As you know, homelessness is a growing crisis in Spokane and across the country. It is a complex issue resulting from a combination of socio-economic factors, lack of preventive community resources, systems failures, and family circumstances.
- Poverty alone accounts for major increase in homeless households. Spokane’s poverty rate is 19.4%, compared to 12.2% for WA State. One out of every 5.2 people in Spokane lives in poverty.
- Thousands of individuals, youth, and families are homeless in Spokane, and many more are at risk of becoming homeless due toloss of job, growing cost of living and stagnant wages, shortage of affordable housing, domestic violence, unexpected medical expenses, untreated mental illness, trauma, and addiction.
Although more resources are needed due to increased poverty and severe shortage of affordable housing- significant reductions in federal and state funding has shifted most of the obligation to Cities, Counties and local nonprofit organizations. And while local agencies are working on addressing the issue in Spokane, our community has lost hundreds of shelter beds due to reduced funding and significant service gaps persist.
There are many perspectives on how to effectively solve the housing and homelessness crisis, but we know one thing for sure. As a community we are accountable to do everything we can to ensure ALL people are treated with dignity, respect, and compassion. Every human deserves to be valued, cared for, and have their basic needs met with safe shelter, sanitary cleaning facilities, and food. Without these basic needs met, people who are struggling to find work, attend school or treatment programs, and care for their children, will continue to experience trauma, extreme poverty, and be trapped in the cycle of homelessness.
That’s where Jewels Helping Hands comes in. Julie Garcia – the founder and the “Jewel” in Jewels Helping Hands started her non-profit because she saw a need in the community. She saw people hungry, suffering from the cold Spokane winter, and in need of care and compassion. Advocating for warming centers and providing meals quickly turned into a personal mission to ensure all people have what they need to be safe, healthy, and hope for a better life. Julie often says, “if that was my loved one suffering, I hope and pray that someone would reach out and help them”.
Jewels Helping Hands focuses on partnering with existing resources and services to address key gaps experienced by people who are homeless. The team is a small group of dedicated volunteers who have donated their time and resources to provide meals, clothes, showers, and hygiene supplies across Spokane. Specific services they provide are:
- Mobile Outreach: Through Jewels mobile bus and meal programs, we have served over 55,000 meals to families and individuals over the past year. Jewels supplements meals for nonprofits and shelters whose budgets are severely strained, as well as serving food at key locations across the community each week to thousands of people.
- Shower Trailer: Health and disease prevention is a crucial component to addressing core needs for people who are homeless. Jewels acquired and updated a mobile shower trailer with four private shower units. Numerous organizations host the shower trailer in key locations every week to offer clean clothes, towels, hygiene supplies, and showers. There are very limited shower options for people who are homeless, yet it is an important public health need to reduce the spread of diseases and maintain overall health. We hear everyday from people that “having a shower is a profound blessing”, and “Now I can go to my job interview with confidence”!
- Connection to community resources, treatment programs, and shelters. At Jewels, we know the importance of collaborating with community stakeholders and resources to effectively help people navigate the challenges of accessing services. We provide direct referrals and introduction, bus passes for appointments, and accurate information about available resources based on specific needs.
Something powerful happens when basic needs are provided and people feel cared for- and we see this first hand every day. People gain hope, inspiration, feel loved and valued, and then it becomes emotionally and physically possible to identify solutions to end the cycle of their homelessness.
That’s why we are asking for your support today. To help change lives, make a difference, and give hope!
With your contribution Jewels will continue and expand mobile outreach and food delivery, upgrade and winterize shower trailer, and expand collaborations and outreach with community services.
Thank you in advance for your support. 100% of your tax-deductible contribution will be used for direct expenses including food, supplies, and outreach.
You can make an on-line donation at: https://www.paypal.com/paypalme2/jewelshh
Or mail a check to: 7819 E. Columbia Dr. Spokane, WA 99212
Thank you sincerely for donating to Jewels Helping Hands and ensuring all of our community members are supported with dignity, respect, and compassion.
Jewels Helping Hands