Frequently Asked Questions

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L’Arche is a pretty different place – different from many of our fast-paced lives and different from other facilities that provide services to people with disabilities. Find answers to frequently asked questions below. Don’t see the information you need? Email us at

Core members are the adults with intellectual disabilities who are a part of our community. They are called core members because they are at the core of our community, and because of the similarity to the French word “cœur”: heart. Core people are at the heart of everything we do.

People with intellectual disabilities, their life experiences, and their gifts, are diverse. But every person, with or without an intellectual disability, has something unique to offer. Here at L’Arche we recognize our need of one another.

According to the World Health Organization, an intellectual disability means a “significantly reduced ability to understand new or complex information and to learn and apply new skills (impaired intelligence). This results in a reduced ability to cope independently (impaired social functioning), and begins before adulthood, with a lasting effect on development.”

Assistants in L’Arche Spokane are trained and licensed as Home Care Aides. They support core members in daily activities and share life together. This may include everything from brushing teeth, preparing food, taking medication, getting to and from places, eating, working, and playing together, and much more. Rather than doing things  for core members, they prioritize doing things with core members, with core members leading assistants in learning and growing as people.

L’Arche Spokane is part of the L’Arche International Federation and a member of L’Arche USA. We work with these governing bodies but operate as an independent 501(c)3 non-profit organization. We have a volunteer Board of Directors as well as a staff Leadership Team. Our homes are licensed as Adult Family Homes in Washington State where we follow all local and national guidelines for service provision.

Read our section “Become a Core Member” to see who is eligible. We rarely have openings in our homes for core members as residents. If you don’t live in the Spokane area check out the L’Arche USA website to see if there is a L’Arche community near you.

L’Arche, the French word for an ark, as in Noah’s Ark, was the name given to the original home in Trosly, France that was founded in 1964. It rhymes with “marsh.”

L’Arche Spokane is an interdenominational Christian community. We welcome people of all faiths and no faith, and seek to support our individual journeys. Around the world, L’Arche communities embrace various faiths and philosophical traditions.

About 2/3 of our funding comes from Washington state Medicaid for the provision of services for people with disabilities. The other 1/3 is generously contributed by individuals, foundations, churches, and others. Donations are the reason we are able to live full, community-based lives where everyone’s needs are supported and, for many of us, dreams realized. If you would like to contribute check out our donation page.

It takes a lot of effort and patience to start a L’Arche community. Contact L’Arche USA if you’re interested in starting a L’Arche community where you live.