King County joins the 100-Day Challenge to tackle youth homelessness 

Shared from the DCHS Touching Base Newsletter 

King, Pierce and Spokane counties have joined together with A Way Home Washington to accelerate local efforts to prevent and end youth homelessness.

In Washington state, more than 13,000 people between the ages of 12 and 24 lack a safe, stable place to call home. The recent King County point-in-time count, released by All Home on May 31, 2017, counted a total of 1,498 unaccompanied youth and young adults homeless (up to age 25) in King County on January 27, 2017.

Called the 100-Day Challenge, each of the three regions formed teams to identify specific goals they will work to achieve over a period of 100 days. The King County 100-Day Challenge team will focus on 1) accelerating housing placements for young people experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness, and 2) reducing the number of unsheltered young people in the community on the Coordinated Entry for All (CEA) list. The challenge officially started on April 20.

The King County team is hard at work problem solving barriers to housing placements for youth. One of the problems they have identified is that transitional housing placements are taking too much time, leaving housing beds unoccupied. Housing program staff and CEA staff are working together to improve their protocols and collaboration so that young people are housed more quickly and easily.

The Schultz Family Foundation and the Raikes Foundation, two local philanthropic leaders active in and committed to addressing youth homelessness, are providing financial support for the Challenge. Rapid Results Institute (RRI) is providing coaching and support to the teams from all three regions, and facilitated a two-day workshop in April to launch the 100-Day Challenge. RRI’s past challenges around veteran and youth homelessness have shown that the limited timeframe of 100 days provides the urgency needed to identify, innovate and fuel effective approaches for communities.

Communities in the Pierce County region will use the 100 days to significantly and sustainably reduce the number of youth/young adults experiencing homelessness, with a focus on diverting young people from the criminal justice system and preventing homelessness. Spokane’s Challenge Team will work to ensure youth and young adults who have been involved with systems such as foster care, treatment facilities and juvenile justice, exit to a safe place to live and do not fall into homelessness.

The 100-Day Challenges are part of a growing national movement to prevent and end youth homelessness in America. In Austin, Cleveland and Los Angeles, similar challenges helped house 413 young people in just 100 days. A Way Home Washington has created a hashtag, #WAChallengeAccepted, and is providing updates on Twitter, Facebook and the A Way Home Washington website.

To learn more about what DCHS is doing in our community, read the most recent issue of the Touching Base Newsletter (on SharePoint).