SEATTLE - Each night nearly 1,000 teens and young adults are homeless in Seattle. Throughout King County the number is closer to 5,000, with a growing number of them on the Eastside, according to Olivia MacMaster, of the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center in Renton.
“It’s a lot more spread out,” MacMaster told KIRO 7 on Wednesday. “There’s a lot of youth living in cars and couch-surfing, not really congregated visibly like they are in Seattle, but much more hidden on the Eastside."
According to KCSARC, 40 percent of homeless youth run away because of sexual abuse and assaults at home. There have been no efforts in the state to provide counseling, housing, legal advice and education all in one place until the launch of KCSARC’s Project 360 on Wednesday.
“Youth that are at risk of homelessness, who are homeless or who are street-involved are at much higher risk to become involved in human trafficking,” said Project 360 clinical therapist Emily Gassert. “They’re much more vulnerable and lot of the pimps will seek them out. Those pimps will go to the places that the (homeless) young people hang out and try to recruit them” for prostitution, which is why Project 360 aims to provide homeless youth with housing and counseling, to keep them from continuing their life on the streets.
KCSARC’s Deputy Executive Director DeAnn Yamamoto came up with the idea of Project 360, which is fundamentally a one-stop shop approach to helping homeless youth. “The pairing has never been done before today,” Yamamoto told KIRO 7. “It sounds simple, doesn’t it?”
Click here for more information on Project 360.