We believe that every human being is made in the image and likeness of God.
Every human being has value and deserves the basic human dignity of a sleeping inside, a warm meal, a shower, and using the restroom inside.
Randal, former House of Charity client, now volunteer
What is Low Barrier Shelter?
Emergency, low-barrier shelter is free from discrimination based upon substance use/sobriety, gender identity, criminal history, health or mental health history, medication adherence, age, or other unnecessary conditions. House of Charity (HOC) provides a safe place for people experiencing homelessness to sleep and connects them to services and housing. However, a low-barrier shelter is more than just a temporary sleeping solution. HOC is a place where people can come to stay exactly as they are—free of judgment. It is also a place where people can engage in supportive services such as case management, housing supports, indoor showers and bathrooms, meals, hygiene items, activities, and connect with staff who take a person-centered/relationship-based approach to services.
Who can go to House of Charity?
We serve a wide range of people with different experiences and backgrounds. Some people are newly homeless and already have substantial work and housing experience; they may just need a leg up. They are ready to actively engage with our staff to move forward in their lives and access permanent supportive housing. On the other hand, some of our clients have significant lifelong struggles with trauma, mental health, and/or substance misuse histories. It is not realistic to expect them to move forward with their lives in the same way or on the same expedited timeline.
There is no one face of homelessness. The clients we serve have experienced a wide range of circumstances and traumas. When you see someone on the street, you often see them on the worst day of their life. You don't always know what may have happened to that person five minutes before you encountered them—and sometimes, their behavior can be perceived as scary. However—if you look a little closer—what is manifesting is deep pain, grief, and a trauma response to horrific experiences that have led them to their current homeless experience.
What is the House of Charity?
House of Charity (HOC) provides a safe place for people experiencing homelessness to sleep and connects them to services and housing. Since the onset of COVID, clients who stay the previous evening can access a 24/7 service model and stay on-site for the entire day and access services such as on-site case management, peer support & SUD services designed to support patrons on all aspects of their stability continuum. In addition, HOC provides round-the-clock services to include a bed, showers, laundry facilities, three meals, and access to other services to anyone currently enrolled.
What are housing barriers?
Sometimes, fundamental barriers like the need to obtain a state ID or other supporting documents hinder our clients from obtaining housing. For chronically homeless individuals (experienced homelessness for at least one continuous year), supporting them with obtaining housing needs to start with building trust. People have been betrayed in all kinds of ways by those they should be able to trust: family, loved ones, service providers, landlords, etc. House of Charity can sometimes be the closest thing to a "safe family" people have experienced for a long time, if ever. Our staff are compassionate, the shelter rules are fair, and the basics of shelter and sustenance are met. However, it can take some time for people to let down their guard, step out of their "fight or flight" mode, and trust that our team will help see them through the process and continue to be there once they are housed.
In recent months, House of Charity has seen a growing number of people who have full-time jobs, so they do not qualify for subsidized housing. Even though they are working, they cannot afford the sky-rocketing rent in Spokane and the surrounding area or do not have references to gain entry into a home of their own.
Interested in learning more about Catholic Charities and homelessness? Click below to download our Q&A on chronic street homelessness in Spokane and join our mailing list!