Every night, every homeless youth in Washington state has a safe place to stay and the support they need to thrive and achieve healthy adulthood.
Uniting advocates, providers and funders in Washington state to advocate for, create and implement effective policies to support homeless and at-risk youth in achieving safety and stability.
2017 WACHYA Priorities
WACHYA unanimously endorsed the Washington state Office of Homeless Youth Prevention and Protection Programs (OHY) 2016 Strategic Plan, and advocates for full implementation of its Near-Term Action Agenda. Items marked with an asterisk (*) are shared WACHYA/OHY priorities.
- Under 18 Consent to Data Collection: Allow youth under 18 to sign their own consent in order to share their personal information with the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS). This will allow our state to design more effective interventions for youth experiencing homelessness.
- Streamline and Increase Homelessness Funding: in 2019, a significant portion of the Document Recording Fee is set to sunset, resulting in a loss of more than $70 million for housing and homelessness services. We seek to eliminate this sunset, increase the fee to allow local communities to meet the growing need for these services, eliminate the requirement that 45% of the funds be spent in the private rental market, and streamline auditing requirements.
- Renew and Expand Young Adult Housing Program (YAHP): YAHP is the only state program providing rental assistance and other housing supports targeted to young adults ages 18-24 experiencing homelessness. We seek to continue funding at a minimum of $787,000 per year.
- Expand Family Reconciliation Services: Expand funding to provide robust services to families in crisis both before their teen has left home as well as to safely reunify youth with their families if they have already left.
Education and Employment
- Renew Homeless Student Stability Act budget proviso: Renew budget proviso of $4 million for the biennium, to sustain funding for in-school supports for homeless students as well as school/housing partnerships to help homeless students and their families find housing close to school.
Prevent Discharge to Homelessness from State Systems of Care
- Allow Youth to Remain In Shelters During Investigations of Child Abuse and Neglect: Amend state law so that youth ages 12-17 may remain in a shelter during investigations of child abuse and neglect, or while filing a Child In Need of Services (CHINS) petition.
- Allocate $6 million for the Washington Youth and Families Fund (WYFF): WYFF is a public/private partnership that supports innovative programs for homeless youth and families.
Prohibit Source of Income Discrimination: Prevent landlords from discriminating against individuals and families paying rent with a housing voucher, subsidy, or oher legal source of income.
Pass the Washington Fair Chance Act: Prevent employers from categorically denying people with criminal backgrounds from applying for jobs.
Create a new Department of Children, Youth, and Families: This new dpartment should include prevention and early intervention programs for youth and young adults at risk of homelessness or entering the child welfare system.