From Crisis to Calm: Jamie’s Story

Last updated: August 9, 2019, at 3:36 p.m. PT

Originally published: August 6, 2019, at 2:22 p.m. PT

Homeless person sheltering under a park bench

We’re tackling the homelessness, mental illness, and other critical issues that kids and young adults face in our region. We remain largest provider of housing in King County for teens and young adults. We house about 280 young adults on any given night. 

Jamie is one of those people. Jaime, who uses they/them pronouns, was rejected by their adopted family when they came out as gender non-conforming, a term used to describe someone whose gender expression is different from conventional expectations of masculinity and femininity. 

Jaime was sent away to school in another state, not welcome to return home. Jamie was devastated. Without family support, they became desperate for money and began working in the sex industry. 

Jaime’s mental, physical, and emotional health spiraled out of control, and Jaime attempted suicide by overdosing on sleep medication in August 2017. 

Jamie was introduced to our Crisis Outreach Response System for Young Adults at a homeless shelter. Jamie had been experiencing homelessness for eight months and felt unsafe, suicidal, and triggered. 

Things were so dire that during Jaime’s first visit with an outreach worker, Jamie disclosed, “I don’t want to live past 30 years old.” 

We invited Jamie to stay at our short-term respite beds in Shoreline, where they could rest in a safe environment. 

Jaime met with Y staff weekly to build resiliency skills. During that time, Jamie’s perspective changed from being hopeless to hopeful. By the end of October 2018, Jaime moved from transitional housing into affordable housing in South King County. 

Jamie’s outlook is more positive than ever. Jaime has reduced the number of visits to the emergency room. Jamie hopes to use these personal experiences for good and plans to enroll in school to pursue a degree in social work. We are so proud of Jamie and their growth.