Target: Washington State Senate Human Services, Mental Health & Housing Committee Chair, Steve O’Ban
Goal: Support creation of host-home network to serve homeless youth.
Homelessness is becoming an epidemic in Washington State, and this includes its youth populations. With only 23 beds funded by the state in youth homeless shelters, there are simply not enough resources available to young people who are homeless. A grassroots movement is promoting the creation of a host-home program that would allow members of the community to offer their homes to homeless youths, hopefully helping to decrease the number of young people trying to survive alone on the streets. Legislation is being considered to officially establish this program with rules and regulations in place to protect and support adolescents without stable homes.
There are hundreds of youths in Washington who find themselves in the difficult position of living in unsafe or unstable homes that aren’t quite bad enough to qualify them for foster care. Many leave or are kicked out of their homes, and find themselves living on the streets. The proposed host-home program would allow members of communities to open their homes to these children, offering them a stable place to stay. To ensure the safety of the program, host families would be subject to background checks, and case managers would be assigned to each child in order to help them work toward a stable and healthy adulthood. A similar program has been operating with great success in Minneapolis since the late 1990s.
Having a safe and stable place to live is one of the most important factors in a child’s successful transition into a healthy adult. It’s unacceptable that so many youths don’t have access to such environments, and more resources need to be made available to this population. Please support homeless youth by signing the below petition to demand legislation allowing for a host-home network in Washington State.
Dear Senator O’Ban,
Youth homelessness is a large problem in Washington State, and there are simply not enough resources available to help this population. A safe and stable place to live is an essential part of a child’s ability to grow into a healthy adult, yet many youths in the state don’t have access to one. I am writing to ask that you and your committee support legislation allowing the establishment of a host-home network that would allow members of the community to volunteer their homes as safe places for homeless youth to live.
There are hundreds of youths in your state every year who find themselves in the difficult position of living in unsafe or unstable homes that aren’t bad enough to qualify them for foster care. With only 23 beds funded by the state in youth homeless shelters, many of these adolescents end up living on the street. The proposed host-home network would allow more opportunities for these homeless youths to find safety and support. Host homes would be the homes of community volunteers who would be subject to background checks before they could be part of the network. In addition, the network would assign case managers who would monitor how each child is doing, and offer services to help them move toward a healthy future. A program similar to the proposed host-home network has been operating in Minneapolis with great success since the 1990s.
Every child deserves a safe place to live and grow. As of now, Washington is vastly under-serving its youth homeless population, and it’s time that something be done. Please support these kids and improve their access to necessary resources by supporting the establishment of a host-home network.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Hernάn Piῆera