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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, July 3, 2008
Charles Shelan, Director, Community Youth Services, 360-943-0780
Dwight Edwards, Community Housing Program Coordinator, 360-709-3003

Grant Will Provide Housing for At-Risk Youth in  Thurston County

OLYMPIA – Thurston County and Community Youth Services (CYS) have received preliminary approval for a nearly $1,000,000 grant that will provide housing assistance for at-risk youth. 

The applicants were recently notified of the award of the Homeless Grant Assistance Program

(HGAP) funding. The State Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development (CTED) will provide up to $994,650 for a homeless prevention program for high-risk youth ages 18-23 before they leave the correctional or court systems. The program will provide rental assistance and support services in leased housing for the youth as they reenter the community.

Community Youth Services is a non-profit agency in Olympia whose mission is to support youth and families in achieving their needs for a healthy, safe and secure community.  Director Charles Shelan says they are calling this program "Empowering Change through Housing and Opportunities" or ECHO.  Shelan says, "Stability and hope are essential to young people as they leave the correctional and court systems. This new add-on to Community Youth Services' existing transitional housing program will provide young adults with a stable place to live as they begin to access educational, employment and treatment opportunities within our community."   Estimates show that the ECHO grant program will serve 22 young adults every year, before they leave the law and justice system so CYS can immediately begin helping those who have nowhere to go - and no resources.  

Thurston County Community Housing Program Coordinator Dwight Edwards says the support of local officials was very helpful in obtaining the grant.  "The Housing Consortium, made up of local elected officials, and the Thurston County Commissioners, along with CYS, were very instrumental in demonstrating the need and outlining the programs that this grant will help to address".

For more information on Thurston County housing programs please visit the County Website at http://www.co.thurston.wa.us/bocc/homeinvestment/index.htm

For more information on Community Youth Services, please go their Website at http://www.communityyouthservices.org/  

County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3