In just a few years, much has been accomplished in King County's fight against youth homelessness. The Raikes Foundation is proud to be a contributor to these community-led efforts with support from other funders, service providers, policymakers and young people. We all recognize that our journey is not finished, but we are on our way to making youth and young adult homelessness rare, brief and a one-time occurrence. Here are some of our proudest accomplishments to-date.
WE'VE HELPED MOBILIZE FUNDERS
- We brought together a group of private and public funders—now known as the Youth Funders Group—to collaborate on making youth and young adult homelessness rare and brief.
- Almost $5 million in new public and private funds have been dedicated to prevention, data collection, and coordination since 2011.
We’ve supported the development and implementation of the Comprehensive Plan to Prevent and End Youth Homelessness
- This robust roadmap was assembled by a diverse group of more than 100 stakeholders, including homeless youth.
- We funded a full-time staff position to lead the regional work, including implementation of the Comprehensive Plan.
Our investments have contributed to greater coordination countywide, as well as to better data collection and analysis
- Through Community Sign In, every youth seeking services is now counted without duplication. Every youth engaging with a service provider is asked a common set of questions. The responses are entered into a countywide system for analysis.
- The launch of Youth Housing Connections provides more equitable access to housing. Regardless of which agency serves as their entry point, young people are prioritized for housing based on their level of vulnerability and program eligibility. Through the assessment process we are learning more about the unique needs and vulnerabilities of young people, which will allow us to better respond.
We’ve invested in efforts to drive continuous improvement
- Along with other private funders, we supported regional street outreach services to identify and serve homeless youth, and we funded a learning lab to encourage organizations to share best practices and improve the effectiveness of their outreach.
- We’ve supported efforts for our regional youth and young adult homelessness leaders to learn more about the techniques of improvement science, and how to use these techniques to enhance their ability to quickly get kids off the street and into safe housing.
We’ve invested in raising awareness and giving homeless youth a voice
- We supported Mockingbird Society’s Youth Advocates for Ending Homelessness program, which trains current and former homeless youth to speak publicly and directly with policymakers about the needs of homeless youth
- We sponsored a yearlong series in Crosscut, a local online news service, to share the personal stories of young people experiencing homelessness and to highlight the public and private efforts to serve them.
- We helped develop tools for community stakeholders to speak with a unified voice about the issue of youth and young adult homelessness and the key elements of the Comprehensive Plan.
- We’ve raised the visibility of youth and young adult homelessness at local, state, and federal levels, to increase partnerships and focus resources on the issue. Some of the audiences we’ve presented to include city, county, state and national policymakers, including the Governor and the First Lady of Washington state, the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness and other national private funders.