A beautifully contagious sense of hope for 14 youth…
If you’ve spent any time at Teen Feed or in the U-District community these last few months, chances are you’ve heard the name Gossett Place. Whether you’ve heard the name or not, let me tell you that it’s pretty awesome! Gossett Place is brand-new subsidized housing sponsored by the Low Income Housing Institute and Sound Mental Health. It’s part of a larger group of housing facilities with units for “high-utilizers” – folks that, because they don’t have a safe place to call home, end up stuck in various parts of our larger service system: treatment centers, jail, ER’s, shelters, etc. Gossett Place is open specifically to individuals dealing with long-term chemical dependency and/or mental health issues.
Gossett Place is located in the heart of the U-District and has one incredibly exciting different feature than its housing counterparts: several units were set aside specifically for young adults accessing U-District agencies! To briefly summarize the referral process, Teen Feed has been working closely with other U-District service providers over the past few months to submit referrals for young adults that meet the “high utilizer” criteria or who are assessed by Gossett staff to be “highly vulnerable”. There have been many meetings, presentations on youths’ histories and lots of applications to fill out…but the reward has been great!
The reward is that to date, 14 young adults have moved into Gossett Place. These 14 young adults now live in the nicest, newest building in the entire U-District, each with their own state-of-the-art studio apartment. The building has many perks including a common area with a big screen TV, a computer lab, on-site laundry and direct access to professionals who provide support for their chemical dependency or mental health needs. Residents pay 30% of their income as rent; if they don’t have income they don’t pay anything. Gossett’s biggest perk is that young adults enter as they are; it’s truly a housing first model. This means they don’t have any expectations to fix their “problems”…they simply get to move in, get settled and then receive support to work on the issues they feel are important to them.
The young adults creating new homes and futures for themselves at Gossett Place talk often about how nice it is to be out of shelters, to know they have their own bed to sleep in, and to enjoy the feeling of sleeping in.
They talk about how nice it is to live in a community where they feel supported and not expected to change themselves at a moment’s notice.
They’ve told us they now have the time and space to dream about what’s in store for their future. Their stories have lost the concern or fear of the present and have picked up a beautifully contagious sense of hope.
My hope is that all those we serve will catch a case of this hope and to get experience their own version of Gossett Place.
Ryan Fouts is Teen Feed’s Support Coordinator, leading the Service Links for Youth (SLY) program. To learn more about SLY, click here.
DISCLAIMER: In the Teen Feed News newsletter, Larry Gossett should have been listed as a King County Councilmember, not a Seattle City Councilmember. We apologize for the oversight.