeless advocates: City’s Community Housing and Human Services Dept. is at ‘code red’
SPOKANE, Wash – With the departure of several employees over the last few months, including two in the last week, a group that advocates for the homeless in Spokane says the department designed to work on housing issues is in trouble.
The Spokane Regional Continuum of Care board sent a letter to Mayor Woodward Monday, saying “there are no longer any employees in Human Services.”
Continuum of Care Chair Ben Stuckart signed the letter. Stuckart is a former city council president and ran for mayor against Mayor Nadine Woodward in 2019.
The Spokane Regional Continuum of Care describes itself as providing a “suite of services for people experiencing homelessness.”
It’s governed by a board made up of local government, service providers, and other stakeholders and funded by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.
According to the letter, the two employees assigned to work on the Continuum of Care’s federal funding application have resigned, putting that funding in jeopardy.
“Without this funding, coordinated entry, diversion, rapid rehousing and many of the services in permanent supportive housing would not exist,” Stuckart writes. “In short, if Spokane loses this funding, we will never get it back and the homeless response system will collapse.”
Stuckart says the board has offered to work with the city on the application, but “someone must be guiding the process and making sure the trains run on time.”
He continues, “Someone should have been hired for this role weeks ago.”
Stuckart says the application is due in mid-November and a draft application must be done by the end of October.
The CoC suggests the city should explore a deferral from the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. Also, that the city should share any work that has been done on the application so far. Finally, that the city hire a consultant or project employee immediately.
Stuckart even offered suggestions for who might be able to help.
The Department of Community Housing and Human Services has seen several departures in the last year.
4 News Now reached out to the City of Spokane for comment, but it was after 8 pm. We will update this story with any new information and any response from the city.
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