Press Coverage

  • February 22, 2021

    Behavioral Health Funding for Washington Homeless Youth in Jeopardy

    The Imprint

    When Spokane’s Crosswalk teen shelter hired behavioral health counselor Kaitlyn Lee last year with money from a new state grant, part of her job was to shoot pool in the common room with the teenagers. Hanging around, eating lunch with the residents, or simply making herself available by sitting at the front desk is an important part of the job of a counselor...

  • February 1, 2021

    A stable life: Support widens to prevent youth homelessness in the state

    The Spokesman-Review

    Each year in Washington state, about 1,800 young adults find themselves unstably housed within a year of leaving a publicly funded system such as foster care or a criminal justice facility...

  • December 16, 2020

    How some Christmas Bureau volunteers were honored for their efforts in spite of this year’s changes

    The Spokesman-Review

    Employees at Volunteers of America are traversing the area this week dropping off gift bags with book-themed cupcakes to say thank you to their volunteers who usually staff the book tables at the Christmas Bureau.

  • November 15, 2020

    Washington State Program Aims to End Youth Homelessness in Four Counties By End of Next Year

    The Imprint

    Spokane County is one of four counties participating in Washington state’s Anchor Community Initiative, designed to help young people like Elsa.

  • October 30, 2020

    Hope House readies new shelter, supportive housing for 2021

    The Spokesman-Review

    Hope House still needs more than a few finishing touches, but Volunteers of America leaders can begin to see the emergency shelter as a future home, for more than 100 women who are homeless and the staff who will serve them.

  • October 29, 2020

    360 Coverage: Spokane VolunteerFest


    Spokane, Wash. - Spokane comes together as a community to help out with this first ever Volunteerfest.

  • February 15, 2019

    Funding secured for new women's shelter in downtown Spokane


    SPOKANE, Wash. - Women fleeing abusive relationships, struggling with addiction or mental illness have found safety for 20 years inside Hope House -- a shelter operated by Volunteers of America.

  • May 4, 2019

    Bursting at the seams: Crosswalk Teen shelter plans move to new facility, secures $1 million in first round of funding

    The Spokesman-Review

    Inside Crosswalk Teen Shelter – Spokane’s oldest emergency youth shelter – there’s a common area on the first floor no bigger than a school lunch room. It’s a space of all trades, jack of none: eat, learn, make friends, play and even sleep. Flanked by rows of hideaway beds that look like large white wardrobes, when the sun goes down, so too do the metal furniture handles near the top, revealing 18 hideaway beds. “We’re just bursting at the seams,” said Fawn Schott, president and CEO of Volunteers of America, which runs the shelter. “We have no more space.”

  • June 29, 2019

    Spokane to lose 100 shelter beds for women, children and families in July

    The Spokesman-Review

    The city had $30 million to spend on homeless and housing programs. Catholic Charities, Open Doors and Volunteers of America’s Crosswalk teen shelter were three of 24 programs that received less funding than they had previously. Twenty-one other programs received the same level of funding or more for homeless services.

  • April 12, 2015

    Housing First approach puts stable shelter at top of the list

    The Spokesman-Review

    Spokane is about to undergo a major expansion of Housing First projects. Catholic Charities will break ground on another 50-unit housing project this spring – right next door to a similar project by Volunteers of America. And those are just the first of several projects... “Our goal is by 2019 we will have a unit for every chronically homeless person in Spokane.”...

  • March 20, 2015

    Spokane volunteer uses skateboards to fight homelessness


    A lot of the force behind Crosswalk is volunteer-driven. Many of those volunteers are actually kids who used to go to Crosswalk too. One of those kids grew up to be a man who tries to be as involved in helping out the community as much as possible...

  • March 11, 2015

    Spokane conference addresses difficult topic of suicide

    The Spokesman-Reveiw

    Jenny Shea, center, a volunteer at Volunteers of America, listens to a panel discussion about preventing suicide among young people Tuesday at Gonzaga University. Shea works with older teens in the foster care system. The daylong conference included discussions about effective programs, multistate coordination and counseling techniques...

  • February 13, 2015

    Spokane program seeking homeless veterans


    A local program is having a hard time finding homeless veterans who need a helping hand. Supportive Services for Veteran Families, or SSVF, came to Spokane in October 2013 through the Goodwill, Volunteers of America and Transitions in this program...

  • February 5, 2015

    Spokane artist gives back by giving away art


    "I've been homeless," Stevenson said, "and agencies here in Spokane helped me get off the streets. This is my way of paying it forward." Stevenson said all the food he gets will be given to the Martin Lither King Community Center, Volunteers of America, and Healthcare for Homeless Veterans...

  • January 15, 2015

    Agency-Funded Scholarships Can Help Homeless Youth Finish College

    Federal Bureau of Family & Youth Services

    To help homeless youth overcome common barriers to earning their degrees, Volunteers of America of Eastern Washington & Northern Idaho awards college scholarships with an unusual level of flexiblity....

  • December 17, 2014

    Crosswalk Outreach team helps homeless kids in Spokane by hitting the streets


    For around 4 hours, 5 days a week, Meg Tapiz and her team of outreach workers hit the streets of Spokane. "This is so real" Tapiz says. She's referring to the issue of homeless kids out on the streets. "Some people assume that they are troubled high school kids and they don't realize that no, they are actually sleeping in the camp under the Monroe bridge."...

  • October 19, 2014

    Work Ready Program builds a bridge for youth employment

    Coeur d'Alene Press

    Work Ready is a Crosswalk of North Idaho program where youth are given the opportunity to experience a positive work environment with supportive mentors. "We are building a bridge that walks them across to becoming a successful employee in a productive workforce," said Punit Dave, employment advocate and community liaison for the program...

  • October 9, 2014

    Home Depot volunteers renovate home for veterans

    The Spokesman-Review

    On Tuesday, that house received a makeover thanks to the Home Depot Foundation. Part of its Celebration of Service, volunteers from Home Depot stores across the country are renovating 1,000 homes between Sept. 11 and Veterans …

  • October 1, 2014

    Spokane Stake steps up to support neighbors on a special Day of Service

    The Latter-day Sentinel

    Approximately 550 volunteers from the Spokane Stake donated time refurbishing and cleaning at local social service nonprofits--including Crosswalk and Hope House--on Sept. 13 as part of the National Day of Service. In addition to the work, volunteers visited with residents at the various sites...

  • October 8, 2014

    Volunteers of America finishes renovating home for homeless vets


    Volunteers of America teamed up with Home Depot to help renovate a house that serves homeless veterans and after three years, $39,000 and over 200 volunteers they finally added the finishing touches Wednesday. VOA uses the house for their program Rest and Recoup...

  • July 2, 2014

    Luke Baumgarten: What the Sunday Bazaar taught me about street kids

    The Inlander

    We've been told by business leaders and politicians that street kids deter commerce and pose a public nuisance. These kids, we're told, have rejected our notions of community and scoffed at our laws. Here's an alternate theory: Street kids live outside our community because we have never invited them in...

  • May 28, 2014

    A place for everyone

    The Inlander

    Despite crime statistics that showed it wasn't any more dangerous than in previous years, downtown's reputation took a beating last summer. After public pressure about crime and loitering young adults in downtown, Mayor David Condon formed a task force to address the issue by the time temperatures began to warm this year...

  • March 1, 2014

    Wacky hair, dirty clothes dissuade volunteers until they see only scared kids at Crosswalk teen shelter

    The Fig Tree

    When Bridget Cannon first began volunteering with Spokane’s Crosswalk teen shelter of Volunteers of America 20 years ago, she felt intimidated by the street kids and runaways with weird piercings, "wackadoodle" hair and bad attitudes...

  • December 12, 2013

    Gifts for organizations making a difference

    The Inlander

    It's easy to get caught up in the hustle and warm nostalgia of Christmastime, forgetting to look past the mall Santas and fake greenery to the underlying meaning of the season — giving to those who have so little. Instead of stressing over how to budget all the big-ticket items for everyone on your list, consider a gift to a nonprofit...

  • December 1, 2013

    Street kids hand out sack lunches downtown

    The Fig Tree

    One afternoon recently, eight homeless teens from the Crosswalk shelter made about 300 sack lunches with sandwiches, chips, an apple and cookies. They took the sandwiches to hand out to people at the bus plaza...

  • October 31, 2013

    Spokane announces warming center locations including Crosswalk, Hope House


    The winter needs of our community go beyond the snow and ice accumulation on our streets; we’re also deeply concerned about the needs of homeless people who may not have a way to get warm during extreme winter weather...

  • October 16, 2013

    Crosswalk North Idaho suffers big funding loss

    Coeur d'Alene Press

    Crosswalk North Idaho has lost an annual $101,000 federal grant which will seriously reduce its services to area youths. Now the number of days of operation of the drop-in center will be cut back and a 24-hour emergency shelter program for youths will be eliminated...

  • August 20, 2013

    All in the family

    The Inlander

    More children in Spokane County are being abused and neglected. But some families have managed to break the cycle...

  • July 14, 2013

    Home Depot Pours Millions of Dollars Into Housing for Veterans

    The Chronicle of Philanthropy

    Home Depot has committed more than $80-million and volunteer time from its workers to repair housing for veterans including two homes in Spokane...

  • April 30, 2013

    Planting a brighter future: Educational "gathering garden" taking route with help of Work Ready youth

    Coeur d'Alene Press

    Community Roots, a program of Kootenai Environmental Alliance, is partnering with NIC to build the garden on a neglected vacant lot on the school's property. What's considered a "brown field" now is being transformed into what will be called the "Gathering Garden." The garden site is on the east side of Hubbard Street, near the roundabout at College Drive...

  • March 2, 2013

    Getting youth ready for work: Work Ready offers training for 16 to 21-year-olds

    Coeur d'Alene Press

    Brandi Smitherman wanted to change the fate of the many teens she comes to know at Crosswalk North Idaho. Smitherman, the director of the Coeur d'Alene-based outreach program and drop-in center for at-risk youth, had grown tired of watching kids with potential turn 18, age out of the program formerly known as Project Safe Place, and have no support, resources or skills to help them find employment and become financially independent...

  • April 10, 2012

    Lisa Bliss delivers "No Failure in Trying" TEDx talk at Saint George's School


    Lisa Bliss walks on stage with a cart adorned with the local non-profits logo for Crosswalk. It looks like something you'd attach to the back of a bicycle for a long trip. She used it for a long trip, but it wasn't attached to a bicycle. She dragged the cart all the way to the summit of Mount Whitney in California, the highest summit in the United States...

  • February 27, 2012

    City of Spokane opens Hope House and Crosswalk as warming shelters tonight

    The Spokesman-Review

    The City of Spokane has activated its Homeless Warming Center program due to cold weather. The centers are not set up for lodging but provide shelter for the homeless for brief intervals during extreme cold weather...

  • January 19, 2012

    Mead woman in it for long run to raise funds for Crosswalk

    The Spokesman-Review

    In July, Bliss became the first woman and second person ever to cross Death Valley and ascend Mount Whitney completely self-supported. Bliss had something to prove – to herself and to the teens at Crosswalk. Through her run, Bliss raised $10,000 for Crosswalk’s GED fund...

  • January 19, 2012

    City boosts funds for social service grants to nonprofits

    The Spokesman-Review

    For more than a decade, Spokane’s political leaders have said they shared the goal of providing 1 percent of the city’s budget to social service agencies. For more than a decade, the city hasn’t met that goal. On Tuesday, the Spokane City Council allocated $898,000 of its $164 million 2012 general fund budget to 22 nonprofit agencies...

  • December 17, 2011

    Nurturing niche: Handing out children’s books a welcome change of pace for CEO

    The Spokesman-Review

    For 10 days each December, Marilee Roloff stands behind the neat stacks of children’s books at the Christmas Bureau, helping to give them away...

  • June 22, 2011

    Free Fall: How the safety net for homeless in Spokane is being destroyed

    The Inlander

    More weight than ever is being put on the region’s safety net, and that net shows signs of fraying. Hope House, Spokane’s only shelter for single women, had to manage with $40,000, or about 10 percent, less this year...

  • April 21, 2011

    Ex foster children rise above to enroll in college, aid others

    The Spokesman-Review

    Justin Vinge, Josephine Davis and Mariah Hottell have a lot in common. These Spokane Falls Community College students are former foster youth who are proving their detractors wrong...

  • April 1, 2011

    "Our Kids" effort celebrates fifth anniversary

    The Spokesman-Review

    Behind the event this year, as every year, are two of Spokane’s social services stalwarts: Mary Ann Murphy, executive director of Partners with Families and Children: Spokane; and Marilee Roloff, president and CEO of the regional chapter of Volunteers of America...

  • March 9, 2011

    Dropout Crisis: Why so few Spokane students make it through high school—and what's being done to help them

    The Inlander

    Josh Randall, a lanky 20-year-old with brown hair and a wispy beard, is surrounded by dropouts. He’s sitting at a table in a noisy room at Crosswalk, a teen shelter in downtown Spokane that doubles as a school for kids pursuing their GEDs...

  • February 28, 2011

    Teacher at Crosswalk Teen Shelter helps struggling students

    The Spokesman-Review

    Teacher Ken Jernberg is unflappable among the chaos at Crosswalk, a Spokane teen homeless shelter. One day last week, a few unfocused teens flitted around the shelter’s school rooms while other students bombarded Jernberg with questions or requests...

  • January 20, 2011

    Program helps young adults aging out of foster care system

    The Spokesman-Review

    For teens aging out of the foster care system, turning 18 can be frightening. Bridget Cannon, director of youth services at Volunteers of America, said, “Statistically, the majority end up homeless.”..

  • December 13, 2010

    Liberty Lake congregation brings Christmas cheer to Hope House

    The Latter-day Sentinel

    As part of a humanitarian service project, members of the Liberty Lake Ward in the Spokane Valley Stake donated clothing, quilts and hygiene items to Hope House, a shelter for homeless women downtown Spokane...

  • December 13, 2010

    Book smarts: When it comes to kids’ literary wishes, Volunteers of America has it covered

    The Spokesman-Review

    Tana Carosella, 67, stood ready behind stacks of books at the Christmas Bureau, greeting parents and asking their children’s ages and interests...

  • May 11, 2006

    Humor, tenacity all in a day’s work for Volunteers of America CEO

    The Spokesman-Review

    Lovable “Knuffle Bunny” was drying out on a tabletop, next to the wavy and waterlogged pages of “Gilbert the Great” and “The Ants Go Marching.” Yet Marilee Roloff remained surprisingly sanguine...

  • September 29, 2010

    Failing Our Kids: the human cost of dropping out


    Homeless, on the streets and down but not out, Rose found Crosswalk, which helped her get back on her feet and get her GED with honors at 21. But, life is still hard for Rose…

  • May 1, 2010

    VOA Thrift Store opens in new location

    Fig Tree

    Volunteers of America’s Thrift Store is back in business after the roof of its former store on North Atlantic collapsed under the weight of snow in the winter of 2009. It has reopened in a new location at 6206 E. Trent Ave. in Spokane Valley…

  • April 8, 2010

    Breaking cycle of poverty with teen moms


    Auctashia has been able to build a life for herself and one-year-old Athaelya. She now lives in Aston-Bleck Apartments, transitional housing for young moms run by Volunteers of America. Moms get schooling and work while they stay there.

  • December 15, 2005

    Hope House volunteer: The homeless deserve respect

    The Easterner (Eastern Washington University)

    I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth, although until quite recently I had never realized it. I was raised to believe that everyone has an equal playing field and if you work hard you can achieve anything. I wish that were true. A year ago I decided to start volunteering at a homeless shelter in downtown Spokane…

  • January 1, 2008

    VOA provides rent, support services for disabled, homeless

    The Fig Tree

    Because of support services Volunteers of America (VOA) provides in its Permanent Supportive Housing Program, Dale Briese finds landlords responsive to renting one-bedroom apartments to chronically homeless and disabled people through the program he manages…