Guest post from Jim Theofelis, Executive Director of A Way Home Washington:
100-Day Challenges to Impact Youth & Young Adult Homelessness: Washington State Report
Earlier this year, communities in King, Pierce, and Spokane counties came together in an unprecedented effort to improve the lives of youth and young adults too often forgotten in our state. The goal: to spend 100 days accelerating and rethinking our efforts to support youth and young adults who are experiencing or are at risk of homelessness. While these 100-Day Challenges stably housed 615 young people—an impressive accomplishment in its own right—the work will continue to deliver results, thanks to the lessons learned through the hard work of these communities.
Over the summer, 100-Day Challenge teams focused on reaching, engaging, and supporting young people who face some of the toughest barriers—and they made phenomenal progress. This report provides a look at that progress, how it was achieved, and what we can do to sustain it. It also captures the incredible hard work—on top of their existing workloads—of the 100-day team members, and their recommendations going forward. We believe it will serve as a compass for future work in Washington state and across the nation. At AWHWA, through this process we were reminded of old lessons and learned several new ones that I’d like to share:
• It is critical to have a plan with clear end goals that are measurable and time-bound
• Full representation of the community is essential, especially the voices of young people
• Equity goals, a sense of urgency, and good data are key elements of a successful plan
• We must support our direct service staff members who transform the plan into relationships and
• We are stronger TOGETHER!
You can learn more by viewing a webinar we recorded recently to recap this effort.
Convening the 100-Day Challenges would not have been possible without the partnership of the Rapid Results Institute, which designed the challenges and provided coaching and mentorship to the 100-day teams, as well as the Raikes Foundation and Schultz Family Foundation. I can’t thank our partners enough for believing in our teams and our mission, and for being such fierce champions over the course of these past several months. I’d also like to express gratitude to our systems leaders and local partners, who made these results possible. Most of all, thank you to the youth and young adults who displayed resilience and courage while searching for stable housing.
The 100-Day Challenges inspire all of us to do more to support Washington’s youth. Going forward, A Way Home Washington, in partnership with the state Office of Homeless Youth and local communities, is committed to building a statewide, coordinated system that is data-informed, performance-driven, and holds youth and families at the center in preventing and ending youth and young adult homelessness. We hope you will join us. Let’s continue the momentum so all of Washington’s young people can find their way home.
Executive Director, A Way Home Washington
View the full 100-Day Challenges report here.