Inslee touts new housing program for Spokane’s homeless

December 5, 2022 GMT

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee was in Spokane Monday to preview the opening of a new housing project for homeless people, calling the Catalyst Project a step toward ending the state’s homelessness crisis.

The new housing, in a converted hotel, aims to provide roughly 100 beds along with mental health and substance abuse counseling and other services to people experiencing homelessness. The services are designed to help people transition to more permanent housing, Inslee said, as part of a “a long-term solution to a long-term problem of homelessness.”

The project is funded in part by state money earmarked for efforts to close a large homeless encampment on Washington State Department of Transportation property in Spokane. The encampment, known as Camp Hope, covers several square blocks where more than 400 people live in tents.

“This is a really happy day, not just for the Spokane community but for the whole state of Washington because it is yet another step forward in ending the homelessness crisis that is affecting our state,” Inslee said during Monday’s press conference.

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People staying at Catalyst Project will have access to four mental health professionals, two substance abuse professionals and more than two dozen additional staffers who will be working at the facility or providing community safety services. The goal is to give people a “new shot at life” by providing them security and support to address addictions, PTSD or other mental health problems so they can work toward finding permanent housing, Inslee said.

Catholic Charities of Eastern Washington is running Catalyst Project, and the first residents are expected to move in on Thursday. People from the homeless encampment will be selected for the housing project through a referral process. Catholic Charities will provide residents with on-site meals and access to bus tickets for appointments or other needs.