SWC awarded $1.7 million for poverty reduction pilot project

For Immediate Release

Contact: Mark Mattke, CEO, mmattke@spokaneworkforce.org, 509-960-6263

Date: 6/27/19

Spokane Workforce Council awarded $1.7 million for poverty reduction pilot project at Spokane Resource Center

SPOKANE, WA: The Spokane Workforce Council (SWC) has been awarded $1.7 million as part of Governor Jay Inslee’s Economic Security for All (EcSA) initiative. EcSA grants, awarded from the Governor’s federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Statewide Activities fund, will support organizations in four communities to systematically approach the problem of poverty and design measurable poverty reduction systems, with the goal of lifting 900 households from poverty to self-sufficiency. “These grants will make a tremendous difference for these 900 families and for communities all over Washington,” Inslee said. “They will empower local areas to build sustainable models and creative partnerships to address the needs of families and others who experience poverty.”   

EcSA Spokane will build upon ongoing collaborative efforts at the brand-new Spokane Resource Center (SRC), a HUD Envision Center, located near downtown Spokane in the same building as WorkSource. Over 15 community agencies have come together to leverage resources and support the SRC. The goals of the SRC are to provide resources and support to reduce poverty; to address and prevent homelessness; to give greater access to healthcare, substance abuse, and mental health services; and to cluster many services in one place designed to help families step into self-sufficiency. “This is a great opportunity for those who are one paycheck or life crisis away from experiencing homelessness to find the necessary resources they need in one location, delivered by results-driven partnerships,” said Spokane Mayor David Condon. “The Resource Center has services that can help sustain and educate an individual as they work through a difficult time such as a divorce or a loss of employment, keeping them healthy, safe, and in their home until they are able to get back on their feet.” 

This EcSA project will serve families in West Central, Downtown, East Central, and parts of Northeast Spokane who are accessing services at the Spokane Resource Center and WorkSource campus. EcSA Spokane will create additional capacity to serve recipients of SNAP benefits in the target area, providing participant navigators and supporting coordinated holistic assessment and intensive and personalized services for SNAP recipients so that they can attain the skills and training necessary to transition into careers with a family-sustaining wage. “This grant will help us provide our community with the resources necessary to stabilize families and connect them with good paying jobs and a sound economic future,” said Spokane Workforce Council CEO Mark Mattke. “We look forward to working with our partners to align efforts and more effectively meet our community’s needs.”

Success will be measured by not only the number of families receiving SNAP benefits who move all the way up to income over 200% of the federal poverty level, but also by a net poverty reduction for their entire community by March 2022. This award is large enough to effect real change in our community and help to shape future poverty reduction efforts. Tim Probst, Director of Workforce Initiatives with the Washington State Employment Security Department, said that Spokane’s proposal is innovative and replicable. “We hope to help you prove success in your community, and then spread that success by replicating your model in other communities throughout the state in the years to come,” he said.

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Click here to read the release from the Governor’s office

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