My Y Story: From Car Camping to Independent Living

Last updated: July 1, 2020, at 5:08 a.m. PT

Originally published: December 16, 2016, at 3:24 p.m. PT

Shawn is a former resident of the Social Impact Center McGrath House, which is part of our Transitional Housing Program. Shawn was referred to the McGrath House through the Youth Housing Connections (YHC) central referral system for King County. He was a resident at McGrath for about 14 months.

He was living in his car when he was referred to our program. He was working 40 hours per week at an auto lube company, but was having an extremely difficult time securing housing due to poor credit and having no rental history.

Shawn had some money saved up, but not enough to pay for the high move in costs that most open apartments require. When Shawn learned about McGrath, he quickly set up a tour of the house, paid his deposit and first month’s program fees and moved into his room at McGrath. He was appreciative of the opportunity to have a home, and developed a plan to move out on his own as soon as he was ready. Shawn met with Y staff to discuss his plan and through this process he decided that he could take on a second part-time job. Within a week he had secured a flower delivery job.

He became a role model to other residents in the program as he went to work every day, paid his rent on time each month and maintained a calm cool demeanor at all times. Shawn would often talk with other residents about staying positive and taking advantage of what the YMCA’s Transitional Housing Program can provide.

Although Shawn was doing well and had several months left to move out before he graduated from the program, he decided that he was ready to live on his own. Shawn secured his own apartment with two roommates in Oregon and received a transfer in his job. Shawn moved out of the McGrath House in February 2016 and is confident that he can maintain full independence.