House of Charity 2.0
House of Charity 2.0 Overview
House of Charity serves the most vulnerable members of our community, those on the streets battling the effects of mental illness, childhood trauma, and substance misuse. Many of our patrons have struggled to engage with formal and informal care systems, such as their families, schools, the mental health system, and every other shelter in town. These community members have sometimes given up hope that life can improve. We always endeavor to show them they do indeed have hope.
At House of Charity, we "hold the hope" for our patrons until it rekindles within them. We welcome any person in any condition, as long as they respect our staff, building, and rules. We believe each person, regardless of condition, is made in the image and likeness of Christ and deserves dignity and respect. We believe strongly that every human being should, at the very least, be able to eat, sleep and go to the bathroom indoors, in a safe place where they can also get the help and services they need to begin transforming their lives. We offer space, staff, and services to walk alongside them as they improve their health and wellness. We walk with them through their darkest valley, offering our reassuring presence to ease their fears slowly.
House of Charity is an all-inclusive, low-barrier emergency shelter that provides case management, meals, sleeping, and a respite program to individuals experiencing homelessness. We have been operating in Spokane since 1912. In 2000 we moved House of Charity from its old location on Main Street to its current location at the request and suggestion of the City of Spokane and the downtown business community.
Catholic Charities has acquired two sites to potentially build a new House of Charity 2.0 (HOC 2.0). This state-of-the-art facility would expand the current services of House of Charity in a new location outside the downtown core corridor, offering expanded capacity for both men and women, providing a wide range of all-inclusive shelter services. These services will be open 24/7 to anyone who needs emergency shelter and would like to transition towards temporary and more permanent housing services.
This project will continue to embody the core principle that Catholic Charities has maintained for over 50 years: Every human person is made in the image and likeness of God and thus demands basic dignity, respect, and compassion. Any person experiencing homelessness should be able to eat, sleep and go to the bathroom indoors, in a safe, welcoming space. This space should include behavioral health services they need to stabilize their lives and then be placed by our team on a path to permanent supportive housing.
HOC 2.0 will include a sleeping program for both men and women, respite care, case management, new augmented kitchen facilities that could be designed to accommodate freezing equipment to stockpile more meals tailored to meet the unique dietary needs of our patrons, increased security services covering a five-block radius of the new location, ample space to safely store personal gear and office space for community partners and outside providers to offer primary care, mental health, and substance abuse counseling would be delivered directly on-site. There will also be a large outdoor fenced utility area for seating, gathering, exercise, and other outdoor activities. In addition, case managers would be available on-site to administer intentional support services.
The current House of Charity (HOC) facility located at 32 W. Pacific Avenue would remain in its current location. It would continue to provide support services to Catholic Charities clients and nearby housing residents with new opportunities to meet community needs. However, the current HOC location would no longer sleep or feed individuals experiencing homelessness. The first floor will be used for staffing needs to assist our permanent supportive housing units in the area. The upstairs sleeping space will remain intact and could be contracted and used as an additional sheltering space by regional emergency management groups during inclement weather, fire/smoke season, future contagious disease events, etc. It could also be activated if desired by emergency management groups, as a medical isolation and quarantine space, as needed by the city or county during times of crisis like pandemics or norovirus outbreaks.
HOC 2.0 would provide 24/7 shelter services to our most vulnerable community members outside the downtown corridor.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is HOC 2.0?
Catholic Charities has submitted a regional proposal to the City of Spokane and Spokane County to address homelessness for single adults called HOC 2.0. House of Charity 2 (HOC 2.0) would expand our ability to provide 24/7 shelter services to men and women enrolled in our program and support our most vulnerable community members outside the downtown corridor. Catholic Charities has secured three potential sites to relocate House of Charity out of the downtown core. The result would be a new comprehensive homeless shelter solution in a new location. This concept is built on the decades-long core value and guiding principle of Catholic Charities’ homeless services strategy. Every human person is made in the image and likeness of God and thus demands basic dignity, respect, and compassion. People experiencing homelessness should be able to eat, sleep and go to the bathroom indoors, in a safe, welcoming space. This space should also provide behavioral health services people need to stabilize their lives. Once stabilized, each client should have a guided path and a Catholic Charities team member to walk alongside them as they transition to permanent supportive housing.
The House of Charity holds hope for people who have none. HOC 2.0 would continue to serve our most vulnerable neighbors with expanded capacity and provide intentional wraparound supportive services to help people move forward in their lives. This new, augmented model would allow multiple stakeholders such as the city, county, law enforcement, downtown business, real estate owners, and social service providers to achieve shared goals and outcomes. Most importantly, it provides the vulnerable men and women experiencing homelessness and living on our streets, parks, alleys, and underpasses to find access to resources and services delivered with dignity, love, and the hope they deserve.
What needs does HOC 2.0 fill in the community?
HOC 2.0 would use a trauma-informed approach to provide 24/7 on-site services for men and women experiencing homelessness and offer graduated models for individuals to move upwards on the stability continuum. Potential capacity could be as high as 250-300 individuals.
Who can access HOC 2.0?
HOC 2.0 is a low-barrier shelter. We want very few obstacles or reasons why an individual experiencing homelessness would not want to come in. The House of Charity has always had and will continue to have basic health and safety rules. Patrons are not allowed to drink or use illegal substances on-site; There is no sexual activity allowed on site; There are no weapons allowed on site, and violence of any kind is not tolerated. However, men and women in any condition, even if they are actively struggling with mental health or substance use disorder challenges, can receive services if they are respectful of themselves, other clients, and staff. There is no requirement for sobriety or religious education. We serve all people based on need, not creed. We are totally and unconditionally inclusive of every segment of our community. We believe that every individual deserves to be treated with respect and compassion—regardless of the choices that may be perceived to be contrary to them moving forward on their life journey. Sobriety and mental health stability are a journey that can take decades to complete/stabilize.
Will HOC 2.0 provide 24/7 services?
Yes, HOC 2.0 will provide on-site case management, vocational training, housing assistance, security, peer support & SUD (substance use disorder) services designed to support patrons on all aspects of their stability continuum. In addition, HOC 2.0 will provide round-the-clock services, including a bed, showers, laundry facilities, three meals, and access to other services to anyone currently enrolled.
What services can people access at HOC 2.0?
Clients can access augmented mental health counseling and care, substance use disorder counseling, medical respite, permanent housing services, vocational training, case management, and peer support counseling on-site with 24/7 security that patrols half a mile around the area. HOC 2.0 will also have dedicated apartment-style suites for hospice care for our homeless brothers and sisters, allowing them to go through end-of-life journeys with peace, tranquility, and specialized hospice care.
Why is Catholic Charities relocating House of Charity?
This is an opportunity to build a new facility that can incorporate all of the lessons learned from our current operations and processes, and design a space to honor those lessons. We will expand our ability to meet identified community needs, and create workflows and operations that are not possible in the current location.
Is HOC 2.0 a low-barrier shelter? Will there be other models of shelter for more engaged people?
HOC 2.0 will first and foremost be a low-barrier shelter. This does not mean there are no rules or requirements for maintaining health and safety. Low-barrier means that individuals choosing to access shelter will not be denied access based on race, religious beliefs, cultural background, mental health stability, gender identity, sobriety, or use of substances, and do not require completion of treatment as a requirement for program entry. In addition, we do not deny clients based upon poor credit or financial history, poor or lack of rental history, criminal history, history of victimization, status as a survivor of sexual assault or an affiliated person of such a survivor, health or mental health history, medication adherence, age, based upon behaviors that indicate lack of “housing readiness” or other unnecessary conditions. We also do not require any minimum income to be accepted into our program.
Catholic Charities does not discriminate against individuals applying for or maintaining shelter based upon ethnic diversity, race, religious belief, age, physical condition, disability, sexual or marital/family status.
Patrons ready to move forward in their stabilization journey will have access to other graduated service models and sleeping areas on-site. They will be offered case management and wraparound services to help support their journey. As clients engage with us at HOC 2.0, they take on more responsibility and accept more accountability. As they let us help them stabilize their lives, they will have progressively larger, more private sleeping spaces and more amenities/privileges on-site via a campus setting, with areas separated by client engagement and stability levels.
How will HOC 2.0 differ from House of Charity?
HOC 2.0 will have:
Increased sleeping space
Capacity for both men and women
Increased transitional and medical respite care
Expanded case management services with enough office space for community partners and providers to offer primary care
Hospice suites and hospice services on-site
Outdoor gathering spaces and reflection/spiritual growth spaces
Built-in facility features to support pets
Exercise/physical fitness areas
Mental health and substance abuse counseling will be offered on-site
State-of-the-art facility and kitchen designed to accommodate more meals tailored to meet the unique dietary needs of our patrons
Extended security services
Improved space to securely store personal possessions
large outdoor fenced utility area for outdoor activities and transportation
Where will the new site be located?
We are evaluating three potential sites that we have control over and that are zoned correctly.
Will HOC 2.0 help with transportation for clients?
Yes, a crucial feature of this new location will be working with the City of Spokane to solidify regular bus transportation services so clients have nonstop access to critical downtown corridor services, which would include providing transportation back and forth from hospitals after hours to ensure our vulnerable, medically fragile patrons have easy access to medical care 24/7.
How much will the HOC 2.0 cost?
The full extent of operational costs is still being finalized, pending the final site design. However, early estimates place the construction costs near $11 million. Costs could increase due to environmental factors at the building site, inflation, increased building material costs, timing, etc.
What will happen to the current House of Charity location?
The current House of Charity (HOC) facility located at 32 W. Pacific Avenue would remain in its current location. It will continue to provide support services to Catholic Charities clients and nearby housing residents with new opportunities to meet community needs. However, the current HOC location would no longer sleep or feed individuals experiencing homelessness. The first floor would be used for staffing needs to assist our permanent supportive housing units in the area. The upstairs sleeping space will remain intact and could be used as an additional sheltering space by regional emergency management groups during inclement weather, fire/smoke season, future contagious disease events, etc. It could also be activated if desired by emergency management groups, as a medical isolation and quarantine space, as needed by the city or county during times of crisis like pandemics or norovirus outbreaks.