More Residents Turning To Local Crisis Lines For Help

SPOKANE — With money running short, bills piling up and 97,000 fewer jobs more and more people are looking for a lifeline.

The amount of resources available to help those struggling to make ends meet is wearing thin, leaving many in crisis with nowhere to turn but a telephone.

The crisis hotlines serving our area report they have seen at least a seven percent increase in the number of calls they get. Not only is the number of people picking up the phone growing but what has driven them to dial has changed as well.

Kim is a volunteer at the crisis center, and has been taking up to 40 calls an hour since she started working there over a year ago.

Often the person on the other end of the phone is calling out of desperation and in search for basic services like food, shelter and money to pay their utility bills. Many of the people calling have never been unemployed and it’s a first time experience they are having a hard time adjusting to.

Jan Fobbs is the director of Crisis Response Services and she says her biggest obstacle is keeping the 24-hour hotline staffed.

“It’s been a struggle but we have never shut First Call for Help down not even for a minute,” Dobbs said, adding that the calls are more frequent simply because more people need help.

“We are seeing a different population of people that are using are services people who have never had to look for a social service agency for assistance.”

Volunteers like Kim can put callers in touch with resources, provide them with a listening ear, even put them in touch with a mental health professional but they can’t fix their situation.

“These families don’t know what to do their power is going to be shut off, their water is going to be cut off, or there house is gong to be foreclosed on them,” she said.

It takes at least seventy five volunteers to keep the hotline running and if you want to volunteer or if you need some help you call the crisis hotline at 838-4428 or 877-678-4428.