City to use $3.4M grant to further efforts to help homeless veterans

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by SHAWN CHITNIS & KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on July 15, 2014 at 9:02 AM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 15 at 9:02 AM

SPOKANE, Wash.-- The City of Spokane announced plans Monday to apply a $3.4 million federal grant toward support programs for homeless veterans and others in need.

Authorities said the number of homeless veterans in Spokane decreased 36% between 2013 and 2014.  Veteran Amy Wonch, who used to be homeless, said local programs from Goodwill Industries helped her get a home and a job after she thought she had lost everything.

“I’ve lost everything; I’ve lost my spirit, I’ve lost my dignity that comes with that uniform,” said Wonch. “It’s hard.”

The City hosted the One Spokane summit in 2002 to brainstorm ideas to end poverty. The program created by the summit ended two years later. The Mayor said the City has since changed its approach to dealing with homelessness.

“We’re really being proactive and reaching  out in so many different ways to meet veterans before they find themselves in crisis,” said Mayor David Condon.

The Mayor said the City was working on moving away from shelters and toward providing services that help homeless people with their health and finding work. The new grant, in addition to another that the city recently received, will provide nearly $8 million to fund those efforts.

“The grant they got is going to be instrumental to Spokane and the residents of it because they’re really here to stop homelessness.”

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