Friday, Nov 27, 2015

Catholic Charities of Spokane keeps hundreds off the street

Some of you may already know that Catholic Charities of Spokane has its fingers in a little bit of everything. It’s not just an administrative building down there by the hospitals. It’s a crucial part of Spokane’s history, and it’s future. It began in 1912 as the Catholic Social Betterment League and changed its name in the 40s as more parishes became involved. Today, just like the Catholic Diocese of Spokane, the agency serves 13 counties in Eastern Washington. Catholic Charities provides low-income senior housing to our older community (and our low-income disabled community), provides food and shelter to Spokane’s homeless community, helps young, single mothers, provides childcare and helps poor men, women and families transition to a better life. You’ve probably driven by some of their senior housing units a dozen times:

  • O’Malley Apartments (99 units)
  • Fahy Gardens and Fahy West Apartments (a total of 86 units)
  • Cathedral Plaza (150 units)
  • Delaney Apartments (84 units) (Oh, and did you know there’s an old jail cell in the basement?!)
Catholic Charities also provides housing to developmentally disabled adult women at Bernadette Place (serves 12 residents), and low-income family housing to 28 families at Summit View Apartments.
Finally,if you’ve been to the Spokane Public Market, then you’ve seen the House of Charity. On average 350 people walk through the doors there to sleep, shower, do laundry, pick up mail, store their things and eat. And at night about 100 men sleep there.
A few blocks away, Catholic Charities takes care of homeless women and children at St. Margaret’s Shelter where 18 families are working to get back on their feet.
According to my calculations, that means without Catholic Charities of Spokane we’d have a least 600 more people sleeping under bridges here.
The organization has lots of other notable programs as well, including St. Anne’s Children and Family Center, counseling services and childbirth and parenting assistance.
When the Religion News Spokane site launches in a few months, I’m sure that Catholic Charities will keep this religion reporter very busy!
Tracy Simmons

About Tracy Simmons

Tracy Simmons is an award winning journalist specializing in religion reporting, digital entrepreneurship and social journalism. In her 13 years on the religion beat, Simmons has tucked a notepad in her pocket and found some of her favorite stories aboard cargo ships in New Jersey, on a police chase in Albuquerque, in dusty Texas church bell towers, on the streets of New York and in tent cities in Haiti. Simmons has worked as a multimedia journalist for newspapers across New Mexico, Texas and Connecticut. Currently she serves as the executive director of, a digital journalism start-up covering religion news and commentary in Spokane, Wash. She also writes for The Spokesman-Review and for the Religion News Service.

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