January 19th, 2022

Follow Our Journey: Storyboard

- Ryan Oelrich, Priority Spokane’s Executive Director

Priority Spokane has moved from priority to priority learning, collaborating, and continuing to swim upstream to address root causes in our mission to improve the health and wellbeing of Spokane County. We started with our first priority increasing highschool graduation rates from around 60% to over 80% but discovered students facing homelessness still weren’t graduating and that homelessness was and is a major obstacle facing our region. We focused on stabilizing homeless students and their families as part of our second priority. We developed a model to house/stabilize homeless families that housed 272 children and, after three years, kept 98% stable and housed. Through that work we learned that trauma and violence play a major role as a root cause of homelessness. For our third priority we focused on addressing trauma and preventing violence through the expansion of Peer Support- utilizing specially trained individuals with lived experience with homelessness, addiction, and mental health issues to both reach and support those currently struggling. The pandemic changed our work a bit, but we adapted and quickly worked with partners to provide free tutoring and mentoring to high need students during the pandemic. We also developed CSTEP (COVID Stress and Trauma Education Program) to help our region respond to the added trauma caused by COVID 19. We funded the creation of a Peer Support network in Spokane County to better equip and connect area Peer Specialists.

Thank you to Emma Noyes for her artistic talents in creating this storyboard.

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