24 Mar 22, by Hello for good
So, What Are Some of The Things We Have Been Doing?
Created in Q4 2021, HFG has been busy. Read about a few of our recent key initiatives and projects.
Washington Trust Bank and Spokane Teachers Credit Union co-funded the consulting services of a former mayor who saw tremendous success in his city addressing homelessness challenges. He and his team conducted interviews and listening sessions with several key players in Spokane (including service providers, city employees, officials, and businesses) to discuss current housing, homelessness, and mental health challenges. He presented his findings to hello in a detailed gap analysis and report. We have shared this report with the mayor’s office and other community leaders. We hope this will help shed light on some of the specific challenges facing our community.
Process Map / Gap Analysis
With the help of key service providers, we mapped out a detailed journey of a homeless person, from street to housing and all the things in between. From there, we found identifiable gaps where the private sector could provide financial support and solutions. Gaps ranged from the need for additional homeless outreach teams and “navigators” to help individuals experiencing homeliness navigate the myriad of complexity around receiving available services… to additional shelter/housing… to more inpatient rehabilitation clinics, and many in between. We literally asked, “If you could fund anything in the world to address this, what would it be?” Not surprisingly, we were reminded that at its core, this isn’t just a housing crisis; rather, this is a mental health and addiction crisis that we are seeing on our streets.
Legal Review of Challenges to the Sit-Lie Ordinance
This ordinance in the Spokane municipal code states that individuals cannot sit or lie on sidewalks, block entrances to buildings, create camps, etc. A recent precedent set by the Martin v. Boise case in Idaho has made it more difficult for the SPD to enforce this. We repeatedly hear concerns from downtown businesses on the impact of individuals lying in their doorways, front sidewalks, etc. We have gathered legal analysis and have partnered with other groups that are also reviewing this landmark case. With expert assistance, we’ve drafted an updated sit-lie ordinance for Spokane that complies with the Martin ruling, addresses health and livability concerns downtown, and directs those in need of help to services. We plan to share this proposed ordinance with city leaders in hopes of implementing impactful change downtown. We are also collaborating with the Downtown Spokane Partnership in their efforts in this policy arena.
We are reviewing current policies affecting this issue and creating recommendations.
In addition to teaming up with local service providers and experts in our own backyard, hello is also meeting with people from organizations in other parts of the country for educational purposes. We have met with and learned from multiple organizations and individuals from across the country and have several more queued up in the next few weeks.
We will host a symposium in May in Spokane of various experts, where you and other leaders can learn more about the challenges and opportunities for Spokane in this space.
As mentioned, we are not here to reinvent the wheel. We are utilizing existing studies, partnering with other cities that have been successful, diving into the data specific to Spokane, and more. Our hello co-chairs and steering committee have met with over 40 different authorities on these issues in the last five months alone, including several formal presentations from cities that have found great success in this area.
Simply put, hello has been doing a lot of work behind the scenes. While we’re less than six months old, we have momentum in our corner and won’t be slowing down any time soon. We know that solutions won’t come easily or overnight, but we’re committed to making Spokane a clean, vibrant, and safe city for all.
As mentioned, we are looking to host a symposium of experts in May 2022. We would love for local businesses to attend and learn more about how we can all come together to enact positive change for our community.
Want to connect with hello for good? Have a suggestion? Please contact us at:
- Chris Patterson, Community Solutions Advisor, Washington Trust Bank
- Katy Bruya, SVP / Chief HR Officer, Washington Trust Bank
- General hello email box: email@example.com
“Homelessness is not a choice, but rather a journey that many find themselves in.”
—Dr. Asa Don Brown