Transitions Spokane: From the Street to the Heart

A saying Edie Rice-Sauer holds close to her heart reads “life is made up of many oatmeal moments, nothing extraordinary and yet wonderful.” This quote fuels the passion of Rice-Sauer, the Executive Director of the Transitions non-profit in Spokane, WA. Transitions is a 501(c)3 non-profit that works to end homelessness of women and children in Spokane. 

Transitions aims to provide refuge to women and their children from the harshness that is living on the streets of Spokane. 


A member of the Transitions team, Sister Cathy Beckley, went to downtown Spokane in the 1980’s and surveyed women on what was necessary in order to get off the streets and remain sober. Beckley’s research led to the opening of the Women’s Hearth in downtown Spokane in 1991. 

The organization started from nothing, and Beckley would “call friends to scrounge together enough money to pay the phone bill or have a slip cover sewn for their first couch.” There was a passion back then for the women who needed help and that passion has driven Transitions to become the successful organization that it is today. The goal is to shelter women and provide unique support


“The lives of the women we serve often move from crisis to crisis,” stated Rice-Sauer in a recent newsletter. “It is our task and yours to create a space where life’s transitions are less painful and more natural for our participants.” Transitions actualizes this task by providing different programs that aim to ease the  transitions of homeless women and their families in the Spokane area. 

Today, Transitions’ Women’s Hearth drop-in center offers women disenfranchised by poverty and homelessness safety, respect, a place to attend to hygiene needs, and holistic services to support women in realizing their power to take steps toward health, financial, and housing stability. This program provides women with community, activities, social service referrals and classes in a compassionate and supportive environment. 


The Hearth fosters nurturing relationships, encourages self-determination, and advocates for change in the systems that oppress women. During 2017, 1,523 women accessed services at the Women’s Hearth, according to the Transitions website.


“Women at the Hearth can find a safe place and not have to trade their bodies for it,” said Rice-Sauer


The services provided by Transitions are unique and effective in helping homeless women and children grow and flourish in respective communities. Transitions vows to never turn away a woman due to gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, ethnicity or disability. There is a strong sense of acceptance and hope that is spread throughout the entirety of the organization.


“So often women and families come to us lost, stuck in a fog,” said Rice-Sauer. “We at Transitions know that lost isn’t forever unforgivable, invisible or forever gone. Lost is a temporary state of being, a limited time.” 


“Help us to create a space, a home, a community where the ebbs and flows of life are more like a river and less like an avalanche,” said Rice-Sauer. 


In 2017, Transitions served 1,729 women and children. 82 women obtained housing, 23 women furthered their education, and 31 women found employment. 


Transitions mission will not be fulfilled until homelessness is ended in Spokane. Rice-Sauer ended with a siren of hope for any and all women currently facing homelessness in Spokane.


“The fog will lift. The pain is temporary. Yes, you can find a job, find a home, and depend on us,” Edie said. “God created you, and you are good.” 

To learn more about this program, please visit

Molly Gianarelli

Molly Gianarelli

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