Homelessness in King County has reached alarming numbers.
Since declaring a state of emergency in November 2015, King County has made great strides in providing additional affordable housing and emergency support services for vulnerable populations.
The Best Starts for Kids levy includes $19 million for a Youth and Family Homelessness Prevention Initiative to support and shelter children, youth and their families at imminent risk of becoming homeless.
Providing stable homes for families and individuals is a top priority of mine. The Youth and Family Homelessness Prevention Initiative will help a parent fleeing an abusive spouse. It will help ensure that a survivor of human trafficking, or a young person who has aged out of the foster care system, or a youth who has been released from the juvenile justice system, has a place to turn when facing the likelihood of homelessness.
The Youth and Family Homelessness Prevention Initiative will provide a combination of case management services and flexible funding. Case managers will work in partnership with at-risk youth and families to address the reasons they are at risk for homelessness, co-developing strategies to increase housing stability. Importantly, this approach to case management will be client-centric. Flexible funding will help to meet client needs that may be driving housing instability such as providing help with child care expenses, rental assistance, housing deposits, etc.
We now have a roadmap to move forward and immediately begin the process of delivering these client-centered services where they are needed most, such that the family or youth will be asked, ‘What do you need so that you do not become homeless?’