A local collaborative is working to reduce and prevent the harm of substance use disorders for families today, and future generations.
The Homeward House CORE Collaborative serves new and expectant parents with at least one child under the age of one, with low income, and with an opioid or other substance use disorder.
Led by YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish, the coalition brings together social service agencies, nonprofit organizations, government agencies and the Snohomish County community at large.
Through Homeward House (HH), families find a central source for a network of specialized wraparound services they need to conquer those challenges and build strong, healthy bonds with their children.
Anchored by Parent Ally Mentors – parents with lived experience – services include enriched parent/child visitation, assistance with basic needs, support from an infant mental health specialist, and assistance with education and employment — with the majority of services at no cost to families.
“I had a mother come to me less than 30 days clean, and the father only two weeks clean,” says Parent Ally NaTosha Manzanares. “Their daughter was with a foster family, and the mom had low self-esteem issues. They came to Homeward House. Though they were full of anxiety and uncertainty, I was able to help them see all the progress they were making. I kept telling them ‘You keep putting one foot in front of the other, until one day, you create your new normal.’”
HH CORE Collaborative partners offer services through five domains: Early Childhood Education, Post-Secondary Education and Employment, Health & Wellness, Economic Assets and Social Capital.
“The mother completed Dependency 101 and 201 classes, and was involved in infant mental health services. She just celebrated one year clean, and both are now working full-time,” Manzanares says. “She called to tell me what a huge influence I’ve been during the darkest time of her life. I am beyond proud of both of them!”
Other key Collaborative members include Housing Hope, ChildStrive, Interfaith Family Shelter, Domestic Violence Services of Snohomish County and the Law Offices of Brice & Timm.
“We know that the bond between parent and child is vital for healthy families and healthy communities,” says YWCA Regional Director Argelia Grassfield. “Homeward House is the place where moms and dads in crisis can move beyond the stigma and judgements associated with poverty and substance use disorders; here they can find specialized support that makes the difference between losing custody or becoming a stable and strong parent.”
Families served often face homelessness, generational trauma, mental illness, health disparities, stigma and institutional racism. Due to these overwhelming challenges, they are at risk for, or already involved with Child Protective Services.
“The intention of the Collaborative is to surround parents with all the supports they need, giving them the opportunity to bond with the child during this important time in their life, and for the future,” Grassfield says.