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Safe Place Program for Teens Celebrates One Year Anniversary and New Partners



                                                     Friday, August 10th from 10am-11am 
                                     Downtown Seattle YMCA, 909 4th Avenue, Seattle, WA 98104

It has been one year since National Safe Place launched in King County – providing immediate help to teens in crisis and connecting them to resources. Since its initial partnership with King County Metro buses (which account for 1,100 mobile sites), the program has grown to also include 61 stationary sites with King County Libraries, the Shoreline and Renton locations of Compass Housing Alliance, and the newest partner, the YMCA of Greater Seattle.

On Friday, August 10, the three organizations that serve as Safe Place responders – Auburn Youth Resources, Friends of Youth, and YouthCare – will bring together representatives from the Safe Place site partnerships and those who have been instrumental in getting this program off the ground. King County Executive Dow Constantine will speak at this important event, while King County Councilmember Kathy Lambert, who led the campaign to launch a Safe Place program here, will receive special honors. Representatives from all the Safe Place site partners will be in attendance at the anniversary, and King County Metro General Manager Kevin Desmond, as well as Bob Gilbertson, the CEO of the YMCA of Greater Seattle, will speak.

Thanks to Safe Place, a young person need only ask for help at any Safe Place stationary or mobile site, and he or she will be connected with YouthCare, Friends of Youth, or Auburn Youth Resources, depending on location. Within 45 minutes, a youth counselor from one of these organizations will meet the young person and assess his or her needs, helping the youth get to shelter or return home.

Councilmember Lambert praises the program’s approach. “Safe Place expands the reach of our existing youth services by connecting with our transit network and community libraries, finding new ways to get help to youth in crisis,” she said. “Any teen who is scared and alone and confused should know at least one thing – to look for the yellow-and-black diamond Safe Place logo next to doors on buses and at public facilities to find help quickly and safely.”

From the beginning, King County has been a critical partner in the success of this program, starting with King County Metro. “By participating in this program, our Metro operators give Safe Place a countywide network to contact and assist young people in crisis,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. "These drivers, and the many others watching over our young people, deserve our thanks for being there every day to help shield kids from harm.”

In the past year in King County, 45 young people have received shelter or counseling, and 6,400 youth have learned about Safe Place and Text4Help, the Safe Place mobile outreach service. With Text4Help, teens text the word “safe” and their current location to 69866 to receive an immediate text response with the nearest Safe Place site. Businesses interested in learning more about becoming a Safe Place site should contact the Safe Place Coordinator at 1 (800) 495-7892, option 2.

The Safe Place partnership between YouthCare, Friends of Youth, and Auburn Youth Resources is one aspect of a region-wide collaboration of youth service providers, which also includes Cocoon House in Snohomish County. Thanks to significant investment from the Giddens Foundation, the Medina Foundation, and the United Way of King County, this collaboration is working to strengthen their youth homelessness prevention efforts. Starting with Safe Place, these providers are also working to expand their family reconciliation efforts and resources.

About the Partner Agencies
Auburn Youth Resources was established in 1973 by a group of concerned parents, educators, and governmental leaders to address the growing problem of drug abuse among South King County youth. Since then, AYR has grown into a regional provider of mental health, homeless youth outreach, shelter, and housing, as well as substance abuse services, serving children, youth, and families of King and Pierce Counties.

Founded in 1951, Friends of Youth delivers a comprehensive range of therapeutic services for youth and young adults encompassing 21 program sites which provide safe places to live and emotional support for youth in challenging circumstances. Serving youth ages 12-24, Friends of Youth’s Homeless Services stretch from Snohomish County south to Renton and east to Duvall, Snoqualmie, and other east King County cities.

Since 1973, YouthCare has been a leader in providing effective services to homeless youth in Seattle/King County. From a three-bed shelter, our programs have expanded to include a continuum of services including outreach, basic needs, case management, emergency shelter, transitional housing, education, and employment training programs serving young people ages 12-24.

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