Volunteers of America has been providing life-saving services by way of shelter and housing to Spokane’s most vulnerable for decades.
Under CEO Fawn Schott’s leadership, VOA has innovated the way they approach helping people experiencing homelessness. Moving away from a solely case management-based model has allowed them to serve people more effectively. They have developed an Integrated Whole-Person Care model which focuses not only on providing shelter but also prioritizing mental health services, substance-use treatment, case management and community engagement. Instead of assigning one case manager to a person, VOA now connects a care team of individuals made up of experts in different fields to provide at risk individuals with the best care possible.
VOA also works to bring community, donors and volunteers together to lift up the people who need it most. They want to educate people about the realities of homelessness by showing that people do not have a choice in becoming homeless; every potential system that is supposed to act as a safety net has failed them. VOA focuses on building relationships and trust with the people they serve to help them escape homelessness. Even during the pandemic, their staff was out in the community, visiting shelters to show up for the people they serve.
Fawn Schott says her favorite part of the job is moving previous residents of their shelters into permanent housing and watching them experience their “front door key moment.”
An example of this innovative service to at risk individuals is Crosswalk, a licensed emergency shelter operated by Volunteers of America to serve runaway and homeless youth in Eastern Washington. In 2017, VOA established an agency fund at Innovia to provide support for important programs in the Inland Northwest, including Crosswalk. An array of professional case managers, teachers, health care workers, and chemical dependency counselors work with Crosswalk youth with the primary goal of ending their homelessness and connecting them to stabilizing and supportive services.
VOA is excited to share plans for relocating and expanding the impact of Crosswalk. To learn more about opportunities to support the Crosswalk building campaign, click the button below or contact Beth McRae, VOA Spokane Director of Development at firstname.lastname@example.org.