An overnight shelter for homeless young adults in Olympia is facing temporary closure due to a lack of money.
Community Youth Services is asking the public for help to keep the 10-bed shelter open through the summer months. Located at 520 Pear St. SE, the overnight shelter has operated at capacity since opening in 2013.
Scott Hanauer, CEO of the nonprofit organization, said the overnight shelter serves about 120 total individuals ages 18-24 every year. About $50,000 would keep the shelter from closing June 24 through Sept. 1.
“It’s a consistent problem for the summer months,” said Hanauer, noting that the organization dipped into its reserve fund last summer to keep it open. “But we feel like it’s an essential service to our community.”
The projected cost to keep the overnight shelter open year-round is about $220,000, but about $128,000 in annual funding is provided by Thurston County and the Community Investment Partnership. The organization is applying for a grant this month from the state Department of Commerce worth about $100,000.
In the meantime, an account was set up Thursday at gofundme.com to raise money for the shelter; as of 5 p.m. Friday, 14 people had contributed $1,600. Community Youth Services also is working with clients to find alternative places to stay — aside from camping in the woods, for example — if the shelter closes temporarily.
“The shelters all struggle with the same issues,” Hanauer said. “There’s such limited local funding to keep it open.”
The shelter is housed at the Brighter Futures Youth Center, which provides case management, counseling services, meals, clothing, showers, laundry and hygiene items through a program called Rosie’s Place. That daytime drop-in program will remain open.
Conducting the 2016 homeless census, volunteers counted 586 homeless adults Jan. 28. Of that total, about 40 percent were born between 1981-1996, and about 5 percent were born after 1996.
This year’s total census count was higher than 2015, when 476 homeless people were counted, and was about even with 2014, when 576 were counted.