EnVision Center to open east of downtown Spokane
HUD-designated center receives funds from cityDecember 20th, 2018
A broad menu of social services will be available in a central location on the periphery of downtown when Spokane’s EnVision Center opens late next month, those involved in the project say.
To be located on the second floor of the WorkSource Spokane building at 130 S. Arthur, the EnVision Center will unite at least eight organizations with the goal of connecting those in need with resources that can help, CEO of Spokane Workforce Council Mark Mattke says.
Kelly Keenan, director of community, housing, and human services for the city of Spokane, says the city is aiming to open the center on Jan. 22.
Spokane’s EnVision Center would include housing assistance, health care access, re-entry and justice resources, basic needs assistance, and educational workshops.
Mattke says having the EnVision Center occupy 20,000 square feet in the same building as WorkSource Spokane will be beneficial to those who come to the center to access social services because they can remain in the same building to access WorkSource’s career services.
“It’s a great match because all of these folks will be going to the EnVision Center to get services to get stable and figure out their housing, figure out other social services they might need … and then they can come downstairs when they’re ready to get employment and training services from WorkSource and get on a path to economic self-sufficiency,” Mattke says.
The Spokane Workforce Council, the Spokane Housing Authority, and the city of Spokane already had been looking for an integrated social services site before applying to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for EnVision Center designation.
“We had submitted (the EnVision Center) application because it very much aligned with what the vision was for the integrated social services center,” Mattke says.
The city was notified in March that Spokane had been selected, Mattke says. He says Spokane’s EnVision Center is the only one of 17 designated sites that is located in partnership with a career development center.
While not all organizations to be located in the EnVision Center have been identified, Keenan says 20-some partner organizations have committed to participating in the project.
Mattke says fewer than 10 organizations will ultimately occupy the EnVision Center space; he says some of the groups who have been involved in discussions of what services the center should offer include Catholic Charities, Community Health Association of Spokane, the Spokane branch of the Washington state Department of Social and Health Services, and the Revive Reentry Homes & Services program.
“We’re trying to bring in all the partners that make the most sense, that are going to have what the folks are seeking so they can access that right there in one place,” Mattke says. “The more we can put in that one-stop environment, the better it is for people who are accessing those services to get what they need and make progress toward their goals.”
The HUD designation doesn’t come with funding, Mattke says; funding is up to the city and the individual organizations involved in the center.
Keenan says the city’s total operational budget for the first year of the EnVision Center is about $350,000. He says rent will be waived for space provided to participating organizations for the duration of the center’s pilot period.
After a pilot period of 18 to 24 months, the workforce council, housing authority, and city will meet to evaluate the center’s functionality in the WorkSource building and whether the organizations in the EnVision space are meeting the needs of the community, Keenan says.