Homeless youth with substance abuse problems will have a place in King County to get help beginning this month.
In coming weeks, 24 young adults who qualify will get shelter in Auburn. The Phoenix Rising program provides more than housing, however.
“We want to give them an opportunity to learn some job skills and some social skills, basic sort of life skills,” says Ken Taylor, CEO of Valley Cities mental health treatment. The nonprofit organization provides mental health and substance abuse treatment.
Phoenix Rising is Valley Cities’ newest program and is directed at youth ages 18-25. The housing portion of the facility is complete. By fall, the space will also include Recovery Café, where young people can get free meals and training to get a food handling permit so they can find work.
Taylor says the idea is to make it as easy as possible for young adults to get the help they need.
“We try to incorporate the best elements that we’ve seen from other programs and other providers and jam it all under one roof,” he says. “It is as close to a one-stop shop that we can think of.”
At least 200 young adults have applied for services and housing. But officials say the demand is even greater. At last count, there were more than 800 homeless youth in King County. Many of them come out of foster homes and are looking for work. Often they identify as lesbian, gay or transgender.