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Homeless Teens | Spokane, WA
Homeless Teens & Students

  • Spokane serves hundreds of homeless teens each year.  They attend school during the day and at night, they sleep in a car, a youth shelter, or doubled up at night couch surfing or living with friends and extended family.  (Family Promise of Spokane newsletter, August 2015)  
  • Some teenagers leave home because they believe it is their only option for survival.  They may have been victims of abuse for years, or caught in addictions leading them to crime and a violent lifestyle.

When there is a youth in crisis,
there is a family in crisis.

  • There are 597 students living in a homeless situation (living in cars, motels, with friends or relatives) in Spokane Valley's school districts CVSD, WVSD and EVSD.  CVSD has 363 homeless students from 206 families.  Over 50% of these Valley students are not living with their legal parent or guardian.   (January 2018, CVSD homeless liaison)

  • "One in 27 students in Spokane County is homeless."  There are 3,000 homeless students in Spokane, a 60% increase in over the last 5 years, according to Priority Spokane.  This percentage is 33% higher than the State average.  As a result, Governor Jay Inslee signed House Bill 1682 in April 2016 which will create grant programs to add liaisons for the homeless in our schools, rental assistance for their families, and transportation help, and more. Homeless students have an increase of behavior problems and depression.    (KREM-TV, May 2, 2016) 
  • Priority Spokane shares the following statistics:

    3.8% of Spokane's students are homeless - almost 3,000 students.  We have seen a 59% increase in the number of homeless students in K-12 in use in the last 5 years.  Spokane County’s rate of Homeless students is 19% higher than the state average for K-8th.  (Spokane County)

    83% of homeless students have experienced a violent event by the age of 12. 

    53% of homeless mothers do not have a high school diploma.

    75% of homeless students do not graduate. 

    776 homeless students attended Spokane's Public Schools during the 2014 school year.  (District 81)

    Homeless students are 50% more likely to miss school.

    Homeless students are 9x more likely to repeat a grade.

    Homeless students are 4 times as likely to get sick than other children.

    Homeless students are twice as likely to have learning disabilities as non-homeless children.

    75% will self-medicate and/or abuse substances.

    1 out of every 5 children in the U.S. lives in poverty.  (Annie Casey Foundation)

    l out of 4 homeless people are children.  (Family Promise of Spokane)

    1,600,000 students K-8 will experience homelessness over the course of one year in the United States.  (http://www.greendoors.org

    (Source:  Priority Spokane 2015
  • Spokane has experienced a 60 percent growth in student homelessness in the last five years, according to researchers at Eastern Washington University.  The research found Spokane County's rate of homelessness is 33% higher than the state average. Of the nearly 3,000 homeless children in Spokane County schools, 76% of them are doubling up with family and friends due to evictions and other financial issues.

    Priority Spokane,
    a local nonprofit, is working to fix this problem. The organization is filming a short film to bring awareness to the issue because almost 3,000 kindergarten through 12th grade students are homeless throughout Spokane County.

    Priority Spokane Director Ryan Oelrich
    said when people think about homelessness, they think about people sleeping under bridges or holding signs, but homeless students are much less visible.  "Many times, as I've talked to these families, there's a pride issue. They feel embarrassed, they don't want to ask for help. There's also a worry that a government agency might intervene and take their kids, so many times they stay hidden," said Oelrich.  (Source:  “Study:  Almost 3,000 students in Spokane are homeless, by Raishad Hardnett, KREM 2 News, October 15, 2015)
What You Can Do
  • Assist with sit-down meals at a shelter. 
  • Tutor in an alternative high school setting.

  • Teach computer skills and research skills, such as how to collect and enter data.

  • Share resume’ preparation and job interviewing skills.

  • Consult with teens on vocational training projects.

  • Help provide Christmas for foster or homeless children. 

  • Consider the Adam Fisher family.  East Valley's football coach Adam Fisher and his wife Jolene invited Rodrick Jackson to live in their home in 2016.  Rodrick had bounced from home to home and lived on the streets, until he told Adam Fisher that he wanted to turn his life around, but he needed help.  The Fisher home included 2 middle school-aged daughters.  Since moving in with the Fishers in March, Rodrick began to prosper in the classroom and in life, and was considered a part of the family.  When Rodrick turns 18 in December, he plans to legally change his last name to Fisher.  Adam Fisher said "We are literally living the 'Blind Side' movie." 

    Rodrick Jackson's story offers hope to other students who have contacted Rodrick and thanked him for inspiring them and having the courage to share his story.  A student from an area high school contacted Rodrick through Facebook and said, "My dad's in prison and my mom is a drug dealer.  You give me hope."  He said he hopes others in tough situations can potentially better themselves, if they have the courage to ask for help.  ("Story of East Valley football player Rodrick Jackson gains national interest," by Greg Lee, The Spokesman-Review, NW Preps Now, October 26, 2016)

Local Organizations
Additional Resources

If you need assistance with finding shelter, and are located in City of Spokane, please call Spokane's Homeless Family Coordinated Assessment, before calling the homeless shelters.  The Assessment team will assess your situation, and direct you to the agencies which serve your particular needs.
Homeless Family Coordinated Assessment 
(a program of Catholic Charities)
Family Resource Center Bldg.
19 W. Pacific
(Myrtle Woldson Institute building)
Spokane, WA  99201
(509) 325-5005 (answered 24/7)
Walk-in Hours:  Monday - Thursday from 12:30 pm to 5 pm.

If you need assistance with finding shelter, and are located in Spokane County and outside of the City of Spokane please contact:
Spokane County Community Services Housing, and Community Development Department
(an assessment for homelessness and housing)
(866) 904-9060
Learn if you are eligible for an application for County-administered programs, connect to  City administered programs, access publicly and privately funded emergency shelters info, and link to Washington Connections website to apply other governmental benefits.
Crisis Residential Center

201 W. 6th Avenue
Spokane, WA
(509) 624-2868
(for youth, runaways, and teens in conflict with family)

(ages 13-17)
(Volunteers of America)
525 W. 2nd Avenue
Spokane, WA
(509) 838-6596
Open:  24/7

Cup of Cool Water (22 and under)
1106 W. 2nd Avenue
Spokane, WA  99201
(509) 747-6686

HEART (Homeless Education and Resource Team) is a program in place in various Spokane school districts, which is designed to address and support the educational needs of students who find themselves in temporary or transitional housing during the school year.
Homeless Education and Resource Team (HEART)
Spokane Valley & Spokane

Central Valley, East Valley and West Valley School Districts

Spokane Public Schools

Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration

(509) 456-3250

Life Services (maternity home for young women)
2659 N. Ash
Spokane, WA  99205
(509) 327-0701
Open M-F, 9 - 5 pm

Odyssey Youth Center
(age 14-21)
(509) 325-3637