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Congresswoman Suzan DelBene Delivers $1 million check for new Willows Youth Service Center

Updated: Aug 23, 2023

On Tuesday, May 2, Congresswoman DelBene (WA-01) delivered a $1 million check to Friends of Youth's President and CEO, Paul Lwali, for the new Willows Youth Services Center, which will replace the current youth shelter. DelBene secured the dedicated funding for the facility in the Fiscal Year 2023 government funding law.

The new facility will operate 24/7, expand available emergency shelter beds from 20 to 35, and provide integrated behavioral health, substance use treatment, basic medical care, nutrition, and hygiene facilities.

“Many youth experiencing homelessness in east King County have few options for where to turn when they’re in crisis. This $1 million federal investment that I secured for Friends of Youth’s new Willows Youth Services Center will help expand the number of beds and the services available to youth and young adults when they need it most,” said DelBene. “For 71 years, Friends of Youth’s mission has been centered on supporting youth and young adults. Today, Friends of Youth continues to work towards ensuring that youth and young adults in our communities spend zero days in a state of vulnerability, as we know the longer they are on the street or vulnerable, the worse outcomes they may have. Our new location at Willows will serve as a 24/7 emergency overnight shelter with up to 35 beds, as well as a safe place for daytime drop-in services that can accommodate meals, laundry, and personal hygiene options. Upon opening, unsheltered young people in our community will have access to health services including behavioral health, case management, and housing navigation needed for longer-term housing,” said Paul Lwali, President and CEO, Friends of Youth. “We are extremely grateful to have Congresswoman DelBene as a true partner in ensuring that young people are safe, not vulnerable, and treated with dignity as they face one of the most challenging times of their lives. Without her efforts and advocacy, this shelter would not be possible.” “Now more than ever, it’s critical that we have places in our community where our young people can be safe, be themselves, and belong,” said Kirkland Mayor Penny Sweet. “We’re so grateful to Congresswoman DelBene for securing this needed funding to support the opening of this important new center.”

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