• Youth shelter gets financial reprieve, but needs more money

    By: Deborah Horne


    SEATTLE - "My parents kicked us out when each of us were 18 years old, like go out, get a job, don't come back."

    That is how 21-year-old Brad Ramey, a member of the Alaska Yup'ik Eskimo Tribe, ended up homeless on the streets of Seattle.

    "I slept on top of a teriyaki restaurant shop," Ramey said.

    Until he found his way to the Orion Youth Center and its overnight shelter just west of Seattle's Capitol Hill.

    "Some of them sleep under the bridge right out here," Ramey said.

    And even this refuge is under threat. Between federal sequester cuts and the end of a large private grant, the nonprofit YouthCares lost $1.23 million and decided to cut the shelter early next year.

    "We're specifically here at the Orion Center because our budget invests $120,000 in keeping these doors open," said King Councilmember Joe McDermott.

    Then today, the King County Council announced a budget deal to help keep the shelter open -- but only for a year. Brad Ramey found stability at Orion. He's now going to college on a Pell grant.

    YouthCares stills needs more money. It's hoping it will get $130,000 when the Seattle City Council approves its budget next week. But that still won't be enough to keep the will overnight shelter open.

    They will need private donations to keep it up and running seven nights a week.

    The King County Council also allocated money to open an overnight youth shelter for the first time in south King County.


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