Each night in Seattle, up to 1,000 young people are homeless or unstably housed. YouthCare serves these youth through street outreach, housing, and education and employment programs — working day and night to get them off the streets and preparing for life.
Outreach and Basic Needs
Outreach and drop-in services are based at YouthCare’s James W. Ray Orion Center, where young people can shower, wash clothes, get nutritious meals that are served three times a day, and work toward stability with case managers. YouthCare’s outreach team goes out into the community several days each week to connect with homeless youth, meet their basic needs, and encourage them to access additional services with YouthCare.
Shelter and Housing
YouthCare’s emergency shelter programs provide a safe alternative to sleeping on the streets. Our goal is to reunify families where possible, and connect young people to stable housing when returning home is not an option. YouthCare’s transitional and independent living programs focus on stabilizing homeless youth and fostering independence, and offer access to case management, chemical dependency and mental health counseling, life skills coaching, and support with education and employment goals.
Education and Employment Training
Many homeless youth arrive at our door with gaps in knowledge, or little work experience. Some arrive simply without the confidence in themselves to believe they can succeed. Our employment counselors work with youth to develop resumes and conduct mock interviews, while our employment training programs teach youth customer service skills, or construction work. Meanwhile, youth can work towards their GED or high school diploma at our on-site Interagency Academy, a partnership with Seattle Public Schools.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
Through YouthCare in 2014:
Nearly 1,400 young people accessed basic services during drop-in hours at YouthCare’s James W. Ray Orion Center, including access to showers and laundry, referrals to shelter and housing opportunities, and much more.
Volunteer teams and dedicated staff served over 30,000 meals.
572 young people found safety in our emergency shelters, including 249 in YouthCare’s Young Adult Shelter (YAS).
Nearly 2/3 of these young people exited shelter into improved housing situations.
164 young people were housed in our transitional living programs.
63% of these clients exited transitional housing into more stable housing situations.
316 youth worked towards their goals with case managers.
310 youth accessed employment training and education opportunities.
1/3 of these clients obtained unsubsidized employment or enrolled in college within 3 months of program completion.
74 responses to youth ages 12-17 in crisis were made through Safe Place.
72% of those who called in crisis were placed in a safe housing situation for the night.
YouthCare serves breakfast, lunch and dinner weekdays at the James W. Ray Orion Center. Volunteer support for meeting this basic need is critical. When a group of 5–8 community members prepares and serves a meal, the youth benefit from a good, hot meal, and the volunteers benefit from the experience. This is a great opportunity for corporate groups and community organizations to connect while performing a valuable service.