Jan 23rd Bridge Coalition Meeting Notes: 

Opening Comments (Jim): 

  • Focusing on return to community: safe housing, relationships, and supporting their interests and passions
  • Working out logistics with Zoom and Calendar Invites
  • A brief description of an “etch a sketch”
  • Formal Introductions were done

The Bridge Scope and Vision (Jim in place of Vy): 

    • High rate of return to homelessness for young people exiting inpatient care
    • Cross-system information sharing and training
    • Developing Return To Community Plan
  • Developing opportunities for systems reform
  • Respect encouraged in this space

Training Session:

Jim gave an in-depth legislative overview regarding HB1929, The Bridge Residential. HB 1929 will create two transitional living facilities (up to 90 days) for young adults aged 18-24 who are transitioning out of behavioral health inpatient facilities. If passed, there will be one on each side of the state. These programs will be an extension of the philosophy that drives this coalition, a safe, stable, and thoughtful “return to community”.

HB 1929 was first heard in the House Health Care & Wellness Committee on January 16th Jim, Vy, MJ, and Sarah testified on behalf of NorthStar Advocates. Additional testimonies included a representative from The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAM)I, Scott Swan from Molina, a representative from the Tribes, and two individuals with lived experience all testified on behalf of the bill.

There were 2 recommendations for amendments. The first being the addition of the word Tribe to be included in the areas that mention eligible organizations, and the second recommendation is to ensure that the word voluntary is included for admissions to the program. Jim discussed how there was no action taken during the Jan 19th hearing due to the amendments and budget adjustments.

Jim shared updates regarding the licensing questions and concerns that were raised regarding the term “residential”. Both the Health Care Authority (HCA) and the Department of Health (DOH) agreed that the Bridge Residential is not a formal Residential Treatment Program (RTF) and therefore does not require any type of licensure. Both agencies are supportive of this new type of program for the State of Washington.

Agency Spotlight:

This meetings agency spotlight was NorthStar Advocates new website. Sarah showed the committee members the new website design and went over in detail the Calendar system, the Bridge Coalition Training technology that will be linked to YouTube, the blog/news and announcements elements, and she showcased the new resource directory that has been designed to further the Bridge’s Coalition work of ensuring no young person is discharged into homelessness. The resource directory has 7 areas of focus: Housing, Food & Necessities, Education, Employment, Behavioral Health, Life Enrichment, and Peer Support. The website is still being finalized and will be completed before the next Bridge Coalition Meeting.

Comments & Discussions:

  • Peer Support for the Bridge Residential was discussed,
  • The request for Housing Providers who may be interested in being the first Bridge Residential was discussed,
  • NorthWest Youth Services showed interest in learning more and being a Bridge Location in the future,
  • The request for support for an initiative for rental assistance for recovery-based housing for young adults was made.

Closing comments:  

  • Jim mentioned emailing a NorthStar Advocate directly to receive a stipend if you identify as person with lived experience who is not being compensated by another organization,
  • Jim made it clear that the age limit for lived experience does not stop at 25,
  • Jim discussed the fact that NorthStar will be focusing on strengthening and working with Youth Advisory Boards YAB’s across the state rather than NorthStar starting their own.
Sarah Spier
Author: Sarah Spier