Bellevue program helps homeless Eastside teens
LORI MATSUKAWA / KING 5 News
BELLEVUE, Wash. - When you think about the eastside of Lake Washington,
you don't often think about homelessness. Yet beds for homeless teens
are filling up four nights a week at a unique program at the Bellevue
When the pool and workout rooms at the Bellevue family Y empty out,
Homeless teens between 18 and 23 line up in the cold to get one of
12 warm cots. It's called "The Landing," a place where youth
can get a place to sleep, a hot shower and laundry facilities, safety
"Some of 'em are fleeing abusive situations at home, some have
substance abuse problems," said Adam Baldwin, Friends of Youth.
"Some of them are failed by a foster care system that abandons
them as soon as they turn 18."
"Sarah" just got a job, but still can't afford her own place.
"They give you food at the end of the night when you come in
so if you haven't eaten all day," said Sarah. "It's really
nice to be able to eat something."
"Jason" finished his first semester at Bellevue Community
"It gives me an opportunity to actually concentrate on getting
a job, go to school, 'cause I'm in school as well, instead of trying
to find a place to sleep," said Jason.
YMCA volunteers have adopted these youth, bringing food and clean
"It's really a big question whenever we go out and talk about
this program," said Keri Stout
Bellevue Family YMCA. "People ask, 'Where are these people from?'
They're from the eastside. They are our community. And as the Bellevue
family YMCA, this is our way to fill a need in our community.
"The Landing" is a labor of love. If you'd like to donate
food or cash, you can contact Friends of Youth at (425) 869-6490.