Our History

How It All Started

Transitions has a unique history, demonstrating the fortitude and drive of women with a mission. Transitions’ first program, Miryam’s House began in 1986, in a home owned by the Spokane Dominicans (now the Sinsinawa Dominicans). At the very start of this program nuns and formerly homeless women lived together in the same home. For a short time due to demand there were two locations, with the current South Hill location becoming the permanent home for Miryam’s House.

Sister Cathy Beckley of the Sisters of the Holy Names began walking around downtown Spokane in the late 1980’s asking women what they needed to get off the streets and stay sober. From her on-the-streets research the Women’s Hearth (originally the Women’s Drop-In Center) was created in downtown Spokane in 1991, giving women a place to feel safe and have their basic needs met while finding refuge from life on the streets. Sr. Cathy (the first recipient of the Pizelo Award) would call friends to scrounge together enough money to pay the phone bill or have a slipcover sewn for their first couch. Today, this tradition continues as volunteers teach almost 60 classes a month at this downtown location.

Not too long after, in 1993, the Dominican Sisters completed a survey of social services in Spokane and discovered a lack of housing for single-mother families. They purchased and renovated the former Spokane Children’s Home and created the Transitional Living Center (1993) and started EduCare in what was previously the infirmary. Now housing 16 women and their children, TLC is a leader in unique support for women and their children.

Catholic Sisters from the Sinsinawa Dominicans, Sisters of the Holy Names, Sisters of Providence and the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia came together in 1995 and combined these services, founding Transitions. Since that time the urgent need for job training was recognized and in 2008, the New Leaf Bakery Cafe job training program was founded under the guidance of Sr. Sheila Fitzgerald.

Safe & Affordable Housing

One of the key interventions in our work is providing access to affordable, safe housing. The Home Yard Cottages is a Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) project we developed, and with many community partners, completed in September 2018 on two acres of land next to the Transitional Living Center (TLC). This has increased our capacity to end homelessness and enhance our continuum of services.

And so from our unique history comes our unique participant centered mission and drive. Giving every woman the opportunity to find success on her journey to stability and self-sufficiency.
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