Local non-profits team up to plan the end of youth homelessness

Local non-profits team up to plan the end of youth homelessness

YAKIMA, Wash. -- Last year more than 2,000 youth experienced homelessness in the Yakima County which is why local non-profits are teaming up to work on a plan they say will end youth homelessness by the year 2022.

According to state numbers, 2,561 school students here in Yakima County experienced homelessness between 2016 to 2017.

Executive Director of Rod’s House Josh Jackson says last year they served around 373 homeless youth and young adults.

“We know that family conflict is primarily the common reason that young people experience homelessness, that can be very broad that might be because of trauma or abuse or neglect that’s happening at home, it might be because a young person comes out and their family doesn’t understand or doesn’t accept them," said Jackson.

To try to end that, a group of local non profits teamed up and announced the anchor community initiative.

They say it's a plan that came from Seattle, that says it'll be able to end youth homelessness here and in three other Washington communities by 2022.

Chief Operating Officer of Yakima Neighborhood Health Services Rhonda Hauff says Yakima along with Pierce, Spokane and Walla Walla counties were chosen for this program to be model communities in serving homeless youth.

“The A Way Home Washington picked us for a reason we have a disproportionately high number of homeless youth compared to the rest of the state," said Hauff.

Hauff says Yakima has a lot of great organizations working to help stop youth homelessness but having outside leaders get involved can better help provide services for the youth in the valley.

“The goal is to take out as many barriers as we can to be able to serve the youth at the point that they’re ready and the minute they say yes I want help that we’re there to serve them," said Hauff.

Some of the benefits Yakima will receive through the Anchor Community Initiative include dedicated and experienced coaching, a young adult shelter and much more.

Hauff says they are still in the beginning stages of the plan but are hoping to start setting goals and deadlines by the beginning of next year.

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