SPOKANE, Wash --- Catholic Charities Eastern Washington opened 51 new apartments for some of Spokane Valley’s families in need on Thursday.
It took more than two years to complete the project, and today, Catholic Charities opened doors to families in need. The housing development is called the “Pope Francis Haven House.”
Catholic Charities announces opening of 51 low income apartments for homeless in Spokane Valley. Can house over 200 people, mostly families. pic.twitter.com/wexbu5HOpk— Evan Noorani (@KREM2Evan) August 24, 2017
It will house more than 200 members of Spokane Valley’s homeless population, and most of them will pay nothing for rent.
“The tax credit commission, the government who paid for all these buildings they give you about three months to rent these things up. We’re already half full in three weeks. So, that tells you the need in our community, but here’s the solution. Homelessness is not a problem we can’t solve, it’s a problem that’s absolutely solvable in the Spokane region and this is how you do it,” said CEO of Catholic Charities Eastern Washington, Rob McCann.
A $10.5 million tax credit funded these apartments, and they each have their own washer, dryer, dishwasher and other appliances.
McCann speculated that this was the first building in the U.S. named after Pope Francis.
“This is such a tangible experience and example of what it is to take care of these families,” said a bishop that spoke at the apartment opening.
It is a big step toward taking more homeless people off the streets, Spokane Valley mayor, Rod Higgins, said there is more that needs to be done.
“Education. Education not only of the problem, and the ability to work toward a solution. But even education of the people we’re trying to focus on, of better things to do than the decisions they made that got them in this position,” said Higgins.
The Church of Latter Day Saints donated beds and bedframes for every room, and public donations were enough to provide things like clean towels and kitchen supplies.
“We’ve built four of these projects in the last 18 months. That’s unheard of, nationally, for any non-profit to build that many, that quickly,” said McCann.
Residents will have access to a clubhouse with a computer room, indoor play area and a social services coordinator.
Construction is still underway for additional low-income housing near downtown Spokane, which is expected to be completed this November.