OLYMPIA – Gov. Jay Inslee today announced the first appointees to the new Office of Youth Prevention and Protection Programs Advisory Committee, the latest in a series of actions the governor has taken to address homelessness in Washington in the past three years.
The committee was established as a result of Inslee’s Homeless Youth Prevention and Protection Act last year to enhance statewide coordination and efforts to reduce and prevent youth homelessness.
First Lady Trudi Inslee was a leading advocate for the bipartisan bill. Sponsored by Senator Steve O’Ban and Representative Ruth Kagi, the Act puts a dedicated focus on homelessness among young adults.
Committee members will provide guidance and recommendations to the newly established Office of Homeless Youth Prevention and Protection Programs on funding, policy, and practice gaps in the state’s systems that serve homeless youth.
“Youth homelessness is a complex issue that touches many systems in every community in Washington,” Inslee said. “These appointees bring the breadth of perspective and expertise we need to tackle the growing crisis of youth homelessness in Washington state so that every young adult receives the support they need to thrive.”
“Everyone deserves to have a place to call home,” said First Lady Trudi Inslee. “In the past several years I’ve visited many organizations helping those who are homeless and have met many families and children who are battling homelessness. Service providers are stretched for resources and I’m glad of the significant investments we’ve made in Washington. We can continue to work together to alleviate this crisis in Washington.”
Homelessness has become one of the top issues for this session. Senate Democrats today announced a Bring Washington Home Act that would provide even further funding for shelter and support services.
“Homelessness has been one of the most challenging chronic issues of our time and I appreciate that legislators and local leaders want to continue our good work on this,” Inslee said.
Appointments to the Office of Youth Prevention and Protection Programs Advisory Committee include:
- Bridget Cannon, a parent advocate with Volunteers of America;
- Detective Kim Bogucki of the Seattle Police Department;
- Melinda Giovengo, Director of Youth Care;
- Sierra Phillips, youth advocate with The Mockingbird Society;
- Kris Hermanns, Director of the Pride Foundation;
- Casey Trupin, with the Raikes Foundation; and
- Katara Jordan from Columbia Legal Services.
Four additional members will be appointed to the committee by the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate.
In addition to the creation of the Office of Homeless Youth Prevention, Inslee has helped to restore and expand resources and programs for homelessness and affordable housing. In the past three years, the state has provided $240 million in investments in statewide homelessness prevention and housing.
- $125 million for the state Housing Trust Fund which helps leverage private and federal funding to build and improve affordable housing
- $58 million for Housing and Essential Needs which provides rent assistance to low-income residents
- $35 million for local governments to support emergency shelters, short-term rent assistance and transitional housing
Inslee said the focus on homelessness reinforces the importance of collaboration between state and local leaders and organizations.
“We’ve made good progress over the past three years and there is so much more we can accomplish if we work together.”