Grantee Spotlight: Lead a successful coalition to pass the Homeless Youth Prevention and Protection Act.
The Mockingbird Society, a statewide advocacy organization working to improve foster care and end youth homelessness in Washington, successfully helped pass legislation in 2015 that created clear goals for our state to end youth homelessness. Creating a statewide Office of Homeless Youth Prevention and Protection Programs to coordinate the state’s efforts, this law requires that state partners, such as the foster care and juvenile justice systems, work to prevent youth and young adults exiting state care from slipping in to homelessness. Currently, one in four youth exiting foster care experience homelessness within the first year.
The Campion Foundation supports the Mockingbird Society’s coordination of the Washington Coalition for Homeless Youth Advocacy (WACHYA), a statewide network of organizations working with homeless youth. Over the course of a year, WACHYA members developed the legislation and worked with the Governor’s office to introduce the bill at the beginning of the 2015 legislative session. With strong champions in the Senate and House of Representatives, the bill passed with overwhelming bipartisan support and was signed into law in April of 2015.
A strong coalition of partner organizations stepped in to support the bill, including fellow Campion Foundation grantees Building Changes, Columbia Legal Services and the Washington Low Income Housing Coalition. This success behind this law demonstrates the importance of strong coalitions and coordinated advocacy strategies. The momentum created by this law and focus put on the challenges of homeless youth is spurring continued community action to ensure that young people have the tools they need to become successful adults, starting with a safe and stable place to live.