As the conversation about homelessness grows in Spokane, the issue itself is also growing. According to a count from the City of Spokane, in 2017 there were more than 1,200 homeless people in Spokane. Of those people, 138 of them did not use shelters, sleeping instead on the street. A similar count in 2018 showed that number ballooned to more than 300 people.
The top five reasons for homelessness, according to a survey of homeless people in Spokane, were low income, family issues, not enough affordable housing, drug addiction, and alcohol.
Tuesday afternoon, KHQ is hosting a Town Hall at the McGinnity Room dedicated to discussing the issue, and presenting solutions. KHQ Wake Up anchor Sean Owsley will moderate the discussion. He'll be joined by Fawn Schott, President and CEO of Volunteers of America and Crosswalk, Tyson Sicilia of Observatory, Cory Barbieri who is Vice-President of Goodale and Barbieri, Dawn Kinder the City of Spokane's Director of Neighborhood and Business Services, Jeff Thomas the CEO of Frontier Behavioral Health, Rita Santillanes of Peppertree Hospitality Group, Craig Meidl the Spokane Chief of Police and Jonathan Mallahan the Vice-President of Housing Catholic Charities of Eastern WA.
We hope you will take part in this discussion to educate, identify gaps, and work together on a plan to address the complex issues surrounding homelessness and personal safety in downtown Spokane.