Homeless kids, gutter punks, campers — whatever you want to call them, there are changes coming for the street youth who spend their time in the central city and on Capitol Hill. Last week, CHS reported on a new director, new home and new direction for longtime Capitol Hill homeless youth service Peace for the Streets by Kids from the Streets. Now comes word that YouthCare is faced with closing its overnight shelter inside the James W. Ray Orion Center at the base of Capitol Hill on Denny Way:
YouthCare’s shelter, which served 268 young adults last year, needs $350,00 in order to keep its nightly facility open into the new year.
YouthCare says funding for the shelter from a private grant powered by the estate of the late James Widener Ray was part of a significant five-year program of support that was slated to wrap up in 2013. Five years ago, the estate’s Raynier Institute granted YouthCare funding to allow the organization to own the center outright and operate its programs including the shelter through this year.
Meanwhile, Raynier’s giving in the community continues to evolve. Earlier this year, Raynier announced a $1.1 million gift supporting the Frye Art Museum. In 2010, CHS wrote about the foundation as it began to put its $80-million financial clout to work and Jim Ray, the Capitol Hill character who put his fortune behind the organization before his death in 2005. From 1994 to 2012, the organization says it provided nearly $18 million in grants including $10.6 million to human services organizations.
At YouthCare, the organization has been forced to abandon its efforts to transition funding of the shelter after Raynier’s program ended when other sources were unexpectedly cut. In a letter from the executive director, the organization details more expected shortfalls including the loss of a federal grant for its programs. “Given the critical role that outreach and drop-in services serve in our community, we must prioritize maintaining our outreach and drop-in services at full capacity before funding the Young Adult Shelter,” Melinda Giovengo writes. “It is our hope to be able to provide both vital services, and we are exploring every avenue that might allow for that outcome.”
You can learn more and make a donation at youthcare.org.