Our past priority : 2015-2019

Stabilize the lives of homeless and at-risk of becoming homeless children in grades K-8 and their families in Spokane County.

By stabilizing these students now, we can prevent significant trauma to the student and to their communities in the future.

Donate Now

Once completed, jump up and down in excitement, that you have contributed to a cause that helps the entire community of Spokane.

What We Did

We recognized that a 60% increase in the number of homeless students in Spokane County over just 10 years time was a threat to the health, vitality, and well-being of our region. We realized that by preventing families from becoming homeless in the first place, we could prevent considerable trauma to children and avoid significant costs and problems for them and their communities in the future. Priority Spokane stabilized and/or housed 80% of the homeless children in K-8th participating in our 3 year pilot project in four high need schools and one middle school.  We expanded the pilot to house/stabilize homeless families with infants and children under 5 through the WIC and the Nurse Family Partnership program.  The pilot housed/stabilized 272 children and their families. Upon the pilot’s conclusion 3 years later, 95% remained so without need of further assistance. You can see the full results here.


How We Did It

Priority Spokane partnered with Eastern Washington University to conduct research on student and family homelessness (click on the link to see the groundbreaking research) and spent a year working with regional providers to develop a strategic plan.  We contracted with a community expert, Catholic Charities, to help carry out the plan.  They placed specially trained Community Health Workers (CHW) in 4 high need elementary schools and one middle school. Each school was strategically selected based on its location, number of homeless students, and other resources already available within the school.  Each CHW had access to $10,000 in flexible funding to use to stabilize/house families when other resources weren’t available. We studied and evaluated their work over 3 years. The cost of implementing the pilot project was $78,000 per school per year. Thank you to Providence, the Spokane Regional Health District, the Innovia Foundation, and Umpqua Bank for funding this work. Because of the success of the initial pilot and to reach children and families even sooner, we expanded the project to also include families with infants and children under 5 being served by the WIC and the Nurse Family Partnership program. We realized prevention is key as is prioritizing homeless children and their families for help and housing.

Where we are in our

We've found a 3-5 year system that works. Here's an infographic that shows how and where we are in determining and achieving our goals.

5 Years


Research is extremely important when finding a solution to any conflict or problem, and this priority is no different.

Our Framework

Common Agenda

Increase High School Graduation Rates

Shared Measurement: Community Dashboard
Common Mental Health & Homelessness

K-8th Grade Students






Course Completion

Mutually Reinforcing Activities



Juvenile Justice

Faith Based


Youth Development






Support Network



Early Warning Systems

Academic Support

Social Support

Extended Learning

Professional Development

Volunteer Engagement


Identify Model Practice Resources

Which schools need what? How much? When?

Conduct Ongoing Research & Program Evaluation

Monitor data over time.

Gap Analysis

The steps we’ve determined are necessary to reach our goals.

There are limited initiatives currently focusing on K-8th grade students and their families that are imminently at-risk of being homeless or are doubled up (unstably housed) with another family/friends; these families do not qualify for HUD funding or housing assistance.

By stabilizing these families, we are preventing the trauma students would experience by being homeless. We define mental health in its broadest sense, not referring solely to diagnosis and treatment of mental illness. Specifically, we are looking at preventing the chronic, traumatic stress experienced by homeless students.

How you can help

Making measurable change in our community will require community-wide action through collaboration of agencies and organizations and through individual action, such as volunteering and contributing resources.

Make a Donation

Donation Link

If you’d like to donate, visit the Innovia Foundation website:

Select the Priority Spokane Fund and note ‘Priority Spokane’ in your donation.

How it Helps & Where it Goes

The Priority Spokane Fund has been established within the Innovia Foundation our fiscal sponsor. To contribute, click on the “donate” button to your left, or copy and paste the link listed below. Select Priority Spokane Fund from the drop-down list in step 1. The Steering Committee will make decisions on the award of funds in the form of grants to non-profits and agencies working on Priority Spokane issues.

Once completed, jump up and down in excitement that you have contributed to a cause that helps the entire community of Spokane. Also, close your eyes and imagine all of the high fives and thank you’s that we’re sending your way.

Get in touch

Contact Us

We'd love to hear from you regarding any general questions, suggestions, or comments.

We're a busy group that is constantly working to reach our goals, but will get back to you at our earliest convenience.

Office Phone
(509) 499-0536
Email Address