The LOFT serves youth ages 12-17 experiencing homelessness, giving teens the space and support to find a path to safe and stable permanent housing. As a part of Washington’s strategic efforts to prevent teen homelessness, The LOFT provides resources for temporary residence, assessment, referrals and permanency planning for all youth in crisis.
No matter what leads teens to experience homelessness, The LOFT is here to provide a beacon of hope for youth that have none. Catholic Charities Walla Walla is proud to serve everyone with dignity and respect.
Teens come to The LOFT for various reasons, but they are always in crisis. The Department of Children, Youth and Families often refer youth who have a gap between foster placements or who are aging out of the system and need help planning their adult living situation. Schools refer teens that show signs of homelessness, like erratic attendance or behavioral problems. Some families send youth when things become overwhelming at home and it’s safer for everyone to have space. Other times, teens are runaways and will simply walk through the door on their own.
The LOFT temporarily houses teens for up to 30 days in a comfortable and home-like space while they find permanent housing. Support from case managers, counselors and 24-hour staff focus on providing genuine support and relationship building. Youth are required to participate in education placement, such as high school or alternative school curriculum. Other wraparound resources include intensive case management, counseling, employment search assistance, job skills-building, hygiene, legal and community services, medical and dental appointments, and recreational activities.
Youth-Focused Case Management
Every teen faces unique obstacles in their journey toward finding stable housing, whether it is reunifying with their family or finding another path to stable independent housing with a different guardian.
To help teens identify and overcome those obstacles, The LOFT provides youth-focused case management that allows teens to set their own goals. Teens at The LOFT do not follow a strict program. Instead, this is a place where they decide to make changes. For teens that have left home, this might be a decision to work things out with their family, while for youth who have aged out of foster care it is a decision about where to live.
Case managers say “yes” to a teen’s decision to make a change and provide resources to support it. Once a teen decides to make a change, case managers help find permanent housing solutions and access to healthcare, education and other services.
When teens flee their families, our goal is to facilitate safe and stable family reconciliation. We work with the families through counseling and related case management services to support the family in their life together. The LOFT provides temporary housing, so if reconciliation is not an option, we work through community partners to help teens to leverage natural supports and identify long-term housing solutions with another guardian in a positive environment.
Youth and young adults experiencing homelessness in Walla Walla need additional resources other than what is currently being offered through the foster care system and traditional shelter settings. Young people often bounce around between home placements and shelters numerous times in a year, leading to further instability for vulnerable youths. Catholic Charities Walla Walla (CCWW) is currently in the development stage of a Host Home program that will help to serve young people in need.
CCWW is currently searching for partners to help us expand a local Host Homes program. Host Homes is a nation-wide, youth-driven solution that will allow Walla Walla community members to welcome young people into the safety of their homes. CCWW will work with host families to create a supportive environment for youth as they make decisions about future housing and life goals.
CCWW believes “it takes a village,” and the Walla Walla way is mobilizing to open doors and provide tangible resources to support youth and young adults experiencing homelessness. Host Homes is an innovative program that facilitates neighbors-to-neighbors to match youth with families to create positive, caring relationships to launch young people in our community into brighter, more stable futures.