Impact Manager Courtney Noble spills the beans on homelessness investments

By United Way of King County, on June 11, 2014 | In Fighting Homelessness

Impact manager Courtney Noble spills the beans on what’s at the top of her pile on her desk. Get the inside scoop on the goings on inside her corner of United Way.

Courtney answers what exactly is on her desk.
My desk is a collection of photos of my naughty 3-year-old, half-finished cups of coffee, and ideas on how to torture my pool of United Way grantees. Reset all e-Cimpact passwords? Monthly reporting instead of quarterly? My diabolical to-do list is quite long. Stay on my good side, friends!

Where’d you come from?
I’ve worked at United Way for six years. I previously managed our Free Tax Preparation Campaign, during which I met hundreds of low-income clients and gained insight into their family dynamics and financial situations. Before coming to United Way, I was an attorney in San Francisco, managing large corporate acquisitions. So look out—my grant contracts are specifically enforceable and full of Latin. (Lawyer jokes! Not funny!)

What are you up to?
I manage our youth homelessness investments. I also oversee the statewide Youth at Risk of Homelessness grant we were recently awarded by the federal government.

The grant, known affectionately as the pirate YARRRRRRRH grant, involves learning more about the large number of youth exiting foster care into homelessness.

We know that in Washington, 35% of kids exiting foster care at 18 become homeless within a year. But we don’t know a lot about who these kids are, what the top predictors of homelessness are, and what’s effective in stopping their path to homelessness. With a great team of partners on the grant, including our state’s Children’s Administration, we will tackle these unknowns.

United Way invests in many programs that house homeless youth, support their academic and employment goals, and reconnect them to family. But many of these programs are already oversubscribed. Without shifting our view to who these kids are, we will never significantly reduce the number of kids in this crisis.

Why do you care?
One thing I’ve seen in all my roles here is how people can be defined by the challenges they face or the worst choices they’ve made. For kids who have faced terrible circumstances or made bad choices without the oversight of a loving caregiver, the repercussions are too often permanently devastating. Working together, we can block the paths of poverty and neglect that can lead kids to the streets.

Recent investments
United Way has made many new investments to address youth homelessness, all in alignment with great funding partners like King County, the Raikes Foundation, the Pride Foundation, the Schultz Family Foundation, Building Changes and the City of Seattle. Here are a few:

  • A partnership between Friends of Youth and YouthCare received $51,000 to create an employment program for homeless and formerly homeless young people. Program partnerships are like marriage: equal parts annoying and awesome, full of chances for misunderstanding, and requiring a lot of effort to achieve good results. Kudos to YouthCare and Friends of Youth for this collaboration.
  • The YMCA received $51,000 to establish a clear path to employment for homeless youth. The YMCA anticipates close to half of the youth served in the new program will be recruited from the LGBTQ community to address the specific employment barriers these youth may face.
  • The Northwest Network of LGBT Survivors of Abuse was awarded $10,000 to employ youth leaders in education and training sessions that will strengthen services for LGBTQ homeless and unstably housed youth across the region.
  • Auburn Youth Resources received $55,000 to launch the first-ever shelter in south King County for homeless 18- to 25-year-olds. This shelter is operational and at capacity almost every night.

I want to thank all of our partners for their tremendous work. Coming up soon is one more way to do good by kids: the All-Star Softball Classic for Homeless Youth. Join us at Safeco for a great day supporting young people.


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