March 14, 2012: Family homelessness is a growing problem in Moscow, Idaho, according to “Poverty on the Palouse,” a 2010 fact-finding session convened by Moscow Mayor Nancy Chaney. With only two apartments available to serve the needs of 20 to 30 families requesting help each week, there is a very real need to fill this void. Family Promise, a New Jersey-based organization, has been awarded an Avista Foundation grant of $15,000 to help fund the creation of an interfaith hospitality network (IHN) to provide shelter and comprehensive services for homeless and low-income families with children in Whitman County, Wash., and Latah County, Idaho.
“The IHN brings together congregations of all denominations to provide space for overnight shelter, meals and comprehensive social services for those most vulnerable in our communities. The model is very successful across the country and here in the northwest in Spokane, Lewiston/Clarkston and Coeur d’Alene,” said Donna Watson Lawson, Family Promise regional director. “The heart of the program is the volunteers and their congregations’ facilities. They are supported by professional staff who provide case management services as well as financial services, job skills training, and ultimately independent housing referrals.”
“With fewer public resources available to help those who are homeless or low income, programs like interfaith hospitality networks bring private resources together in ways that strengthen the safety net of services people need to succeed,” said Paul Kimmell, Avista regional business manager for the Palouse area. “Working together with other community organizations, we are bridging the gaps left by funding cut-backs during these difficult economic times.”
For the first quarter of 2012, the Avista Foundation made grants totaling $144,700 to human care services, educational and community vitality organizations in our service territory in Washington, Idaho and Oregon, including $62,000 for scholarships at area universities and colleges through the Avista Scholars program.
About the Avista Foundation
The Avista Foundation, established in 2002, focuses its giving on grants that strengthen communities and enhance the quality of life for people served by Avista Utilities in eastern Washington, northern Idaho, southern Oregon and Sanders County, Montana. The foundation focuses its giving in the areas of:
- education – K-12 education particularly in the fields of science, math and technology; and higher education including scholarships,
- vulnerable and limited income populations – providing assistance to those on limited incomes and support for initiatives to reduce poverty,
- economic and cultural vitality – supporting projects that help communities and citizens to grow and prosper.
Information on the Avista Foundation is available at http://www.avistafoundation.org. The Avista Foundation is a separate, non-profit organization established by Avista Corp. The foundation does not receive funding from Avista Utilities customers through rates.
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