Never say never when it comes to breaking the cycle of homelessness

Aug 4, 2021

For the past five years, Loretta and Randal were caught in a vicious cycle. The more they tried to improve their lives from past bad decisions, the more they were haunted and labeled because of their past. The words…Chronic Homelessness, Criminal History, Bad Attitude, Hard to Serve, and a Waste of Time were not foreign words to them. The words were true of their lifestyle.

However, one day, this couple said enough is enough. Despite trying to change their lives and secure housing, though, those negative words left them spiraling downward to the point where they nearly gave up on finding a stable and productive future. That is until they found The Way Out Shelter – owned and operated by The Salvation Army of Spokane.

What makes The Way Out Shelter different? First, people are seen as guests and not labels. The staff looks past the decisions that led people like Loretta and Randall to homelessness. Instead, they’re treated as friends and not judged. 

Upon entering the shelter, the staff saw two people who had hurt in their eyes, a look of confusion on their faces and a distrust of individuals in their voices. Gerriann Armstrong, manager of The Way Out Shelter, sat down over a cup of coffee with Loretta and Randal and began building a relationship. She asked where they had been, where they were presently, and what they wanted to accomplish in their lives. Gerriann could tell they were sincere in their words and not just providing lip service. Half the battle of turning one’s life around is wanting to make the necessary changes.

As time progressed, both Loretta and Randal proved they wanted to move forward by working with the staff. They began seeing glimmers of hope when they received State Issued Photo IDs, Social Security Cards, and more. In addition, these two individuals took advantage of The Salvation Army’s referrals to places like the Veterans Services, Home & Community Services, and doctors that could help Loretta and Randal right where they were at in their lives.

Recently, this hard-working couple reached the pinnacle when The Salvation Army helped locate a landlord that welcomed giving people a second chance. The Salvation Army assisted with their move-in, providing such things as food, personal hygiene products and household furnishings.

As Gerriann said, “Today was a happy day, as they received permanent housing. Today, we made a difference in the lives of two people who considered themselves not worthy. Today, they are no longer homeless.  Today, was a good day!”

If you believe in the purpose of The Way Out Shelter and how it’s helping to change the lives of  homeless individuals, please consider giving a donation by visiting www.makingspokanebetter.orgINFO: 509-325-6810.

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