‘Out of downtown’: Volunteers of America opens homeless shelter for young adults away from distractions

SPOKANE, Wash.– More resources are going to help young people get out of homelessness.

Volunteers of America is shifting gears to show them what a life without chronic homelessness is like. They are opening shelters away from the distractions and influences of downtown.

Right now, the Crosswalk Shelter is bursting at the seams. It only has 16 murphy beds, so they need a bigger space to help more young people. Volunteers of America will open a new shelter for people 18 to 24 years old. That’s because right now, there’s a gap in homeless services for that age range.

“What we absolutely do not want is for a young person to either have to make a choice to live under a bridge or to go to an adult shelter where they just see themselves as ‘that’s my future,'” said Fawn Schott, the president and CEO of Volunteers of America Spokane.

Crosswalk Shelter supervisor Morgan Grier said when kids age out of youth shelters, adult shelters can be confusing and don’t necessarily offer the support they need.

“A lot of kids, when they turn 18, going to an adult shelter is very scary for them and a lot of them will choose to sleep on the streets instead of going to an adult shelter,” Grier said.

Now they’ll be able to go to a new shelter. It will be right next to the community colleges. Forty-four young adults will get job training and higher education advice. The new shelter will give them a helping hand in a much better environment.

“We’re so excited to be out of downtown. There’s just a difference to being on the second and third avenue and stepping out the door and having negative influences available to stepping out the door and having a community college,” said program manager at Young Adult Shelter Gus Santos.

The goal is to end the cycle of chronic homelessness by helping young people find a new life early on and start a career they can be proud of.

“While we celebrate resources dedicated to young adults, we’re also starting a ripple effect for all adults,” Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward said.

The new young adult center will open on Dec. 1. Crosswalk is still accepting donations to make the move out of downtown.

RELATED: Packed In: Spokane City Council adopts resolution addressing housing issues, homelessness

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