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People Living in Poverty | Spokane, WA
People Living in Poverty

  • Poverty is not just about income or nutritional deprivation.  Poverty is a mindset.  If you ignore the mental conditioning, if you ignore their deep despair, you will ignore the antidote, which is optimism, future orientation and hope.  People need social networks to get out of powerlessness.  They need peer groups of support."  (Susan Davis, president and CEO of BRAC USA, a prominent micro-finance institution in Bangladesh)
  • "Having hope correlates with a brighter future.  When people believe their lives are going to go nowhere, they are less likely to invest in their health and education.  If you have no hope and no sense of future and no sense of agency, it is very difficult to do anything.  You are unlikely to do the kinds of things it takes to get out of poverty, some of which require longer-term investments in yourself and your children.

    "Hope has its roots in genetics and personal experience, but is also heavily influenced by culture.  If the existing belief structure suggests that if you work hard, individual effort will get you ahead, you are more likely to be hopeful than if the social norm is 'We've been discriminated against.  The system is stacked against us.'  It doesn't matter what you do, you are going to fail.

    In her research, Carol Graham studies two types of happiness: contentment and purposefulness.  Contentment helps the poor endure their lot.  A belief in a better future typically correlates with better performance in the labor market, more money and improved health. 

    "The difference has a lot to do with having enough agency or capability.  You aren't just taking it a day at a time.  You have some sense of something you want to achieve--curing cancer, writing a great article, wanting to be successful."  (Carol Graham, Brookings Institution senior fellow, "Hope: A vital antidote to conquering the scourge of poverty," Deseret News, August 5, 2012) 

  • There are 50 million people living in poverty in the U.S., and only 40% of them have a job.  (Christine Lagarde, International Monetary Fund Director, "On the Money," CBS This Morning, April 8, 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.

  • DSHS Home and Community Services
    Food, Cash, Medical assistance

    Dept. of Social and Health Services - Washington State
    (509) 323-9400
    (509) 227-2200   North Office
    (509) 227-2500   Central Office, 1313 N. Maple Street
    (509) 227-2400   Southwest Office
    (509) 227-2700   Valley Office, 8517 E. Trent Ave, Ste 202

  • TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families)
    Federal program (formerly Welfare) designed to help needy families achieve self-sufficiency. 
    80,000 people in Washington receive TANF, including 55,000 children (2015) 
    (202) 401-9275 (Help for Families)