Commerce receives over $5.2 million to help end youth homelessness in Washington


US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funding will support innovative housing programs serving youth in rural communities throughout Washington state

OLYMPIA --- The Washington Department of Commerce today reported that work by its Office of Homeless Youth will benefit from a new $5.29 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The funding through HUD’s Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program will support a wide range of programs aimed at ending youth homelessness, including rapid rehousing, permanent supportive housing, transitional housing, and host homes.

“This HUD investment in Washington is a tremendous support for our efforts to help the thousands of young people who are experiencing homelessness in communities throughout our state,” said Commerce Director Lisa Brown. “We won’t rest until every young person can go to sleep every night in the safety and security of knowing they have a home.”

“We are pleased that Washington will have more resources to help young people find and keep a safe and affordable home,” said Northwest Regional Administrator Margaret Salazar. “Our partners at the Washington Department of Commerce are committed to doing their best to serve these young people and our communities – and future – will be stronger and brighter because of it.”

“We are honored to be selected for this funding. We look forward to partnering with young people to expand efforts to prevent and end youth homelessness in Washington,” said Kim Justice, Commerce’s Office of Homeless Youth Executive Director.

Asotin, Benton, Franklin, Chelan, Douglas, Cowlitz, Kitsap, Thurston, Walla Walla, Whatcom, and Yakima counties will benefit from the state grant. Local planning processes will identify specific projects and then communities will apply for housing and services dollars to support them.

Created in 2015, the Office of Homeless Youth (OHY) prevention and protection programs leads statewide efforts to reduce and prevent homelessness for youth and young adults through five priority service areas to ensure our youth and young adults have:

Stable Housing – Every young person has a safe and healthy place to sleep.

Family Reconciliation – Families are reunited when safe and appropriate.

Permanent Connections – Youth have opportunities to establish positive, healthy relationships with adults.

Education and Employment – Youth have opportunities to advance their education or training and obtain employment.

Social and Emotional Well-Being – Youth have access to behavioral and physical health care; services nurture each youth’s strengths and abilities.

HUD partnered with youth with lived experience of homelessness to assess the applications for funding. Their assessment helped HUD ensure that applicants understood the needs and preferences of the young people they would serve.

Commerce will use the funding to address youth homelessness by tailoring support programs to their needs, including funding for housing units, wrap-around services, and housing support. The funding will also support youth-focused performance measurement and coordinated entry systems.

Over the next several months, communities will work with their youth advisory boards, child welfare agencies, and other community partners to create a comprehensive community plan to end youth homelessness.

More information about HUD and its programs is available at www.hud.gov and https://espanol.hud.gov.

Learn more about Washington’s work to end youth homelessness at the Office of Homeless Youth website.