Washington Department of Commerce Office of Homeless Youth

A homeless youth asks for donations with a sign saying "homeless and hungry - please help"

Every night, thousands of homeless youth in Washington go to sleep without safety, stability, and support of a family or home. Created in 2015, the Office of Homeless Youth Prevention and Protection Programs (OHY) leads the statewide efforts to reduce and prevent homelessness for youth and young adults through five priority service areas to ensure our youth and young adults have:

Stable Housing – Every youth has a safe and healthy place to sleep at night.

Family Reconciliation – Families are reunited when safe and appropriate.

Permanent Connections  – Youth have opportunities to establish positive, healthy relationships with adults.

Education and Employment – Youth have opportunities to advance in their education or training and obtain employment.

Social and Emotional Well-Being – Youth have access  to behavioral and physical health care; services nurture each youth’s individual strengths and abilities.


We work with partners and communities to establish ongoing and future funding, policy, and best practices related to improving the lives of homeless youth in Washington.  Funding for the Office of Homeless Youth is specifically allocated to four programs, each with a targeted mission, working together to increase the well-being of youth and young adults in transition.

Contracted Youth Service Providers (Excel)

Temporary residence, assessment, referrals, and permanency planning services provided in semi-secure and secure facilities for youth ages 12 through 17 who are in conflict with their family, have run away from home, or whose health and safety is at risk.

Temporary residence, assessment, referrals, and permanency planning services for street youth under the age of 18.

Rental assistance and case management for eligible youth who have aged out of the state foster care system. Participants must be between 18 and 23 years old, have been a dependent of the state at any time during the four-month period preceding his or her 18th birthday, and meet income eligibility. Priority is given to young adults who were dependents of the state for at least one year.

Street Youth Services (SYS) connect youth under the age of 18 to services and resources through street and community-based outreach. Services can include either directly or through referral drug/alcohol abuse intervention, crisis intervention, counseling, access to emergency shelter or housing, prevention and education activities, employment skill building, advocacy, family-focused services, and follow-up support.

Emergency, temporary shelter, assessment, referrals, and permanency planning services for young adults ages 18 through 24.

Resources for rent assistance, transitional housing, and case management for young adults ages 18 through 24.

Technical Assistance

The Office of Homeless Youth provides the following guidance to Coordinated Entries (CE’s) regarding protocols for assessing, prioritizing, and referring homeless youth (under 18) and young adults (18-24) to housing resources: Five Recommendations for Making Coordinated Entry Work for Homeless Youth and Young Adults. This guidance is a tool for CE’s and homeless youth providers as they mutually work to ensure housing resources are accessible to those homeless youth and young adults who are most in need.

HOPE Center and Crisis Residential Center (CRC) programs provide temporary residence for homeless youth ages 12 through 17. The Office of Homeless Youth hosted an informational webinar on how to operate HOPE and CRC programs on April 27th, 2017. Presenters during the webinar included:

  • Division of Licensed Resources, DSHS
  • Office of Homeless Youth, Department of Commerce
  • Current HOPE/CRC services provider

A recording of the webinar plus all relevant handouts and documents can be found here.

Interagency Work Group on Youth Homelessness

The Interagency Work Group on Youth Homelessness was established pursuant to Governor Inslee’s directive 17-01 signed on January 24, 2017. The Work Group convenes state agency partners to develop shared goals, outcomes, and action plans to prevent and design system response to youth homelessness in Washington State. 

The Work Group will adopt initiatives and develop action plans for shared goals as outlined in the Governor’s directive. We are dedicated to gather public feedback on initiatives. To that end, the Work Group adopted a meeting structure to allow for every third meeting to be open to the public. The next meeting open to the public is scheduled for March 20, 2018. 

Regina McDougall 
Interagency Workgroup on Youth Homelessness 
Phone: 360-725-5067

  • Kim Justice, Office of Homeless Youth
  • Nelly Mbajah, Children’s Administration/DSHS
  • Cristi Devers, Juvenile Rehabilitation/DSHS
  • Vazaskia Crockrell, Office of Juvenile Justice/DSHS
  • David Stillman, Economic Services Administration/DSHS
  • Carla Reyes, Division of Behavior Health and Recovery/DSHS
  • Colette Jones, Health Care AuthorityMarie Bruin, Employment Security Department
  • Eleni Papadikis, Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board
  • Troy Goracke, State Board of Community and Technical Colleges
  • Michael Meotti, Student Achievement Council
  • Carri Gordon, Washington State Patrol
  • Ed Prince, Commission on African American Affairs
  • Lisa van der Lugt, Commission on Hispanic Affairs
  • Vacant, Commission on Indian Affairs
  • Nam Nguyen, Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs
  • Cara Patrick, Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction
  • George Yeannakis, Office of Public Defense
  • Dr. Carl McCurley, Administrative Office of the Courts

September 19, 2017 10am – 12pm
Washington State DSHS Building
Office Building Two (OB-2)
14th and Jefferson ST
Olympia, WA 98504

Advisory Committee

The work of the office is guided by a 12-member advisory committee composed of advocates, legislators, law enforcement, service providers, and other stakeholders. Except for legislative members, advisory committee members are appointed by the Governor.

Rep. Jake Fey (D) – 27th Legislative District
Sen. David Frockt (D) – 46th Legislative District
Sen. Mark Miloscia (R) – 30th Legislative District
Rep. Melanie Stambaugh (R) – 25th Legislative District
Vicente Acosta, parent advocate, Othello School District
Tatyana Barron, youth advocate, The Mockingbird Society
Kim Bogucki, Detective, Seattle Police Department
Bridget Cannon, parent advocate, Volunteers of America
Melinda Giovengo, Director, YouthCare
Kris Hermanns, Director, Pride Foundation
Katara Jordan, Senior Manager, Building Changes
Casey Trupin, Program Officer, Raikes Foundation

Do you Need Help?

If you or someone you know needs assistance, you can find help by using the 211 Washington Information Network.

If you are a young person who is thinking about running away or already has, you can talk to someone confidentially at the National Runaway Safeline: 1-800-RUNAWAY or 1-800-786-2929

News and Announcements

Research, Data, and Reports


Office of Homeless Youth Staff

Kim Justice
Executive Director
Phone: 360-725-5055

Cheryl Bayle
Program Manager
Phone: 360-725-2997

Cole Ketcherside
Program Manager
Phone: 360-725-5056

Regina McDougall
Interagency Workgroup on Youth Homelessness
Phone: 360-725-5067