Spokane congressional candidate goes homeless for a day - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Spokane congressional candidate goes homeless for a day

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SPOKANE, Wash. -

In less than a year, Eric Agnew will run for U.S. Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ seat in Washington’s 5th congressional district.

But before he hits the campaign trail, the Spokane professor wants to learn more about the biggest issues facing the Lilac City, including homelessness.

“I just felt as someone who is going to run for office, that I should be more equipped to handle this issue,” said Agnew. “And I thought there would be no better way than to jump into and experience homelessness for a day.”

So that’s exactly what Agnew did.

On Thursday, Agnew took to the streets with only a backpack carrying a few essential items including a hat, gloves, poncho, a cell phone, his ID, and $10.

“You don’t know what someone has been thought until you’ve walked in their shoes,” said Agnew. “And that’s why I decided to sleep outside.”

Agnew spent the day talking with homeless people at the House of Charity. He also visited health clinics and City Hall to find out what services are available to the homeless.

“I wanted to hear stories and I want to talk to folks who are living on the streets,” said Agnew. “How they got here? What can they do to get out of it? Do they even want to get out of it?”

Agnew says there are more than 300 chronically homeless people in Spokane, and even more who are temporarily homeless.

“It’s like another world inside of our own world,” said Agnew. “And it’s one we can kind of see as we’re driving by, but until you go have a conversation with them you won’t understand what they’re going through.”

Spokane has taken steps toward eliminating people from the streets. But Agnew says additional steps include creating more affordable housing, rehabilitation facilities and programs, and jobs.

Here are a list of some available resources for those struggling with homelessness in our community:

Catholic Charities

St. Margaret's Shelter

Crosswalk

Salvation Army

Union Gospel Mission

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