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Homeless Teens living on the Street | Served by local shelters. Fleeing family trauma. Spokane, WA
Teens - Homeless

  • 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. 

  • "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) 

  • 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 Crosswalk.
  • 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)
  • Tend babies of teen mothers while they are in school.  (Crosswalk)  

Local Organizations
Additional Resources

Alexandria's House

(509) 489-0349

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

(17 and under)
(Volunteers of America)
525 W. 2nd Avenue
Spokane, WA
(509) 838-6596

Cup of Cool Water (22 and under)
(509) 747-6686

Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration
(509) 456-3250

Life Services (maternity home)
(509) 327-0701

National Runaway Switchboard


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