Spokesman Review Article & Our Community Forum:

"Addressing Student Homelessness"

November 2nd, 2015

Eli Francovich, The Spokesman-Review


Some fantastic articles have been written

about our success. Here are a couple of the latest ones.

We're making news!  We were featured in the article, Spokane's Homeless Rate 33% Higher Than State Average, in the Spokesman Review on Tuesday, November 3rd.


On Tuesday, November 3rd approximately 250 community leaders and people who care came together at our Community Forum: Addressing Student Homelessness to learn about the problem, strategize, collaborate, share their ideas and network.  Thank you to all those who participated.  Let's keep the conversation going and raise awareness!  #ErasingStudentHomelessness


Priority Spokane Awards $25,000 Grant to WSU

for At Risk Young Student Early Warning System

May 12, 2015

Ryan Oelrich, Executive Director, Priority Spokane


A faculty team at Eastern Washington University has been awarded a $40,000 grant from Priority Spokane to conduct research aimed at stabilizing homelessness and improving educational outcomes for children in grades K-8.


Priority Spokane, a civic leadership group working to generate measurable improvements in community health and vitality in Spokane County, identified mental health as a top priority in its 2013 Community Needs Assessment. The study showed 29 percent of 10th graders in Spokane County felt sad or hopeless every day for two weeks or more in row.


As a result, this initiative will specifically look at the chronic, traumatic stress experienced by homeless children, or children at risk of being homeless, because it increases the chances of dropping out before high school graduation.


Through their work, EWU researchers Deanna Trella, director and assistant professor of Children’s Studies, and Timothy Hilton, associate professor of Social Work, will identify theories, best practices and interventions that could significantly help stabilize the home environment for these children. The pair has successfully worked together for over four years as co-researchers on a large-scale study of rural homelessness that has culminated in three publications.

Hilton says this project is exciting because researchers will interact with people from diverse backgrounds, including education, social work, government and impacted families.


“We will need to draw from all of their expertise, knowledge and experiences to develop viable strategies to offer meaningful supports to these families and alleviate some of the hardships associated with family homelessness,” said Hilton.


Numerous community partners have united to help Priority Spokane fund this research, including Inland Northwest Community Foundation (INWCF), Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD) and Providence Health Services.


In 2010, with guidance from Gonzaga University, Eastern and INWCF, Priority Spokane led a similar process aimed at curbing the rising number of high school dropouts in Spokane Public Schools. Those efforts – which addressed problems in the critical middle-school years – produced strategies that have helped high school graduation rates soar to 83 percent in Spokane County, a turnaround that has earned national accolades.


This latest research project headed by EWU is an important next step, as it will help identify various agencies and funding sources to implement solutions that will ultimately improve high school graduation rates of homeless students in Spokane County.


Eastern will deliver monthly project updates before a final written report is prepared and presented to the public in early fall. Supporting Dr.’s Trella and Hilton will be Children’s Studies Program Coordinator Maria Guffin, who will serve as project assistant.



Spokesman Review Article: Group representing community interests selects family trauma and violence as Spokane’s No. 1 priority to address

 Tuesday, March 27th 2018

Spokane’s priority for the next five years will be reducing family trauma and violence.


A monthslong community assessment organized by the nonprofit Priority Spokane ended Tuesday with representatives from a broad group of government, private and nonprofit organizations selecting that goal from 17 possible options.


The second slot went to increasing access to substance abuse treatment, especially with co-occurring mental illnesses. The third most popular option was increasing affordable housing. Of about 130 people attending, 117 cast a vote.

Rachel Alexander