There are an estimated 4.2 million youth and young adults experiencing homelessness in the US every year. In Washington, that number can reach nearly 13,000 annually. The US Department of Education, in the
For three months, a young Washington area couple slept in their car. Afraid, hungry, and with no prospects for a better life, they showed up at Cocoon House looking for a warm meal. https://www.cocoonhouse.org/
“They were afraid of what was going to happen, about what it was going to be like the next day and the day after that,” says Kit Topaz, Associate Director of Community Relations at Cocoon House. “At age 18, their families turned them out for being together, and they had nowhere to turn. They didn’t fit the high-risk categories that would prioritize them for housing.”
When youth don’t make the criteria-cut for housing, they turn to tents, cars and under bridges to find shelter. Cocoon House helped the couple find a safe place to park their vehicle. They could return to Cocoon House to do laundry, have meals, and to shower. They were taught about budgeting and coached in finding employment. They were then assisted in finding an apartment. Three months after spending their first night in the car, they had a warm bed to sleep in – life-changing.
“It is success stories like these that make our efforts so important and worthwhile,” says Topaz.
Cocoon House ensures each young person is met where they are physically and emotionally. Young people can connect with staff through Cocoon House’s programs, in schools, or on the streets.
The help offered is not just to youth. Parents are also provided with services to help keep their teen home or provide the smoothest transition possible back into the home. The agency’s goal is to ensure every child has a home and a future – one free from fear so they can grow to their full potential.
Homes with Heart
In 2021 Cocoon House launched its Connections Host Home Program. Host Homes is a nationally recognized best practice program that matches youth experiencing homelessness with volunteer hosts throughout the county. It is an alternative to shelters and provides transitional housing services in a young person’s community. By staying in their own community, they can still be part of their home school and natural supports while working to reconcile with their family or identify longer-term solutions.
“When a host home opens their door to a young person in need of short-term housing, they are providing that youth with an option to stay in a welcoming family setting and experience a safe and stable environment,” says Topaz.
For more information on Cocoon’s Host Home program and how you can make a difference by opening up your heart and home, visit: