Catalyst: Lowering the Barriers to Housing

In a perfect world, there would be no obstacle to any homeless youth getting off the streets.

But, we don't live in a perfect world. Young people who use drugs or alcohol, who struggle with mental health issues, or who have criminal records, among others, find the vast majority of residential programs closed to them.

There ought to be “low-barrier” programs for homeless youth everywhere. Instead, they're misunderstood, controversial, and difficult to fund. In Catalyst at Straley House, we are able to provide one of a handful of programs in the nation that specifically serve some of the most endangered of homeless youth. It is to this community's credit that, here, too, we're helping to lead the way.

Nearly all of the young men and women at Catalyst have been chronically homeless, usually meaning years on the streets. They've had little experience of care or continuity before they ended up outside everything. It's not an easy landing. Living with others can be a challenge; even suddenly having a house can be a challenge. We provide that new, sometimes unsettling thing: someone to turn to.

Catalyst receives funding from the City of Seattle, among other generous funders.