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2024 Homeless Connect breaks records

Maurice Smith

Spokane's Jan. 25 Homeless Connect broke attendance records, said Maurice Smith of Rising River Media.

As organizers anticipated, the event surpassed the 2023 record attendance. Food staff served 2,000 people, which included 300 vendors, staff and volunteers, compared with 1,200 people served in 2022—a 42 percent increase, he estimated.

In 2019, there were just 541 people at the Homeless Connect, which Maurice said indicates the growth in homelessness in greater Spokane.

Participating agencies and service providers spread the word to homeless friends to make the 2024 Homeless Connect the largest in its 12-year history.

It was a record day for haircuts, with more than 250 provided by more than 60 cosmetology students from Spokane Community College.

In the annual Three-Court Warrant Fest, court staff recalled 103 warrants—16 by Superior Court, 20 by District Court and 67 by Municipal Court—more than double the number of warrants recalled last year.

Spokane County Superior Court Judge Szambelan said there was more engagement by people in felony warrant-status than past years.

"Reconnecting folks with the court system without an arrest on a warrant benefits everyone. We appreciated the opportunity to work with our criminal justice partners to facilitate case resolution," he said.

• Department of Licensing staff, in collaboration with the Spokane Regional Health District, saw 130 people seeking identification (ID) cards and issued 109 IDs to attendees to replace lost or stolen cards.

• There were a record number of 116 vendors and service providers offering various services.

• Breast Intentions saw about 14 clients an hour with four fitters, serving 116 folks who signed up.

• Health care providers gave more than 30 flu vaccines.

• The clothing and food banks were "cleaned out."

• Pet Services saw about 120 animals and gave thousands of dollars in spay and neuter vouchers.

Reports are that the Spokane Police Department was "bored," which is a good thing at a Homeless Connect, Maurice said, also grateful for the local elected officials who came and spent time learning more about homelessness, those experiencing it and service providers who make a difference.

Information on the Spokane Valley Connect is available at

For information, call 475-8797.

Copyright@ The Fig Tree, March 2024