$4.5 million in capital budget funding for the YouthCare Workforce Development Center
YouthCare’s Workforce Development Center will hold 74 units of low-income housing and three floors of education and employment programming for young people who have experienced homelessness. To make this project a reality, YouthCare must raise $10.2 million by the fall of 2022 to cover the capital costs and start development of the Broadway & Pine building on schedule in Winter 2022. Of this amount, we are requesting $4.5 million from the state legislature.
Improve support & compensation for frontline workers
YouthCare’s staff, and homeless providers throughout the state, work around the clock to support our neighbors experiencing homelessness. Over the past two years, they have continued to show up through a pandemic, housing and behavioral health crises, and extreme weather. We owe it to our staff to not only provide livable wages, but also adequate supports to not only ensure they can stay in the field, but can also live healthy, thriving lives themselves. Advocacy efforts will focus on measures to increase funding and supports for our state provider workforce. This is a priority led the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance.
Ensure exits to safe & stable housing from publicly funded systems of care
SB 6560, (2018) prohibited any young person discharged from a public system of care (child welfare, juvenile justice, inpatient behavioral health) from exiting into homelessness. This priority would continue implementation of SB 6560 by creating a state level rapid response team to proactively plan for young people with complex housing challenges, allocate funding to meet direct needs of young people as they exit, and fund organizations and models with innovative approaches to preventing youth and young adult homelessness among those exiting systems. This is a priority led by the Washington Coalition for Homeless Youth Advocacy (WACHYA).
Expand behavioral health access in homeless youth shelters
The COVID-19 pandemic has compounded behavioral health needs across our state and, in particular, for young people experiencing homelessness. Suicides rates for minors in King County have spiked and the Washington State Department of Health has projected three million Washingtonians will experience clinically significant behavioral health symptoms due to the pandemic. Behavioral health resources for young people were severely underfunded before the pandemic—they are all the more critical now. This item would seek to add $1.2 million in FY 2023 to expand behavioral health capacity in under-18 youth shelter across the state, funded through the Office of Homeless Youth. This funding would allow YouthCare to continue offering this service and ensure that youth seeking care through other shelters have similar opportunities. This is a priority led by the Washington Coalition for Homeless Youth Advocacy (WACHYA).