New Catalyst Project Aims to Be ‘Somewhere Between Emergency Shelter and Permanent Independent Housing’
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News Story by Puneet Bsanti
The Catalyst Project is Spokane’s newest emergency housing program with the number of occupants rising.
The Catalyst opened its doors on Dec. 8 and is run by Catholic Charities, a non-profit organization, said Dawn Kinder, chief stabilization officer of the Catalyst Project. The building is located in the downtown area of Spokane.
“The goal is to create a new intervention type that is somewhere between an emergency shelter and permanent independent housing,” she said.
The Catalyst offers a temporary place to stay until occupants find a more permanent place. Kinder said they offer individual bedrooms and restrooms and more independence and privacy than a shelter environment.
According to their website, there are over 600 individuals at the Thor-Freya encampment sleeping in tents without access to indoor plumbing, permanent electricity and heat.
Catholic Charities screens individuals before they get accepted into the Catalyst based on their likelihood of success in housing. While they will not turn someone away with a difficult past or who is struggling with substance abuse, there is an agreement that individuals will not use substances while on the Catalyst property.
The Catalyst also provides services to help occupants move forward to reach their “maximum potential.”
“I think it’s an amazing program,” said Julie Gracie, executive director and founder of Jewels Helping Hands, “We definitely have an increase in people experiencing homelessness. There’s never been a decrease, that’s the problem.”
The Catalyst is able to house up to 120 people on-site with a combination of single and couples housing options.
There are contracted food services that provide occupants with meals three times a day and a fully-staffed security team who patrol 24 hours a day around a secure area.
For Christmas, the Catalyst planned on-site festivities and their kitchen manager prepared a special Christmas dinner.
As of December, the Catalyst had around 24 occupants on site and Kinder said their goal is to have the building filled by the second week of January.
For more information on the project contact (509) 358-4250.
Puneet Bsanti is a senior at Washington State University, studying English and Multimedia Journalism. She will also be receiving an Editing and Publishing certificate. She writes for The Daily Evergreen, the school’s newspaper and is president of English Club. Puneet loves to write about important stories revolving around multicultural communities and wants to continue doing that after she graduates. In her free time, she enjoys reading, traveling and binge-watching TV shows.