The EWU study and our

"Erase Homelessness" Short Film

November 3rd, 2015

Partner with us as we work to #EraseStudentHomelessness and support the approximately 3,000 homeless students in K-12 in Spokane County. Below are the documents from our November 3rd Forum.


Read the Eastern Washington University Report by Dr. Deanna Trella and Dr. Tim Hilton. Watch and share our short film, Erasing Student Homelessness, by clicking on the following link:


Data: Priority Spokane Homeless Student Statistics

Spokane Regional Health District's: Missing the Foundation

Program: Community Forum Program

Ryan Oelrich, Executive Director, Priority Spokane



Read up on what's been happening internally at Spokane Priority.

Priority Spokane Awards $25,000 to WSU

for At Risk Assessment Tool

May 12, 2015

Ryan Oelrich, Executive Director, Priority Spokane

“At a stakeholder’s forum in March of 2018 Priority Spokane concluded its collaborative 6 month community assessment for Spokane County.  The process identified the following top three priorities for the region which will be addressed over the next 3-5 years by Priority Spokane and its partners: 1. Reduce Impacts of Family Trauma and Violence, 2. Increase Access and Services for Residents with Co-occuring Substance Abuse and Mental Health Issues, and 3. Improve the Availability of Affordable Housing.  In 2019 Priority Spokane will conclude our 3 year pilot project addressing the current priority of stabilizing homeless students and their families while preparing to select our next priority from the top three identified.




Basic Information on the Community Assessment


1.       529 stakeholders from across Spokane County participated in 13 meetings focused on reviewing data and discussing needs and issues related to the following six areas: Economic Vitality, Education, Environment, Healthy People, Housing & Transportation, & Public Safety.


2.       Over 200 stakeholders participated in the final Community Assessment meeting and cast their vote to select the top 3 priorities.


3.       Two CoChairs were recruited for each of the 6 topic areas for their experience and leadership in that area.  They were responsible for identifying stakeholders and inviting them to participate.  Those CoChairs were:  Shelly O’Quinn & Todd Mielke (Economic Vitality), Superintendent Mike Dunn & Dr. Vincent Alfonso (Education), Britt Bachtel-Browning & Katy Sheehan (Environment), Sara Clements-Sampson & Torney Smith (Healthy People), Amber Waldref & Pam Tietz (Housing & Transportation), & CM Karen Stratton & Police Chief Craig Meidl (Public Safety).


4.       Dr. Patrick Jones & his staff at the Community Indicators Project were responsible for presenting and reviewing relevant data at each meeting and updating the Spokane Indicators Website based upon the data voted upon.


5.       The Community Assessment process was sponsored by Priority Spokane and the Community Health Advisory Board (CHAB) and will be used by over two dozen organizations across Spokane County to help prioritize and plan including: Providence, Spokane Regional Health District, MultiCare Deaconess, SNAP, Lutheran Community Services, Kalispel Tribe, Shriner’s Children’s Hospital, and others.  This process marked the first time so many organizations collaborated to participate in one coordinated assessment versus conducting their own independently.






Priority Spokane is proud to announce the award of $25,000 to Washington State University (WSU) to develop the younger student (middle school) version of the Washington Assessment of Student Needs (ysWARNS) system.  WSU will establish ysWARNS in an online environment that allows for computer administration, computer scoring, and instant feedback to the person taking the test and the individual administering it.  Dr. Paul S. Strand, Associate Professor of Psychology at WSU, will oversee the research and implementation and will work in partnership with Spokane Public Schools to test and then pilot the assessment tool.


The ysWARNS pilot is seen as complimentary to the existing Community Attendance Support Team (CAST) process, but will more quickly identify at risk students for truancy and discipline issues.  The CAST process is largely credited with dramatically increasing middle school attendance rates in Spokane Public Middle Schools over the last three years.  By identifying at risk students even earlier, while in middle school, the hope is these students can be more quickly paired with the resources they need to remain healthy, attend school, and to graduate on time.

The funding for this grant comes from the Roadmaps to Health grant provided to Priority Spokane by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.  The ysWARNS project will culminate with a final report on its results and an identification of next steps in December 2015.


About Priority Spokane:  Priority Spokane is a unique collaboration of organizations working to create a vibrant future for Spokane County.  Our goal is to foster measurable improvements in key areas of community vitality.  By focusing efforts on a few priorities associated with economic vitality, education, the environment, health and community safety, Priority Spokane aims at creating a thriving community for all who live and work here.