The Washington State Department of Commerce’s Office of Homeless Youth has awarded $11 million to enable communities across the state to respond to more young people in need of stable housing and support. The grants boost services and resources in 30 counties, 23 of which are rural.
Shelton Family Center is getting $270,000 for Supportive Services and Outreach.
Funding was awarded through four initiatives that build Washington’s statewide system of support for young people, and ensure that no young person has to spend a single night without a safe and stable place to call home.
“Young people need to have a safe, secure place to call home which will help give them a strong foundation for their entire lives,” First Lady Trudi Inslee said. “Jay and I are dedicated to eliminating youth homelessness and these grants will allow more young people the opportunity to seek housing and support which are crucial for self-sufficiency.”
Many people think of homelessness as a uniquely urban problem. Lisa Brown, director of the Washington State Department of Commerce, emphasized that people are struggling with housing in every community, especially in areas with very limited resources to help.
“As our future leaders, teachers, and innovators, young people are our most precious asset,” Brown said. “This funding will strengthen communities throughout the state – from Asotin to Walla Walla, Grays Harbor to Okanogan and beyond – by providing an assurance of stable housing to help every young person in Washington seek their full potential,” Brown said.
Commerce received 100 applications requesting a total of more than $42 million. A range of stakeholders, including young people with lived expertise, served on review teams for grants awarded to community service providers throughout the state for a variety of programs.
The four funding initiatives include:
Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program ($4.29 million)
In July 2018, the Washington Balance of State Continuum of Care (CoC), with Commerce as the lead applicant, won over $4 million in U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Youth Homeless Demonstration Program (YHDP) funding. Washington was one of 11 CoC’s nationwide to receive funds for grants to eligible counties. The Office of Homeless Youth led a nine-month program planning process and a competitive funding process for Washington’s most rural counties.
Anchor Community Initiative ($3.7 million)
The Anchor Community Initiative, an innovative program led by Away Home Washington, aims to end youth homelessness in four target communities by 2022: Spokane, Walla Walla, Yakima, and Pierce counties. Grants to seven service providers in these communities will support interventions to drive reductions in youth and young adult homelessness.
Expansion of core shelter, housing and outreach programs ($2.57 million)
These grants expand emergency housing and rental assistance, crisis intervention services, outreach to connect homeless youth with resources and other assistance to youth and young adults in communities throughout the state.
System of Care grants ($500,000)
Washington passed an act in 2018 (SSB 6560) to ensure that unaccompanied youth leaving a public system of care – such as the child welfare, behavioral health, juvenile justice and foster care – are discharged into safe and stable housing. The Raikes Foundation and Office of Homeless Youth have partnered to fund $500,000 in projects to achieve these goals.
For more information about the Office of Homeless Youth and other programs addressing homelessness in Washington, visit www.commerce.wa.gov.