DVR cuts ties with contractor, leaving hundreds of disabled peop - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

DVR cuts ties with contractor, leaving hundreds of disabled people hanging in Spokane

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SPOKANE, Wash. -

The State Department of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) is a life-changing resource for hundreds of disabled people in Spokane. Finding them jobs, counseling and places to live. A big part of the agency's mission is at a standstill after DVR cut ties with one of it's major contractors without warning.

For twenty-seven years, Compass has been a one-stop shop for launching disabled and disadvantaged residents on a path to a better, independent life.

The company uses it's life coaches to walk along with their clients, some of whom have never held a job before, to make sure the transition is a success.

But now coaches, like Kim Staehali, tells KHQ that everyday that this impasse with DVR continues, more clients are hurting.

One young man Staehali was working with had just landed a job as a cashier. But after Staehali was forced to stop working with him, he backslided.

"Now he's back doing his job he had before. It's just sad to see that it all went backwards," Staehali said.

So what caused the state to pull the plug on compass's contract? Here in Spokane, and around the state.

The letter from the DVR director listed some unusual reasons. While someone had complained about violation of privacy, another strike was meeting clients at coffee houses instead of at the office. The big one, taking a client to Comic-Con in Seattle.

"I think it blindsided all of us," Robert Effored, President of Compass, says the company has done it's own internal investigation of these complaints.

"We just don't have any reason to believe they can be substantiated," Effored said.

While compass would welcome a hearing before DVR, the director's office has simply refused to sit down with them.

"When I pin him, it's 'we'll get back to you,'" Effored said.

Meantime, more and more families are being affected.

"We run the risk of losing 60-70 clients here in Spokane," Effored said.

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