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Turning Ideas into Impact: Explore Our Latest Projects.
NorthStar Advocates is proud to co-lead and support efforts that will expand capacity to house young people facing homelessness and provide a “no wrong door” point of support to those who experience systems of care. For our purposes, systems of care include child welfare, juvenile justice, inpatient behavioral health, and homelessness services.
Our work is a part of making Senate Bill 6560 come alive. This legislation, passed in 2018 with support from our Executive Director and other partner organizations, declares that all young people exiting systems of care will be discharged to safe housing and supportive services.
NorthStar’s current projects will also move Washington closer to a statewide system that prevents and ends youth and young adult homelessness, particularly for BIPOC youth and those who identify as LGBTQ2S+.
We anticipate that recommendations from our current projects will include policy and budget recommendations. NorthStar will advocate for these proposals during the 2023 legislative session as part of our advocacy, public policy, and capacity building efforts.
PACIFIC TOWER WORK GROUP
In 2022, the Washington state Legislature appropriated funds for concept development, design, and planning to recommend new uses for available space in the Pacific Tower Quarters buildings in Seattle. The ultimate goal of this planning process was to address current systemic gaps and prevent and end homelessness for youth and young adults. The Legislature also designated the Quarters for recovery residences, group care, transitional housing, supportive housing, or family-centered substance use disorder recovery housing.
The Department of Commerce contracted NorthStar Advocates to convene a workgroup that identified housing models and supportive services to be provided in the Quarters. These ideas and recommendations informed a report that NorthStar submitted to the Legislature. The Department of Commerce reviewed and finalized the report, which is now publicly available. There is an ongoing advocacy effort to secure state capital funding to begin the building renovation process.
This work aligns closely with NorthStar’s advocacy and capacity building priorities, following the lead of young people with lived experience and increasing available resources for them to avoid or exit homelessness. We continue to advocate for a program that offers a soft landing to young people who have the courage to enter inpatient treatment and deserve safe housing and supportive services upon discharge.
LIFELINE PILOT PROJECT
The Lifeline is intended to function as a “no-wrong-door” point of support and connections to services for qualifying youth and young adults who require assistance to overcome life challenges that could escalate into crises, or who need general mentorship and counsel.
In partnership with the state Office of Homeless Youth (OHY) and SDM Consulting, NorthStar Advocates convened a series of four meetings in the fall of 2022 to advise the framework, scope, design, and resources required to establish the Lifeline pilot project. Three of these meetings included a cross-section of stakeholders–service providers, advocates, and young people with lived experience–and one meeting included only those same young people to ensure that their voice was front and center.
Input from this design workgroup shaped the OHY’s Request for Proposals to implement the Lifeline pilot. OHY awarded SDM the contract, and there is an ongoing advocacy effort to ensure that state funding continues beyond June 2023. The Lifeline Workgroup report is still being reviewed and approved by the Department of Commerce.
We hope the Lifeline will advance NorthStar’s goals to prevent episodes of homelessness or institutional care for young people, empower them to be decision-makers in their own lives, and build the next generation of leaders to influence systems of care.
UW COLAB WEBINAR SERIES
In December 2022, NorthStar joined the UW CoLab for Community and Behavioral Health Policy webinar series on Family-Based Interventions for Child and Youth Mental Health Across the Developmental Spectrum. Executive Director Jim Theofelis, MC, LMHC, CDC presented alongside Claudia Pineda, MSW on therapeutic approaches to engaging family members in treatment for complex situations.