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Life is all about transitions. As kids, many of us spend formative years at home with our parents before moving on to the next phase of our educational, explorational or career journey. But sometimes that home life isn’t safe or healthy and children as young as 16 seek legal emancipation and the freedom to build a more solid situation. Others are emancipated from the foster care system after becoming a legal adult at the age of 18. Coastal Community Action Program (CCAP) recently launched a transitional housing program for emancipated youth ages 16 to 18 and young adults from 18 to 24. This 24-hour housing comes with ready access to supportive services that help build self-sufficiency and a strong future.

group of people stand behind two woman cutting a red ribbon with giant scissors to open the Transitional Housing building
Coastal Community Action Program recently held a ribbon cutting for transitional housing for emancipated youth aged 16 to 18 and young adults aged 18 to 24. Photo courtesy: Coastal Community Action Program

Safe, Supportive Housing for Emancipated Youth and Young Adults in Grays Harbor

Kimberly Stoll-French is Coastal Community Action Program’s Housing and Community Services Director. She explains that this project took off when Grays Harbor County Public Health sought proposals for an emergency shelter. “We had recently opened a youth shelter for youth aged 12 to 17,” says Stoll-French, “however there remained a gap for young adults aged 18 to 24 or emancipated youth. It was then decided to apply with the idea of providing transitional housing for young adults. The proposal was selected by the Housing Executive Team in early 2021 and in April 2021 approved by the Board of County Commissioners.”

CCAP’s team then secured a long-term lease with a private property owner named Kim Chang Lim and obtained county funding to remodel the Hoquiam space. It now has 10 units of dormitory-style living with one unit set aside for an on-site resident assistant. Using an existing building, says Stoll-French, “added value to the downtown area, created new affordable housing units, and created revenue for the building owner.”

a bed with a blue striped bedspread in a bedroom
The safe, welcoming dormitory-style housing has an on-site residential director, much like a college dorm setting. Photo courtesy: Coastal Community Action Program

CCAP Offers Adult Life-Skills and Resources to Transitional Youth

In addition to a safe place to stay, this housing matches residents with supportive services including Pathways Care Coordination, YHDP (Youth Homeless Demonstration Program), Jail Re-Entry, Homeless Housing Services and FCS Supported Employment and Supported Housing Services.

Coastal Community Action Program staff and partner agencies also provide financial, employment and career development coaching that trains residents how to access any available benefits. Grays Harbor College is nearby for those interested in returning to school at some point.

The program hopes to utilize FYI Vouchers as an entry point. The Foster Youth to Independence program facilitates 36 months of housing for youth ages 18 to 25 who have been in the foster care system. “These vouchers are a partnership between the Washington State Department of Children, Youth & Families (DCYF), the Grays Harbor Housing Authority and include case management services through Olive Crest,” Stoll-French says.

People standing in a room listening to a man next to them talk, a red star balloon is on a chair
The Transitional Housing program offers wraparound services like financial, employment and career development as well as how to access supplemental benefits. Photo courtesy: Coastal Community Action Program

Transitional Homes for Grays Harbor Youth who Need a Helping Hand

Transitional housing is typically for a period of up to two years, says Stoll-French. General referrals to this program will be received through coordinated entry. Potential clients can call 360.500.4550, email coordinatedentry@coastalcap.org or stop by the office at 101 E. Market Street in Aberdeen. Young adults who already have their FYI voucher can receive a referral when connecting with DCYF.

Coastal Community Action Program is truly on a roll as the new year progresses. They hope to see all 10 units in this building filled while continuing to optimize all their available resources and case management to help these young adults thrive in their independence, says Stoll-French.

a living room with a couch, coffee table and two side tables.
Transitional housing is typically available for up to two years, say CCAP staff, and answers a very real need during this difficult housing time. Photo courtesy: Coastal Community Action Program

But that’s just the beginning. “We are also looking forward to breaking ground on our 24 modular units in Aberdeen, Urban Rest Stop in Long Beach, 12 modular units for Apple Health and homes throughout Grays Harbor – including the more rural parts – as well as continuing to expand and serve the community,” she says. “We recently acquired a contract in Lewis County and have hired a phenomenal team there so we are hopeful we can truly make a difference for the homeless and housing unstable population in that region as well.”

Stoll-French is no stranger to the world of community support. Before joining CCAP in July 2023, she worked for Grays Harbor County Public Health and frequently found herself working very closely with CCAP’s team. “Moving over to CCAP as the Housing and Community Services Director has been such a privilege,” she says. “It was the easiest hard decision I have ever made. I was working with such a phenomenal team of individuals at the Health Department but knowing that I would be able to work more closely and more directly with CCAP staff and clients, I knew where I was meant to be.”

She also appreciates working within her home community and serving people in the region. “My favorite part about CCAP will always be the people,” Stoll-French says. “The staff are some of the most passionate and hardworking people I have ever met. The kindness and determination they exude is awe inspiring and I am so excited I get to work with them.”

It’s hard enough being a kid but doing so without the support of a stable family is infinitely more difficult. Thanks to CCAP and their many vital partnerships, transitional housing can be one less thing to worry about as emancipated young adults look to the future. To learn more, visit the Coastal Community Action Program website.

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