At the Raikes Foundation, we believe youth homelessness is solvable by working together. Since 2011, we've aimed to make it a rare, brief and one-time occurrence for young people in King County. More recently, we've expanded our efforts to also help Washington state and the nation prevent and end youth homelessness. We see our role as a catalyst by bringing people together to learn what work, share promising practices and unlock resources for youth.
PREVENTION AND EARLY INTERVENTION
As a society, we're missing major opportunities - through our public schools, child welfare services, and juvenile justice system - to recognize the early warning signs of young people in crisis and connect them to supportive services. We can stem the tide of youth homelessness through enhanced prevention and early intervention efforts.
Public Schools: On average, there are 14 students experiencing homelessness in every public school across America. With the proper support, teachers and staff can help identify youth who are facing crises and connect them to the right services, such as counseling, legal assistance, or housing.
Child Welfare: The instability of being in the foster care system often leads young people directly to homelessness. With more resources and improved coordination among youth-serving agencies, child welfare can play a vital part in keeping young people from ever experiencing homelessness.
Juvenile Justice: Too many youth cycle between the juvenile justice system and homelessness. Law enforcement, probation officers, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and judges can break this cycle by linking young people to supportive services, such as housing, education, and employment opportunities.
Even one night on the streets can derail a young person's future. The faster crisis response systems can identify and match a young person with appropriate services, the sooner that young person can get back on a path toward stability. That's why we're fostering collaboration to better understand the needs of young people, align available services and develop innovative solutions.
PATHWAYS TO STABILITY
Education and employment are fundamental for long-term stability as young people exit homelessness. We're working with partners to create education and employment pathways that help homeless youth get on a positive trajectory toward adulthood.
PARTNERSHIPS AND ADVOCACY
The time to act is now. If we don't invest in our future today, we allow existing problems to grow, which only costs us more in the long run. We're partnering with public and private leaders across the nation to fund research and raise awareness of the urgency of solving youth homelessness.