host home: Smiling woman with red hair held back by black hairband stands at door.

Washington State Tries Host Homes, Permanency Navigators for Homeless Teens

Nataya Foss remembers being told that she would soon have to leave the shelter. She had been staying in one of Washington state’s few shelters for unaccompanied homeless minors, but because of restrictions that come with government funding, the shelter could house her for only three weeks. Her time was almost up.

Man skateboards past billboards about new condos.

Can Washington State Keep Youth Off the Streets After They Leave Detention?

By the age of 17, David Vanwetter had been in and out of detention perhaps a dozen times.
Washington state is vowing to keep young people like Vanwetter — often with complicated and troubled lives — from becoming homeless after they exit the jailhouse door. The state Legislature has ambitiously pledged to stop releasing youth from “publicly funded systems of care” — juvenile detention, foster care and mental health and drug treatment — into homelessness by the end of 2020. And that doesn’t mean putting them in a cab to a homeless shelter: Youth must have “safe and stable housing,” the law says.

Washington State’s High Court Rules Legislature Not Doing Enough to Fund Education

The Washington State Legislature has failed to meet its constitutional responsibility to fund public education for the last three decades, according to a ruling by the state’s Supreme Court. “By the Legislature’s own terms, it has not met its duty to make ample provision for ‘basic education,’” wrote Justice Debra Stephens in an 85-page opinion. “This court cannot idly stand by as the Legislature makes unfulfilled promises for reform.”

In 2009, the Legislature passed a bill meant to reform funding formulas, HB2261, and update the 1977 Basic Education Act by 2018. In Justice Stephens’ opinion, the high court reaffirmed its jurisdiction to oversee the Legislature’s timely implementation of those changes. “Ultimately, it is our responsibility to hold the State accountable to meet its constitutional duty,” Justice Stephens writes in the opinion.