February 6, 2015
A Statewide Solution for a Statewide Challenge

Tricia has been honored the last two weeks to join Washington First Lady Trudi Inslee, Mockingbird Society youth advocates, Building Changes and members of the Washington Coalition for Homeless Youth Advocacy (WACHYA) as they testified before the Washington State House and Senate in support of the Homeless Youth Act. The act would create an Office of Homeless Youth Programs within the Department of Commerce to strengthen and coordinate efforts across the state to make youth homelessness rare, brief and one time.

A transcript of Tricia’s testimony is included here, but we encourage you to view the entire House proceedings to hear from the inspiring youth and providers who shared their stories.

Tricia Raikes' Testimony Before the Washington State House Early Learning & Human Services Community

Good morning Representative Kagi and members of the committee. For the record, my name is Tricia Raikes, and I want to thank you for the opportunity to speak today in support of the Homeless Youth Act. 

My husband Jeff and I are co-founders of the Raikes Foundation, which is a private philanthropy based in Seattle. Since 2011, combating youth homeless in King County has been one of our top priorities.

During that time, we have learned that young people experiencing homelessness aren’t that different from your children or mine. They are full of dreams, they have tremendous potential, and they’re in adolescence—a naturally difficult time of life for anyone. Unleashing their potential for our community requires systemic change that only happens when the public and private sectors collaborate under strong leadership and shared outcomes. 

We’ve seen this first-hand in King County, where this public/private effort: 

  • Helped fuel systems enhancements to collect and use better data; 
  • Informed a comprehensive plan to prevent and end youth homelessness in our county by 2020; and
  • Attracted almost $5 million in new funds to the cause.

The Homeless Youth Act would enable similar progress for homeless young people across our state. It would help maximize philanthropic and taxpayer dollars to make youth homelessness rare, brief and one time in all corners of Washington. Because ultimately this issue isn’t confined by city or county lines—it’s a statewide challenge that requires a statewide response.   

In closing, I’d like to thank Representative Kagi for sponsoring this important legislation and reiterate my support for it as a philanthropist interested in effective grants, as a taxpayer interested in effective government, and as a mother interested in the immeasurable potential the of today’s youth.