We've lifted thousands of people out of homelessness by providing emergency rent and utility assistance, expanding shelter capacity, breaking down housing barriers, and funding support services to help people stay off the street. But with many post-recession jobs paying low wages while housing costs soar out of reach, homelessness remains an urgent issue, especially for young people.
After losing his mom to ovarian cancer at age 6, Roel Williams cycled through fourteen foster families, shelters and group homes before deciding he was better off on his own. “I was always homeless or going from couch to couch,” he recalls. “I could never think about school because I was always thinking about surviving.”
Roel credits The Mockingbird Society, a United Way grantee, with helping him get back on his feet. He now lives in his own apartment with support from the Seattle YMCA and attends the Year Up education and career development program through Bellevue College. He's proud that our state extended the foster care age to 21 last year, but he knows the work of keeping kids safe and off the streets is far from done.
35% of kids exiting foster care in Washington become homeless within 12 months
22% of King County homeless youth identify as LGBTQ
67% of King County homeless youth are kids of color
Learn more about what we're doing to make homelessness rare, brief and one-time.