The entrance to Hope House, a women’s shelter provided by Volunteers of America Eastern Washington & Northern Idaho (VOA), is in the back, hidden from the street in an effort to protect those fleeing violence.
The shelter was founded in 1997 in response to an uptick in murders on the streets of Spokane, with the idea that everyone deserves a safe place to stay. Last year, Hope House took 109 women off the streets and housed them in their 46-bed facility in downtown Spokane. As many as 10 to 15 women are turned away each night due to a lack of beds.
In March, Premera Social Impact awarded Hope House a $1 million grant. The grant will allow Hope House to expand their services and move to a new shelter in December of 2019, which will give them the ability to triple the number of women they serve.
In addition to shelter, Hope House offers educational services, medical stability services (for women who have been discharged from the hospital or psychiatric facility and need additional time to stabilize in 24 hour beds), domestic violence advocacy, access to the Hope House food and clothing pantry, and case management support for residents as they work to transition out of homelessness.
I visited Hope House in July and spoke to some of the women who were staying there. Their stories were sobering. Some women were fleeing domestic violence, while others had lost their jobs and couldn’t afford rent.
Video: Hope House employees hearing the news that Premera would be giving them a $1 million grant, as well as footage from the facility and an interview with the assistant director, Heather Thomas-Taylor. By Alexandra Gunnoe with additional footage from Bo Jungmayer.https://player.vimeo.com/video/283115201
Alexandra Gunnoe is in Corporate Communications at Premera Blue Cross.