Homeless youth housing grant awarded to Grant, Adams counties

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MOSES LAKE — The Washington Department of Commerce has awarded a $1.15 million grant to an organization that provides support for homeless teens and young adults in Grant, Adams, Okanogan and Kittitas counties.

HopeSource, based in Ellensburg, will receive a $1,157,467 grant that’s awarded for two years, said Mark Hollandsworth, director of operations at HopeSource. The organization works with agencies in each county, and in Grant County its partner is New Hope, which provides support for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, as well as other services.

“This grant is specifically designed to benefit youth 14 to 24 (years of age),” Hollandsworth said. The goal is to find teens and young adults who are homeless, or who don’t have a secure place to live, and help them find services and support.

The money will be used to help teens and young adults find temporary accommodation while long-term housing is being worked out, Hollandsworth said, whether that’s back at home or an alternative. One of the grant’s jobs is to help kids find a long-term solution, “to specifically help with couch-surfing.” (That’s where a kid will take up temporary residence with a friend or relative for a few days or weeks.)

The “rapid re-housing” section of the grant is for people 18 to 24 years of age, since a person must be 18 to sign a lease, Hollandsworth said. Along with helping their clients find housing, the agency works with people to find alternative accommodations.

One of the alternatives, he said, is “host homes,” a program that matches volunteer families with clients that need a place to stay.

Outreach also is part of the program, getting information about the services – and the services themselves – out to kids. Agencies are working on a website that will allow teens and young adults to access the services immediately. Tapping into and supporting existing networks is also one of the goals. “We want to identify, and be there for, people who are doing that work already,” Hollandsworth said.

The program provides help with long-term planning, “help them develop stability plans,” he said.

The grant includes provisions for young people to be part of the administration. “It’s youth-led,” Hollandsworth said. Each group of counties must have an advisory board made up of young people.

Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at education@columbiabasinherald.com.

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