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Sexually assaulted homeless youth to benefit from new Project360

Homeless youth on the Eastside who have been sexually assaulted will now be able to receive more specialized services through Project360, a partnership of the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center and several Eastside agencies. The partnership will serve ages 13-24.

The idea for the project came when officials with the resource center realized there was nowhere this particular population could go to get help.

“There were services for homeless youth but not services for sexually assaulted youth,” said Mary Ellen Stone, executive director of the center.

Olivia MacMaster, the coordinator for Project360, said the services will focus on four categories.

The first category is prevention, in which youth and parents will be engaged to educate them on how to prevent sexual assault, MacMaster said. After that comes treatment, with victims able to get therapy, if needed.

Project360 also will also offer intervention in the form of case management and legal advocacy. The final category is response, which will involve multidisciplinary teams and training.

Stone said one of the reasons they started Project360 was because a high rate of homeless youth — about 40 percent — have been sexually assaulted, and in some cases that may factor into their homelessness. The trauma caused by such incidents also may contribute to why some youths remain homeless, Stone said, because they do not want to go back home.

Now through Project360, they will be able to address issues victims have — which in the past may have gone untreated — head on, she said. As a result, young people can get the tools they need to get out of chronic homelessness.

Stone said Project360 came together after a successful pilot program KCSARC ran in partnership with YouthCare, a human-services organization for homeless youth in Seattle. She said they were told it would be too difficult to provide therapy for sexually assaulted homeless youth as their situations are too unstable. But Stone said they decided to try it anyway and when they were successful, they decided to expand.

Their expansion plans meant heading across Lake Washington to the Eastside, she said, and Friends of Youth was the logical choice for a partner.

The way the partnership works is that resource center will provide the therapist, who will be based in EvergreenHealth’s Redmond campus at 8980 161st Ave. N.E., while Friends of Youth will provide the case manager at its Youth Service Center at the Together Center in downtown Redmond (16225 N.E. 87th St., Suite A-1). Each of the specialists will work closely with the youth.

MacMaster said the benefit of the partnership between the two organizations is that each one has experience in either working with sexual-assault victims or homeless youth.

“You get the best of both expertise working together,” she said.

 

SAMANTHA PAK: 425-867-0353, ext. 5052: spak@redmond-reporter.com

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