Eye Contact: Art by homeless women and teens on display for Volunteers of America's fundraiser

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On an average night, Hope House shelters 36 homeless women, giving them a safe place to sleep and connecting them with case managers whose ultimate goal is to get them into permanent housing.

Hope House sheltered 322 women last year. Meaningfully, it transitioned 108 of them into permanent housing, treatment, or transitional housing, says Stephanie Neumann, Development Director for Volunteers of America of Eastern Washington and North Idaho, which operates Hope House and the Crosswalk teen shelter.

But there's always a need for more help: the shelter turns away about a dozen women every night. Those who wind up camping can be moved along by police for staying anywhere longer than 15 minutes, Neumann says.

"Sadly, the women do not have anywhere else to go," she says. "If the police see them, they are asked to keep moving. They are in danger on the streets… it’s a tough thing to witness."

To raise money for Hope House and Crosswalk, Volunteers of America will host "Eye Contact: Humanizing Homelessness," a one-night-only art exhibit featuring art by homeless women and teens in the community.

Volunteers of America is hosting an exhibit of artwork by homeless women and children to raise money for Hope House women's shelter and the Crosswalk teen shelter.
  • Volunteers of America is hosting an exhibit of artwork by homeless women and children to raise money for Hope House women's shelter and the Crosswalk teen shelter.

"There’s this mindset of homeless people as kind of the other people in our community," Neumann says. "They feel more inspired or encouraged when members like me or you say "Hi" to them and see them as a human being. It encourages them. The goal of this event is to humanize homelessness."

In addition to artwork that's been made by people experiencing homelessness in recent years, the show will feature professional artwork up for raffle, an aerial silks performance, live art, and more.

Hors d'oeuvres and dessert will be provided by the Wandering Table and Inland Pacific Kitchen, with wine by Overbluff Cellars, and Anvil Coffee.

Tickets can be found at voaspokane.org/eye-contact.

Tickets: $40 in advance; $50 at the door. Event: 6 to 9 pm, Thursday, Sept. 21 at the Terrain space in the Washington Cracker Co. Building, 304 W. Pacific Ave.

For a look at what a night at Hope House is like, watch the following video to hear from women who've stayed at the shelter and staff who work there.

"Fortunately, Hope House is housing these women. We are very blessed to have such determined case managers to help these women get off the streets and in permanent housing," Neumann says. "Fundraisers such as Eye Contact help us fund the program."