Gavin Cooley - Former CFO, City of Spokane
Serving as the CFO of the City of Spokane under five mayors over 18 years, Gavin has a unique perspective on the crisis of those experiencing homelessness in our community.
"I can feel the energy and momentum right now. People are actually coming together"
"I can feel the energy and momentum right now. People are actually coming together… so I would think that in five years of actually getting people to work with each other, we should be one of the best cities in the country. We should be a model of how to work with each other and how we conquered something without leaving others behind."
"Hope is in The Beacon to me. Patience, love, a lot of integrity. They go out of their way to do the right thing when no one's around"
"Hope is in The Beacon to me. Patience, love, a lot of integrity. They go out of their way to do the right thing when no one's around. They like the big brother that's watching over you. Watching over the homeless. It does a lot of stuff behind the scenes, man"
"It's a lot cheaper to have somebody housed than it is to have them on the street."
"I think the downtown community has learned, like the rest of us, and the logic here is pretty simple. One, it's a lot cheaper to have somebody housed than it is to have them on the street. Two, it's really a permanent solution as opposed to just about anything else we would do is clearly not."
"$96,000 per person, per year to leave someone homeless out on the street."
"It costs $96,000 per person, per year to leave someone homeless out on the street. And that's costing the agencies as well as the criminal justice system and the healthcare system. Housing with all the services is about $18,000 per person, per year. And that's rent and healthcare, wrap around support. So it just makes sense. It really does.
"It's just more costly"
"If you're in an emergency shelter or you're in transitional housing, we count you as homeless. The one big thing is, shelter is so expensive. It's hard to sustain a traditional emergency shelter. You will spend 10 times as much money if you invest in temporary solutions versus permanent solutions. It's just more costly."
"It was chaos in a sense"
"I would say that it was chaos in a sense that …individuals that are experiencing homelessness would be going to one agency and saying I need a place to stay. And that case manager would get on the phone and start calling to all the different agencies to find out where they could stay. And then that individual might move on to another agency. And that case manager's getting on the phone and making the same phone call. Now we're sharing all that. So we're able to see that this person is being supported by this agency at this step in the process."
"Our goal is to make homelessness rare, brief, and non-recurring"
"Housing people is the solution to homelessness. We know our goal is to house people. We know our goal is to make homelessness rare, brief, and non-recurring. We know our vision is that everyone will have a safe place to call home, and the decision was made that everybody has to go through this coordinated access.
"Make This a Priority Issue"
"You can't make homelessness your third most important issue, your fourth most important issue. The reality is you can only move that needle when everybody comes around and says, "We are going to make this a priority issue and we're going to work together."
"Find a Better Way"
"We were spending more than a hundred million dollars a year on the chronically homeless in downtown Houston. 10% getting 50% of the services. And so I wanted to try to find a better way."
"Humanizing The Homeless"
"We've got to start by seeing people as human beings, as sons and daughters, people who are going through life's worst moments that you and I only have nightmares about. They're having to live through it. As a Christian I say, "I need to see them as people created in God's image." And if he loved them enough to create them, he probably wants me to love them enough to help them through this time."
"A Hand Up"
"If anything, it's humbling. Everybody needs not a hand out, just a hand up."
"All In This Together"
"We've got to stop pitting one person against the other; us versus them, homeless people versus housed people. Community is what these folks need to exit this situation. It's what they need to spark some kind of hope and it's happening. It's happening all around us. What needs to happen is the city officials and the businesses need to come together and realize we have such a motivation from the community to solve this problem, we've got to start working on it together. And let's invest in our community because finding a place for these guys to exist that they will come to and use is only a win for everybody."
"Homeless People Struggling"
"The most important thing I hope people takeaway is, when you see someone who's living on the street, understand that there could be any number of reasons they are there."
Housing & Help
“Housing and Help” was formed by the Spokane Low Income Housing Consortium (SLIHC) to provide an ongoing educational web series about Spokane’s unhoused population. Produced by Corner Booth Media, the goal of this web series is to provide the community with factual information about how the unhoused population has grown to the size it is today and evidence-based solutions to reduce the number of our neighbors living on the streets.
SLIHC is the Spokane Low Income Housing Consortium. SLIHC is a membership group dedicated to everyone in Spokane County having affordable housing. SLIHC accomplishes this through education, advocacy and research at the local, state and federal level.
ABOUT SMITH-BARBIERI PROGRESSIVE FUND
The Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund is a 501(c)3 charitable foundation that believes in the Inland Northwest’s quality of life. We work to reduce poverty, broaden low cost, affordable housing, foster a powerful constituency, and spotlight our region.
ABOUT CORNER BOOTH MEDIA
At Corner Booth Media, we are professional storytellers, helping both for-profit and nonprofit organizations develop and share their authentic stories. Corner Booth Media builds strategies, creates video content and digital advertising campaigns, ultimately helping each brand reach their goals.