It’s an ambitious goal: ending youth homelessness. Even more impressive, to try and do it in 100 days.
A coalition of county and city workers and nonprofits have joined forces for a 100-day challenge to tackle youth homelessness. After a few days of brainstorming, their goal is to house 700 young people in the next few months in King, Pierce and Spokane counties.
Organizations don’t have specifics yet, but plan on releasing more progress updates in the coming month.
The Schultz Family Foundation and Raikes Foundation is providing approximately $250,000 to support the challenge.
Rapid Results Institute is running the workshop.
“There are around 200 people experiencing unsheltered homelessness around King County on any given day,” Mark Putnam of All Home said. “We can house people quickly but we can't entirely end people becoming homeless. So we just need to be ready the next time someone becomes homeless to bring them into shelter, into housing, to get them on the path to building community again, getting employed.”
Zack Zibrosky, who is not involved with the challenge but was homeless on and off for three years, says advocates should focus on more than housing.
“What’s the point of getting someone housing if they’re just going to lose it in a year again and be back on the streets,” Zibrosky said, explaining he became homeless after leaving his foster home.
“You kind of feel like you don't matter. That you're left to the last place that will take you and even that place doesn't want you, and then you end up on the streets,” Zibrosky said.
He says plans should focus on individualizing services. Zibrosky said he turned his life around after a close friend stole the car he was living in, but not all homeless youth are the same.
“Once that happens, once you’ve fallen through these cracks, it’s just really hard to do what I did: pick yourself up and say, 'I’m going to do this,'” Zibrosky said.
The 100-day challenge teams are still in the brainstorming stages, but by June organizations will post real-time information on the process they’ve made on youth homelessness by region.