Pearl Jam donates concert funds to homelessness, Spokane to benefit as an "Anchor Community"

The issue of youth homelessness is growing in Washington, and nonprofits, businesses and community leaders are aligning in an effort to end it. Now, you can add Pearl Jam to that list.

On Friday, Pearl Jam announced a significant donation to the cause. They awarded a total of $600,000 to two groups dedicated to ending youth homelessness: A Way Home Washington and All Home.

That money came from the Home Shows Fund, money the band made during a series of August events, including two shows at Safeco Field.

"This is the first major donation to come out of the Home Shows Fund," says Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard. "We're ready to continue our work with All Home and A Way Home Washington to help make sure every young person in our community has a home."

During the Friday event, A Way Home Washington — a statewide movement to end youth homelessness — announced that Spokane was one of four "Anchor Communities." That means Spokane County will receive training and coaching on how to create a plan to combat youth homelessness. The plan is to end youth homelessness in those communities by 2022 and expand the initiative to 12-15 communities.

Of the money donated by Pearl Jam to end homelessness statewide, $100,000 was dedicated specifically to the Anchor Communities initiative.

Jim Theofelis, executive director of A Way Home Washington, says he hopes the state can serve as a nationwide model for ending youth homelessness.

"With this united effort, Washington sends a clear message that our intention is to prevent and end youth and adult homelessness, not just manage it," he says.

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Wilson Criscione

Wilson Criscione, born and raised in Spokane, is an Inlander staff writer covering education and social services in the Inland Northwest.