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1. Who are the target audiences for this project/initiative? Describe who and how many this project is intended to impact, and why it is important to impact these audiences.

This year, our Street Outreach and Drop-In program will make contact with 300 or more homeless youth and young adults, ages 16-24. Many of the young people we serve are homeless due to abuse, neglect, trauma, and mental health struggles. Youth become homeless for a number of reasons. Some young people flee to the streets to escape unhealthy situations at home, while others find they have nowhere else to turn after losing their job and support structures.

It is important that we continue to help the homeless youth in our community meet their basic needs and connect to services that will support their permanent exit from homelessness. Runaway, homeless, and street youth are at an increased risk of academic failure, assault, family crisis, physical and sexual abuse, chronic mental health issues, physical illness, and commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking. In their 2017 Count Us In report, King County found 1,498 unaccompanied youth and young adults were experiencing homelessness, with a staggering 76% of these listed as unsheltered.

Situation

2. What problems or needs does the project/initiative address? Homeless youth and young adults may be unaware of the resources available to them, including services that will meet their basic needs for food and shelter. Youth and young adults experiencing homelessness are highly vulnerable and at an increased risk of sexual exploitation and trafficking. In our community, more than 500 youth fall victim to sexual exploitation and trafficking each year.2 Often, homeless youth do not trust adults, making it important for our Street Outreach workers to build trust over time with youth who are fearful or skeptical of adults. As part of the King County Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children Task Force, we rely on our Street Outreach Workers to make the initial contact with homeless youth so we can identify where sexual abuse and exploitation are present, then connect young victims to the resources they need to exit harmful situations, find safety, reengage with school, access counseling and medical services, and build stability in their lives.

Our Street Outreach Workers travel through east and north King County to seek out homeless youth in a service area that spans more than 600 square miles. We meet homeless youth wherever they are – on the streets, in parking lots and alleyways, in libraries and grocery stores, on trails, in coffee shops, and at parks. We work to create meaningful engagements, build trust, and help them meet their basic needs. Our Outreach Workers refer homeless youth to safe shelter, including our shelter in east King County, and connect them to services so they can receive case management, access medical and mental health supports, re-engage with their education, find jobs, and permanently exit homelessness.

3. How much funding are you requesting and how will it be distributed? Describe goals, objectives, major strategies, activities and their timeline.

We are requesting $10,000 in support of our Street Outreach and Drop-In program. Our three-year funding from the Federal Government recently ended, leaving a gap that we are working to fill. Support from CRY America will allow us to keep this program strong while we seek other sources of long-term funding, including a renewal of our federal support. Funds will be used to support continued outreach and Drop-In programming.

The goal for our Street Outreach and Drop-In program is to help runaway, homeless, and street youth make healthy transitions to adulthood with reduced risk of sexual exploitation and trafficking, and the skills, capacities and permanent connections they need for lifelong stability, wellbeing, and self- sufficiency;

The objectives of our Street Outreach and Drop-In program are to: * Keep youth safe and help them leave the streets;
* Assist youth in making healthy choices for better physical, social, and emotional wellbeing; and
* Build trusting relationships that support stronger permanent connections of youth with family, community, schools, and other positive social networks, reducing child sexual exploitation and trafficking.

The timeline for a young person’s engagement with our Street Outreach and Drop-In program begins with their initial contact with one of our Outreach Workers. At this time, the youth is provided with basic needs items and an outreach card with directions on how they can access safe shelter that night. It may take repeated follow-up engagements before a young person feels comfortable enough to share their story and contact information with an Outreach Worker, but once they do we track that encounter as a “meaningful engagement.” We use information gathered through meaningful engagements to identify and recommend appropriate services to each young person. Outreach Workers will then make referrals to our Drop-In center, where young people have access to the services needed to help them build safety and stability in their lives. These programs and services include safe shelter, employment and education support, counseling, healthcare services, case management, and specialized support for youth who are at risk of being (or have been) sexually assaulted or exploited.

4. At the end of the year, how will you know if you have been successful in doing this work?
Describe how you will measure and determine the degree of your success.

Our Street Outreach and Drop-In program will be considered successful when we have made contact with 300 or more runaway, homeless, and street youth and young adult. Of these young people:
* 100% will receive basic needs items and outreach cards;

* 90% will:
      * Engage with outreach workers to learn how to access safe shelter and have their basic needs met;
      * Have improved physical wellbeing because they will be able to attend to their physical health needs, including hygiene, nutrition, and first aid;
* 83% will access basic needs/hygiene facilities;

* 67% will:
      * Receive information about harm-reduction, safety planning, and potential trafficking situations to avoid
      * Receive information about their wellbeing, health, counseling, and community advocate options
      * Utilize our drop-in center for studying or job search
      * Have follow-up /repeated contacts with outreach workers;

* 33% will:
      * Resolve, or make progress toward resolving, their barriers to safe and       stable housing;
      * Have long-term physical, social, and emotional wellbeing due to repeated       engagements with outreach workers;
      * Receive engagement about available education and employment services
      * Be referred to education and employment services
      * Be referred to Drop-In services by Outreach Workers via “warm hand-off”
      * Establish trust in Outreach Workers through meaningful engagements; and
      * Have stronger permanent connections with family, community, school, or       other positive social networks after engaging in case management services       at drop-in.