YouthCare is pleased to join our partners Friends of Youth and Auburn Youth Resources to share a recent evaluation of Safe Place in King County. Safe Place quickly connects runaway and homeless youth ages 12-17 to services, either by reuniting them with their family or providing them with emergency shelter. This program began in August 2011, thanks to the strong support and quick action of the King County Council (led in this effort by Councilmember Kathy Lambert) and has since grown tremendously with the support of the United Way of King County.

Thanks to generous support from The Medina Foundation and the Thomas V. Giddens Jr. Foundation, we were able to commission an independent evaluation of Safe Place in King County, conducted by Cardea Institute. They found that the Safe Place program has exceeded each of its goals, and is successfully intervening to help runaway and homeless young people access shelter, return home, or connect to other resources as needed.

Young people access Safe Place through calling a toll-free number, or by asking for help at one of the 1,800 designated Safe Place sites in King County, including all King County Library System locations and all King County Metro transit buses. Over one-quarter of the callers contacted Safe Place from a King County library or Metro bus. Recently, the entire City of Snoqualmie became a Safe Place site, displaying the recognizable yellow-and-black diamond decal on all City buildings and vehicles.

The report found that over 30% of clients contacted Safe Place before spending a night on the streets, and 86% of callers were connected with safe housing. Nearly one-third of the time, the caller was successfully reunited with their family.

We are proud of the work this program has done to strengthen our community’s safety net, extending the front doors of our homeless youth shelters and helping young people return home when that is an option. And we are proud of the unique public-private partnership that has enabled this program to work so successfully – joining businesses, government agencies, private funders, and nonprofit organizations together to make our community safer.

To learn more about the results, you can read the report here!