April 9, 2021

Navigating DSHS Resources with YWCA Spokane Staff

Written by Emily Stohr, YWCA Spokane CSO Advocate

Navigating DSHS Resources with YWCA Spokane Staff

At YWCA Spokane, we provide Community Service Office Advocates (CSO) who work closely with clients receiving TANF assistance (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families). The CSO advocates help clients learn about support offered through YWCA Spokane, how to navigate TANF and other DSHS services as well as providing connections to other community resources which may include housing, furniture, utilities, and more. CSO advocates also help clients with safety planning as well as providing domestic violence education.

Meeting Needs

DSHS, which stands for the Department of Social and Health Services, offers resources to clients enrolled in state or federal benefits programming. YWCA Spokane CSO advocates are contracted to work with DSHS in supporting clients receiving TANF who have also experienced Intimate Partner Domestic Violence (IPDV) to navigate DSHS and other community resources. Below are descriptions of the services available through the YWCA Spokane and DSHS partnership along with a brief overview of what our CSO advocates can offer: 

The AREN grant helps clients remain in their current housing, “prevent utility disconnection, [and] get clients into housing that they can afford on an ongoing basis and get utilities connected.” For more information and to find a chart that details what the grant can and can’t be used for, please visit this link

DSHS offers monthly bus passes and gas vouchers that can be a huge help in decreasing barriers for clients facing transportation challenges. A client must be enrolled in DSHS services to apply for bus passes and gas vouchers. Please ask your case manager if you are eligible or call the Customer Connection phone number to speak with someone at DSHS at 1-877-501-2233.

DSHS offers state assisted child care through the Working Connections Child Care program. “Working Connections Child Care, or WCCC, is a child care subsidy program that helps families with children pay for child care to find jobs, keep their jobs, and get better jobs… All WCCC clients help pay for the cost of their child care by making a monthly copayment.” To find more information, please visit this link.

The HEN program, or Housing and Essential Needs, “provides access to essential needs items and potential rental assistance for low-income individuals who are unable to work for at least 90 days due to a physical and/or mental incapacity.” Assistance through the HEN program may include “limited rent and utility assistance, move-in costs, personal health and hygiene items, cleaning supplies and transportation assistance.” To find out more information, please visit this link

Moving Forward

Career Path is for clients receiving TANF assistance, offering on the job training support for career enhancement through six months of paid job training at non-profit or government agencies. Visit this link to learn more information about Career Path.

Clients may also pursue an education through the Spokane Community Colleges connection at DSHS. Clients receiving TANF may qualify for Workfirst funding that could help pay for tuition and books while working toward earning an associates degree. To see if you qualify and to complete the online application, visit this link

YWCA’s Essentials Lifeskills is a 12-week program offered in partnership with DSHS. The program is for women receiving TANF support who have also experienced IPDV. It is aimed at meeting the compulsory requirements of DSHS, while taking into account the special needs of IPDV survivors. Throughout the 12-week curriculum participants are guided through a process of self-discovery and personal growth aimed at removing barriers, building stability for their families and moving toward empowerment and personal fulfillment. Participants in this program are typically facing multiple barriers and these classes address the special needs that can arise at these intersections. We maintain a trauma sensitive approach to personal growth, as instructors are skilled at remaining present to the changing needs of the group. For more information about YWCA Essentials please contact Kim Choat at 509-724-6450 or your YWCA CSO Advocate.  


If you or someone you know is impacted by intimate partner domestic violence, know that confidential advocates are always available through our 24hr helpline services by calling 509-326-2255, emailing help@ywcaspokane.org, or texting 509-220-3725.

To learn more about accessing additional services through YWCA Spokane during the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit ywcaspokane.org/services. Thank you!

By: Mia Morton

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