YouthCare’s Catalyst Program is a 12-bed, low-barrier transitional living program model designed to stabilize chronically homeless youth, ages 18 to 21, who face the greatest barriers to recovery. Located at YouthCare’s Straley House, the program provides the intensive services necessary for high-need young adults to move successfully into longer-term housing programs, including on-site mental health and chemical dependency counseling and comprehensive life skills training. A staff team works with each resident to develop an individual plan to acquire critical skills, such as cooking, cleaning, budgeting, education, and employment.
Though YouthCare’s Straley House has served our community’s homeless youth since 1988, the Catalyst program’s specialized approach began in Spring 2010, made possible by a $2,100,000 million investment of the Raynier Institute & Foundation.
The James W. Ray Orion Center is a multiservice facility for Seattle’s homeless youth. The bright green building at the corner of Denny and Stewart Avenues houses YouthCare’s drop-in program, where young people can get in out of the cold, eat a hot meal, access clothing and hygiene supplies, and begin to connect with deeper services such as case management or employment training. Partnerships with other providers allow youth to access on-site chemical dependency counseling, legal aid, and a local health clinic. The Orion Center is also home to YouthCare’s education programs, including a GED tutoring program and a Seattle Public School Interagency Academy, and three employment-training programs. At night, the Orion Center houses the Young Adult Shelter, a 20-bed emergency shelter for 18-24 year olds.
In 2010, the Raynier Institute & Foundation invested $3,600,000 million in the James W. Ray Orion Center, allowing YouthCare to retire the mortgage on the building and open the Young Adult Shelter.