LOCAL NEWS

Hope Works: Spokane program provides work for panhandling homeless

Jul 30, 2018, 6:40 AM | Updated: 12:56 pm

A program in Spokane is helping homeless people exchange their panhandling signs for actual work, all in an effort to help them get back on their feet.

The Hope Works program is a joint effort between Inland Northwest Goodwill and the City of Spokane, and helps those in need gain more than simply money.

“A couple of days a week caseworkers get in a van trolling around some of our panhandling hot spots here in Spokane,” City’s of Spokane’s Jeff Humphrey told Seattle’s Morning News. “Caseworkers will get out and ask these folks if they’d like to put down their signs for the day and go do some light labor.”

After doing work like picking up garbage or planting flowers, they receive a $50 Visa card, free lunch, wardrobe essentials from Goodwill, access to services such as housing and social security benefits, and a chance to use the Goodwill computers to look for work. More than anything, the Hope Works program helps facilitate positive feelings of self-worth and productivity, which begins a gradual path out of homelessness.

RELATED: Understanding Seattle’s homeless issues

“The caseworkers spend the whole day with them down in the dirt and picking up trash,” Humphrey said. “It’s not like we need people to pick up trash in Spokane. What we need it is to try and make a connection with these people, and when your caseworker is in the dirt right along with you, it creates this camaraderie and takes down a lot of fences.

“They’re really excited about doing it, and not just for the money. Everybody likes working. This program reignites the desire you had when you were 16 and you couldn’t wait to get a job and go out an get some money.”

Humphrey witnessed the homeless people who participate develop a renewed enthusiasm for getting off the street. Many of them used the money to make plans and were ready to accept services in an effort to take the crucial first steps.

“What would really fix your problems?” they were asked. “How can we help you get back into the game of life?”

Could Hope Works function in Seattle?

The Goodwill pilot project in Spokane has been running for nearly a year. Humphrey said he can certainly see the program working in Seattle.

“I think it would work in a place like Seattle,” he said. “Because a lot of these people are simply stuck in a place, and at that particular moment, they can’t see the means by which to get out of that situation. They’ve been down on their luck for so long, they just can’t find a way out.”

The public response in Spokane has been very positive so far, according to Humphrey.

“People are saying, ‘Finally, something that is more of a hand up, than a handout,'” Humphrey said. “That’s what this is. It allows people to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, and that really resonates with people in Spokane.”

To donate to the Hope Works program and learn more, head here.

Local News

(Getty image)...
Stephanie Klein

Seattle police investigating 5 shootings overnight

Seattle police are investigating five shootings in the past 24-hour period. Two people were injured.
12 hours ago
Republicans, redistricting...
Nick Bowman

State Supreme Court allows late-arriving redistricting maps to move forward

The state Supreme Court n will allow new legislative and congressional maps submitted late by the state's redistricting commission to move forward. 
12 hours ago
religious accommodation, traffic stops...
Nick Bowman

Study yields mixed results on racial disparities during Washington State Patrol traffic stops

A new study digs into five years of data on traffic stops made by Washington State Patrol, demonstrating mixed results regarding racial disparities.
12 hours ago
Emerald City Comic Con...
KIRO Radio Newsdesk

Long-awaited return of Emerald City Comic Con offers crucial outlet for fans and artists alike

Not only is the return of Emerald City Comic Con a big deal for fans, but it is a welcome respite for small artists and creators as well.
12 hours ago
Seattle snow...
MyNorthwest Staff

‘Chance for snow’ on Monday across Seattle area, say forecasters

With temperatures rapidly dropping over the next few days, it's possible that parts of the Seattle area could see their first taste of winter snow.
12 hours ago
Collision...
KIRO 7 News Staff

Multiple people injured in multi-vehicle collision involving dump truck in Renton

A multi-vehicle collision shut down parts of Maple Valley Highway and 140th Avenue Southeast in Renton Thursday night.
12 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
...

Delayed-Onset PTSD: Signs and Symptoms

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers SPONSORED — You’re probably familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, this condition is diagnosed when a person experiences a set of symptoms for at least a month after a traumatic event. However, for some people, these issues take longer to develop. This results in a diagnosis of delayed-onset PTSD […]
...

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7. Free unbiased help is here!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
...

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
...
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
...
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
Hope Works: Spokane program provides work for panhandling homeless