Commerce makes final Right of Way Safety Initiative funding awards to city and nonprofit proposals in latest step toward closing Camp Hope
New investments bring total to 376 beds for temporary and permanent housing now funded in Spokane.
OLYMPIA, WA — The Washington State Department of Commerce will fund multiple proposals from the final portion of state’s Right of Way Safety Initiative funding available for work to close the homeless encampment on Washington State Department of Transportation property in Spokane, known as Camp Hope. These newest investments of more than $4 million add to prior capital and operating investments of $18.8 million, bringing the total share of Spokane’s funding through the initiative to almost $24 million.
“We are pleased to be able to fund proposals received from the city and nonprofit providers that will provide more people with the opportunity to get out of the cold weather now and connect with services that offer a pathway toward stable housing long term,” said Commerce Director of Housing Policy Tedd Kelleher. “This funding is another substantial step toward that end result – closing Camp Hope – we’ve all been working so hard to achieve since the summer.”
Commerce prioritized matching remaining funding to the types of housing and other options needed to move people inside. This was done based on the individual needs assessments of Camp Hope residents conducted by outreach workers working closely with peer navigators over the past several months to identify the right housing services for each individual.
Projects proposed by the City of Spokane:
- Trent Resource Assistance Center (TRAC) – $500,000 (bringing the total funding committed to the shelter to $2 million)
- Diversion (Spokane County United Way) – $150,000
Proposed by nonprofits Empire Health Foundation or Spokane Low Income Housing Consortium (SLIHC):
- Shared supported housing – $1.76 million
- Outpatient 22-hour detox – $620,000
Proposed by both city and nonprofits:
- Hope House – $490,000 in two separate contracts with the city and Empire Health Foundation.
- Rapid Rehousing – $1.3 million in two separate contracts with the city and Empire Health Foundation
Including those announced today, projects proposed by the City of Spokane have now been awarded over $16 million in funding – more than 70% of total funds awarded by Commerce in Spokane. City proposals that previously received state funding include $1.5 million for the Trent Shelter and $14.8 million, through Catholic Charities of Eastern Washington, to acquire and renovate the Quality Inn on West Sunset Boulevard for the Catalyst Project. Opening next week, Catalyst will immediately provide 100 beds for people moving out of Camp Hope and is expected to provide permanent housing units over the long term.
Projects proposed by nonprofit partners the Empire Health Foundation or Spokane Low Income Housing Consortium have been awarded just over $7 million, or approximately 30% of funds awarded in Spokane County.
The funding announced today provides resources needed to approximately double the existing number of transitional and long-term housing options and shelter beds for moving people out of Camp Hope, bringing the total funded by Commerce to 376 beds.
In addition to the Trent Shelter and Catalyst, projects funded earlier include coordination and outreach services ($3.69 million), expansion of Spokane’s Homeless Management Information System ($372,193) and Housing Choice vouchers (from US Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funds).
“All of our partners deserve tremendous thanks, especially the service providers who are on the ground working day in and day out to keep people safe and move them to better housing as quickly as possible,” said Commerce Director Lisa Brown. “In addition, the state Departments of Licensing, Health, and Social and Health Services have stepped up in an unprecedented way, coming out into the field to quickly get Camp Hope residents essential documents such as birth certificates and identification cards, and assistance signing up for services.”
Given that the current shelter system in the county is full, Brown emphasized the crucial nature of the additional investments, noting the primary obstacle to closing encampments across the state, including Camp Hope, remains the lack of enough housing options.
“The vast majority of Camp Hope residents – more than eight out of 10 – come from our community. The shortage of affordable housing, a lack of supportive services, and inadequate medical and behavioral healthcare capacity are all contributing factors to homelessness,” said Empire Health Foundation President Zeke Smith. “When we work together to address these shortages, we can make real progress for everybody, from Camp Hope to the neighborhoods and businesses of Spokane asking for help.”
While Camp Hope is the largest encampment, it is estimated that hundreds more people are living unsheltered in other areas scattered around the community, and thousands more are without permanent housing, getting by relying on patchworks of family, friends and other temporary living situations.
Weekly updates detailing ongoing work and marking progress toward closing Camp Hope are distributed by WSDOT. Subscribe to the email list to receive updates at https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/WADOT/subscriber/new?topic_id=WADOT_706.