Spokane Journal of Business

VOA could close Hope House women’s shelter

Nonprofit cites lack of funding; affordable housing units in building will remain open

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Volunteers of America of Eastern Washington & North Idaho said it might close its Hope House women’s shelter in downtown Spokane at the end of January due to a lack of funding

In that scenario, the 120-bed shelter at 1301 W. Third would stop accepting new women beginning Jan. 1.

Rae-Lynn Barden, managing director of marketing and communications, says 20 respite shelter beds will remain open for women in need of medical care. Also, the building includes 60 affordable housing studio apartments on the building’s upper three floors that will still be available to rent.

VOA said it's short about $1.5 million in operating expenses. About $700,000 in operating expenses is covered through fundraising and providing contracted respite care beds. 

The release says that more than 600 women have received emergency shelter and housing services at Hope House since November 2021. 

“This announcement comes with immense sadness,” VOA president and CEO Fawn Schott says in a release. “From this, we will move forward to identify and meet a different community need.”

VOA opened Hope House in spring 2021. As previously reported by the Journal, the project cost $15 million, and was funded through $1 million from Premera Blue Cross, $500,000 from the Washington state Legislature, $200,000 from the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund, and $100,000 from a private donor. 

In May 2019, the project also received $13 million in tax-credit equity for the affordable housing units portion of Hope House. 

“The money constructs the building and allows enough to provide one support staff for the building,” Schott said at the time. “All of the operations and maintenance of the building are also included in the long-term funding of the building.”

VOA has run the Hope House shelter since 2000. The previous shelter was located at 111 W. Third, and offered a third of the shelter bed capacity of the new Hope House. 

Virginia Thomas
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Reporter Virginia Thomas has worked at the Journal since 2017 and covers the health care industry. As a reporter, she loves learning about Spokane's many growing industries. She enjoys traveling with her husband, snuggling with her cats, and cross stitching.

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