Screen Shot 2017 08 22 at 10.52.24 AMYAEH

Liz HernandezYAEH forum 2

 

On Thursday, March 12th, six members of the Youth Advocates Ending Homelessness (YAEH) program and two Mockingbird Youth Network Representatives presented two proposals to a group of over 80 people with an interest in helping to end youth and young adult homelessness in King County. This event’s purpose was to inform, educate, and update the group on the proposed changes to the Comprehensive Plan to Prevent and End Youth and Young Adult Homelessness by 2020 in King County. The members of YAEH gave our ideas about how to create more options for homeless youth, as well as ideas to make homelessness a rare, brief, and one-time occurrence.

In order to effectively present, we had a workshop the day before to hone our skills. It started out with a presentation going over the four C’s: choose, connect, claim, and credibility. We learned how the four C’s are relevant to our proposals and how to think more specifically so that there are no holes in our presentations. We then got into our groups and started looking over the first draft, using our new-found knowledge to make edits to our proposals.

Working with my team was really fun. Everyone had different ideas to add and we improved on our original proposal. We presented it to two groups of advisors who asked us questions to clarify our points and improve our body language. After making the last edits, we presented to everyone who had been a part of the workshop. The next day we went to the New Holly Gathering Hall and were welcomed to a large room filled with informational graphics, people, and food! Many speakers talked about the importance of ending homelessness and how they thought we could achieve this.

YAEH forumThe first group to present talked about our Host Homes proposal, in which families or community members would house a young person so they can get on their feet. They talked about how there are no host home programs in King County and why it is important to add this as a priority activity to the Comprehensive Plan to provide more alternative housing options for young people.

After that, my group went up to talk about Rapid Supportive Housing, which is a program that would provide rental assistance with supports for young people. It would also address their individual needs with wrap-around services like case management and educational or employment programs. When I speak in public, I always get really nervous, feel my heart start pounding, and my hands get cold and clammy. Luckily, I said what I needed to say, and the audience responded positively to both ideas. Now that the community has heard all of these proposals, YAEH will be invited to endorse the final version of the Priority Activities included in the Comprehensive Plan.

By nature, I care about helping others, especially when they are facing homelessness. I used to be that person who had to sleep in the shelters, find a job, and connect with my case manager to get into transitional housing. I don’t want to see others in that position and I think our proposals are important to help make youth homelessness rare, brief, and one-time.

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We welcome submissions of articles, poetry, artwork, and photography from our young readers who have experience in the foster care system and/ or homelessness. If you want to be, or have been, published in the Mockingbird Times visit www.mockingbirdsociety.org, call us at (206) 407-2134 or email us at youthprograms@ mockingbirdsociety.org. Note: Incoming letters to the editor and correspondence to youth under 18 years should be addressed to the Mockingbird Times and will be opened first by adult editorial staff.