‘Long time coming’: First set of people living at Camp Hope move into Catalyst Housing Project

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SPOKANE, Wash. — Thursday was a big day for Catholic Charities’ Catalyst Housing Project in the West Hills neighborhood. The first set of people from Camp Hope moved into the former hotel on Sunset Boulevard.

As of Wednesday, the Empire Health Foundation reported 416 people are living at Camp Hope. Four people moved out of the encampment near I-90 and more are expected to move in Friday and next week.

“We’re super excited. It’s been a long time coming to not only be able to bring folks in but to also see this building kind of come to life, and so the team is excited we’re here and we’ll be moving folks in until we’re full,” Catholic Charities Eastern Washington chief stabilization officer Dawn Kinder said.

Kinder says they’re almost fully booked next week to fill the fourth and fifth floors. As soon as people are settled in, staff are there to help people get back on their feet.

Care coordinators and peer support engage in a personal service plan, which includes needs, goals and other aspects people wish to work on, along with long-term goals as well.

“Those short term goals are really about getting people stabilized get some of their healthcare needs, their personal goals set, and then really working with them on stability so we can help them get into permanent housing at other locations throughout the community,” Kinder said.

Behavioral health specialists will do one-on-one mental health and substance use disorder workshops. Kinder says Catholic Charities is in the process of adding a gym where people can work out or meditate.

The Catalyst Housing Project drew backlash from some West Hills neighbors. But Kinder believes with time they’ll change the minds of those who still have concerns.

“I think as folks learn about how service and rich the environment is, how seriously we take safety at all of our properties not just here. Those fears will calm down,” Kinder said.

Only people living at the facility will be allowed in. The former hotel has 100 beds available and does accept couples and adult families.

A safety team of nine people are on site 24/7. Catholic Charities installed a butterfly system that people have to go through before entering the building. The system recognizes faces and people who live there will be buzzed in.

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