Homeless Network of Yakima County
The Homeless Network of Yakima County is partnering with Rod’s House, Yakima Neighborhood Health Services, Yakima’s Bethel AME and Englewood Christian Church to open a Young Adult Extreme Winter Weather Shelter to ensure young adults ages 18-24 have a safe, warm place to sleep this winter. The shelter is planning to be opened by the end of the month as soon as monitors for the shelter are scheduled and trained.
Since May of this year, 67 unduplicated individuals 18-24 have been assessed for housing indicating an unmet need in the community. To gauge interest in a young adult specific shelter, and to assess need, Rod’s House surveyed the young adult population ages 18-24 - 84% indicated they would be interested in staying at a Young Adult Extreme Winter Weather Shelter. The majority of those surveyed were couch surfing or staying outdoors.
Young Adults 18-24 are either not willing or not appropriate to be housed in traditional shelter; making them the hidden homeless. Often times, young adults fall back on couch surfing to escape below freezing temperatures. The National Alliance to End Homelessness states “Many homeless youth and young adults have experienced significant trauma before and after becoming homeless and are particularly vulnerable, including victims of sexual trafficking and exploitation.” While couch surfing can protect young adults from the weather, it can often leave them more vulnerable to sexual exploitation and trafficking.