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posted Friday, September 27, 2019 - Volume 47 Issue 39
ROOTS Young Adult Shelter milestone anniversary marked by new home, new executive director, and new capital campaign
Section One
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ROOTS Young Adult Shelter milestone anniversary marked by new home, new executive director, and new capital campaign

SEATTLE (September 25, 2019) - ROOTS (Rising Out Of The Shadows) Young Adult Shelter, the largest emergency shelter of its kind in the state, entered its 20th year of operation with an unprecedented challenge: the loss of its space due to redevelopment of the property in which it operates. Today, the organization announced that it has secured a location in the University District and will not only continue to serve its vulnerable population of 18-25-year-olds but grow and expand opportunities to end homelessness.

'Unfortunately, displacement of vital services feels commonplace in Seattle these days, with tight resources, fiscal limitations, and gentrification knocking on the doors nearest to people most in need of a hand up, including our sister organization Peace for the Streets by Kids from the Streets (PSKS), [which] recently announced [its] closure at the end of this year,' said Arthur Padilla, ROOTS interim executive director.

'Knowing our and other organizations' sustainability struggles, we perceived the need for a strategic shift, and through sharing our story, a landlord came forward to sell us a building that became a viable option to secure ROOTS's future.'

ROOTS's new building is located on 19th Avenue NE in Seattle's University District. By purchasing the nearly 18,000-square-foot space near the University of Washington, ROOTS is positioned to serve more unsheltered people and has a unique opportunity to partner with other like-minded organizations. Seattle-based firm Dean Alan Architects with principal Angela Gee will lead the redevelopment of the building.

Tasked with the vision of ROOTS in its new home will be a new permanent executive director. A national search for an executive director led ROOTS staff and the board of directors to Jerred Clouse, previous senior programming manager of Seattle's Downtown Emergency Service Center. Under his leadership, the organization will undergo the strategic planning process, work in partnership with like-minded community organizations, and execute a capital campaign to raise the necessary funds to support the new home.

Washington state Rep. Frank Chopp (D-Seattle) has been a vital resource to ROOTS through the search for capital for a new home. 'We can't afford to have anyone, especially our young people, on the streets,' said Chopp. 'I was proud to work with ROOTS to make sure we didn't lose this safe space. Thank you to everyone at ROOTS for saving lives. I will continue to work on building as many affordable homes as possible so we can continue to invite young people off the streets, into permanent housing, and onto hopeful futures.'

Fundraising is underway, with an exciting award given by the City of Seattle's Human Service Department in the amount of $100,000. The funding will be used in programming to support 18-25-year-olds that have been harmed by the criminal justice system.

In addition to raising capital from the city, state, and funders, ROOTS will hold its most lavish gala, Rise Up for Homeless Young People on the heels of its 20th anniversary, and it promises to be an opulent masquerade ball like none other, to be held on Friday, October 25, 2019, at the University District's art deco hotel Graduate Seattle. Tickets prices range in options and prices from $50 to $500. The ticket price and individual gifts during the event will directly impact unsheltered young people and support the organization's move to its new facility.

Can't make the Rise Up gala but still want to support ROOTS?
ROOTS has been a self-sustaining cash flow-positive organization for 20 years. Unfortunately, the current situation in real estate means ROOTS cannot operate anywhere near the same budget any longer. To continue vital services, the organization needs additional funding for operating costs in addition to building out its new home. Here are additional ways you can make an impact on the lives of young people in your community:

Donate today! Make a difference and give a hand up by donating online at www.rootsinfo.org/get-involved/donate/.

Civic action: Contact your representatives - make servicing our homeless young adult community the priority when voting.

Volunteer! ROOTS wouldn't be open every single night of the year if it weren't for volunteers. Learn more at www.rootsinfo.org/get-involved/volunteer/.

Founded in 1999 with the vision that everyone deserves a safe place to call home, ROOTS (Rising Out Of The Shadows) was Seattle's first overnight shelter designed to meet the unique needs of homeless young adults aged 18-25 years old. The organization's mission is to build community and foster dignity through access to essential services and a safe place to sleep for young adults experiencing life on the streets. Since its inception, ROOTS has served over 8,500 unique guests and provided them with hot dinner, breakfast, laundry, showers, clean clothing, hygiene items, and referral services. In 2017, ROOTS added on-site case management that resulted in 87 guests' exiting shelter into housing, and in 2018 showed an increase of over 100 guests placed in housing. With young adults and other low-income persons in mind, ROOTS advocates for social justice and long-term solutions for the communities it serves. For more information, visit www.ROOTSinfo.org.

Courtesy of ROOTS

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