ROOTS Young Adult Shelter, which has been running for the last 20 years in the U-District and currently has 45 beds, recently received a $1.5 million grant from the city to fund its move to Greek Row.
After 16 months of searching for a new safe haven, the landlord of the old Alpha Epsilon Pi frat house on 19th and 45th reached out to ROOTS (rising out of the shadows) about the space for sale. Some public funding from King County and private donations saved ROOTS from closure and allowed it to acquire the new property.
The emergency shelter serves people aged 18 to 25 and provides them with resources like breakfast and dinner while also connecting them with mental health services.
With the $1.5 million grant from the City of Seattle, ROOTS can pay off the majority of the house as well as upgrade the facility with an elevator, extra hygiene resources, and day services, according to ROOTS executive director Jerred Clouse.
“We have a crisis right now and there are not enough solutions on where [homeless youth are] going to be long term,” Clouse said.
This is not the first time that ROOTS has been the beneficiary of grants, including money in 2011 from the Raynier Foundation that allowed the shelter to go from 23 beds to 45.
The city grant is set to allow the new shelter to open fall 2020, according to ROOTS publicist Amanda Bedell.
Clouse, who began working at ROOTS in November, shared his excitement and anticipation for the new facility.
“What I’m most excited about is that we have the opportunity to reimagine who we want to be based on the needs of the community,” Clouse said. “Additional office space will allow us to work with our service partners to work side by side with us to create a unified and integrated hub of resources for people seeking shelter.”
The new location on the edge of the Greek system has raised some controversy. Clouse, meanwhile, emphasized the importance of creating a “unified community.”
“There are a lot of different narratives that people experiencing homelessness are ‘different,’” Clouse said. “ROOTS is a really natural place. People living on Greek Row are young adults who are figuring things out, and the only difference between them and our clients is the network around them and we’re trying to be that network.”
ROOTS is working to do community outreach. Clouse is envisioning a monthly forum where the community can be involved and discuss in real-time what’s going on with the progress of the organization.
Reach reporter Beth Cassidy at email@example.com. Twitter: @_BethCassidy_
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