Homeless and at-risk youth could receive critical help as a result of two Senate measures awaiting consideration in the House, Sen. Marko Liias, D-Lynnwood, said today.
Both measures would extend the reach of Cocoon House, a nonprofit that helps homeless and at-risk youth in Snohomish County. One of the measures, the Senate’s capital budget, passed unanimously late last week and would provide a $2 million grant to Cocoon House.
“Cocoon House does an amazing job of making the most of a dollar in helping area youths, and these measures will enable them reach even more people in need,” Liias said. “I can’t imagine this money being put to a more valuable purpose than to help young people in our community who are struggling either because they lack basic resources or lack an ID that would enable them to access those resources.”
Among its many services to youth, the Cocoon House provides emergency supplies, hygiene packs, food packs and access to housing and local resources. It also provides short- and long-term housing to homeless young people ages 12 to 17 and their children.
“The funds we receive from the state can mean the difference between hope and hopelessness for a lot of kids,” said Julio Cortes, the public relations manager of Cocoon House, a nonprofit based in Everett. “These funds will be maximized and help to break the cycle of homelessness in our communities.”
The other measure awaiting a vote in the House, Senate Bill 5382, is sponsored by Liias and would enable Washingtonians under the age of 18 who have no primary address to purchase an identification card at cost, or about $10, instead of the standard $54 fee.
“Cocoon House works with youth every day who struggle to get connected to resources because they lack an ID,” Cortes said. “Sen. Liias’ bill is going to have a positive, very real and direct impact on youth experiencing homelessness in our communities. With access to IDs, doors for youth will open and give them a better chance to become successful adults.”
That bill awaits an up-or-down vote on the House floor, having passed out of the House Transportation Committee, while the capital budget must be further negotiated between the chambers. Liias said the unanimous passage of the budget in the Senate bodes well for negotiations.
“We often hear people say that Democrats and Republicans can’t work together, especially in today’s polarized culture, but this budget proves the opposite,” he said. “Now we need to build on this good will moving forward.”