Room One worked with a county-wide coalition on youth homelessness and consultants to help us understand the scope of youth homelessness in our county and possible steps forward. Read the executive summary here.
Would you like to know more about what we’re doing on youth homelessness? Read on.
In our weekly girls' groups and classes at Okanogan Juvenile Detention, youth regularly tell us their stories of chronic homelessness. They tell us that a lack of safe and stable housing is a primary barrier to staying sober and out of detention and that meaningful resources often cannot be founds. Our partners in schools echo the problem, they work with students every day who are living in cars or bouncing from house to house.
Yet local data on youth homelessness is scarce: Okanogan County has no overarching youth services organization and zero shelter beds for youth, half of the schools in our county do not regularly report on homeless youth; most county resources, like mental healthcare or juvenile detention, do not have the capacity to track youth after they leave services; and other efforts to measure homelessness do not include youth. To build solutions that actually worked for our young people, we knew we’d need good information.
So last summer we launched a project to gather local, state, and federal data on youth homelessness in our communities. What we learned reflected what so many youth, teachers and service providers were telling us: youth homelessness is a pervasive issue across our county, it is deeply connected to poverty, and it disproportionately affects youth of color. Connect with us anytime to see the full report! This next year, we’ll continue to work with partners across the county and state to build innovative, youth-led responses that work to ensure all youth can access their right to a safe and stable home.
Okanogan County Youth Homelessness in Numbers
Estimated number of unaccompanied homeless minors (12-18): 92
Estimated number of unaccompanied homeless young adults (18-24): 289
Shelter beds in Okanogan County for youth under 18: 0
Percentage of homeless youth who are low income: 97%
Percentage of homeless youth who identify as youth of color: 50%