A New Approach to Ending Young Adult Homelessness

Last updated: July 1, 2020, at 5:23 a.m. PT

Originally published: July 11, 2017, at 12:53 p.m. PT

Snoqualmie YMCA Host Homes Specialist, Ellen Cambron, and Host Homes Program Director, Nicole Guiberteaux

Homelessness is a rising issue, affecting communities throughout King County. As the largest provider of housing for homeless young adults, and the only provider of independent living services in the County for youth aging out of foster care, the Y is uniquely positioned to help young people in need. While there is no single solution to ending homelessness, we’ve taken a unique approach to a solution for the more than 1,400 young adults counted during All Home's 2017 Count Us In who are experiencing homelessness.

Launching in June 2016, the Host Homes program connects young adults facing homelessness with caring adults who able to spare a room in their home for up to six months of short-term housing. Thanks to generous donations from donors like you, the program is expanding to all corners of King County, like Snoqualmie Valley, where fewer resources and services are available for homeless young people.

Program participants receive one-on-one support to help them find stable housing by the end of the six-month term, while host families receive intensive training on institutional discrimination, self-awareness, de-escalation tactics, and more to help host families understand what their program participants may have experienced and how best to support them in a variety of situations.

“No one gets up in the morning and decides to be homeless”

“No one gets up in the morning and decides to be homeless,” says Nicole Guiberteaux, Program Director for the Host Homes Program. “It’s something these young people are forced into because it’s safer than their current situation.”

A variety of factors lead to young people without a home, from abuse to family dysfunction, economic strain to time in the foster care system. And as rental rates continue to rise across the region, affordable housing is becoming harder to find, especially for young people without a safety net or past life experiences to help them navigate life’s storms.

While the program is still in its infancy, so far, all participants have successfully found permanent housing solutions at the end of their six-month stay. More than a dozen participants have been connected to Host Families in the last six months, and four are currently waiting for a host family match.

While program directors are actively seeking host homes, spreading the word about the program, and donations to further expand the program are equally needed.

To learn more about becoming a host, email Kim Turner at kimberlyturner@seattleymca.org.

Category: Social Services