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Gov. Jay Inslee visits Spokane to discuss youth homeless solutions

Governor Jay Inslee came to Spokane to talk about youth homelessness. He met with Volunteers of America about state funding to build a new shelter.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Governor Jay Inslee toured the CHAS behavioral health center and met with members of the Spokane Youth Advisory Committee and Volunteers of America to discuss youth homelessness. He spoke to them about what initiatives the state is taking to eliminate youth homelessness in Spokane.

"This was a great chance to get to talk to the people who did a lot of work for everything that happens in this area with homelessness in the youth," said Alex Watson, who is on the committee.

Watson is a 23-year-old board member of the youth advisory committee. He's also homeless and lives at Crosswalk Spokane.

He said he was looking forward to the governor's visit to Spokane.

"Had the governor not signed that and given us that budget. I don't know if a lot of us would be teamed up on that in that kind of area,"  said Watson. 

Crosswalk Spokane is one of two licensed emergency shelters for homeless youth in Spokane. The shelter recently received an investment of $2.5 million to grow its services thanks to the work done by Gov. Inslee.

"I really just think that it is so important for our decision-makers to see on the ground, the difference that their financial investments make in real lives," said Fawn Schott, the President of Volunteers of America.

Inslee spoke with Volunteers of America and the youth advisory committee about the investment and the efforts the state is making to curb youth homelessness.

"We can continue to brag on you as we build this over time. We got a great step, this legislative session, I can say this was one of our real successes of this last legislative session," said Inslee.

The funding will build a brand new shelter and move Crosswalk Spokane to a better location.

"We need to not be downtown. It's not safe for us," said Schott. "We want to be in a neighborhood we want to invest in education and that is our opportunity, our future."

The Youth Advisory Committee was responsible for choosing the new shelter's location.

"The youth-adult shelter was actually one of our big projects that the YAC had brought on to legislation and all the people that work," said Watson.

They also help other teens who run away from home and are going through homelessness.

Volunteers of America says they hope to break ground on the new youth homeless shelter this October. The plan is to have it finished in one year.

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