Supportive housing for young adults in Bellingham.
We've partnered with the Opportunity Council to provide new housing and wrap-around support services to support young people on their journey to independence and prosperity.
The number of young adults experiencing homelessness
in Bellingham is growing, but affordable housing is harder and harder to find.
There are currently around 100 young adults on our waiting list for housing.
The rental vacancy rate in Bellingham is less than 1%.
On average, renters in Bellingham pay around 42% of their income on rent.
What is 22 North?
22 North is a collaboration between Northwest Youth Services and the Opportunity Council. It offers 40 studio apartments to adults experiencing homelessness.
This building will offer wrap-around support services to help residents meet their goals and support them on their journey to independence and prosperity.
22 North is located at 1022 N. State Street, next door to our Bellingham offices. The We Grow Garden has relocated to 1815 Ellis St, across from the Bellingham Food Bank.
22 North includes:
20 units for Northwest Youth Services clients (ages 18-24)
20 units for Opportunity Council clients (age 18+)
Client meeting rooms
Office space for NWYS
24/7 staffing and security
Employment & education support
Referrals for outside services
22 North provides homes for young adults experiencing homelessness,
and offers the wrap-around support they need to meet their goals.
Thank you to our generous supporters, including:
See the full list of 22 North donors here.
Want to know more about 22 North and how you can help?
Contact Jenn Daly, Director of Development & Communications, at JennD@NWYS.org
or (360) 734-9862 ext. 170.
Our Youth Matter
by Margie Kimberley
When traveling down N. State Street, it’s hard to miss the Dawson Construction crane or bright orange traffic cones. What’s easier to miss is the small Northwest Youth Services building with the blue awning - right next door to the construction zone and crane. If you were to step in the door of Northwest Youth Services, the first thing you might notice is a small whiteboard. It reads like this: “Nap Room: occupied till 2:30. Computer room: Occupied till 3. Shower: Open now.”
The occupants of these rooms are our community’s homeless youth and young adults. I see them when I venture downtown to grab a coffee, get bagels, or meet up with friends. I watch others notice them too. I know some feel fear. Some feel sadness. Some get frustrated with their loitering.
It was fall, 2012, the PAD (Positive Adolescent Development) – emergency housing for 13-17 years olds atop the Northwest Youth Services office building was newly completed but awaiting licensure from the state. Northwest Youth Services decided to put it to use as a day use drop-in center while they awaited the license.
Word on the street got around quickly that a space was available to take a hot shower, cook food, do laundry, take a nap, receive services, or simply hang in a space out of the weather.
I volunteered there one day a week. Feeling nervous those first few weeks, I kept mostly to myself, cleaning the kitchen and bathroom, laundering towels, making chili or soup to freeze.
On the third week, I noticed a tall twenty year old male sitting on the couch. He was attempting to knit with donated needles and yarn. I asked if he wanted any help.
“Do you knit?” He asked. “A little,” I replied.
He wanted a simple lanyard he could use to attach his keys to his backpack.
“We can do this,” I hoped.
We couldn’t. His large and trembling hands made it difficult to maneuver the needles, and I had both limited knitting skills and a hesitancy to do it for him. In the end we didn’t need the lanyard - what we both needed was the conversation that ensued over the yarn and the needles.
The reality was, he wanted the same things I do - to matter and belong.
I would bet, that when you go downtown for your coffee or bagels or meetings with friends and see those kids standing on the corner – that is what they want too.
To matter and belong.
When the license arrived that winter of 2013, and Northwest Youth Services opened up the emergency, 24/7 shelter for 13-17 years olds, the 18-24 year olds had to be turned away. They lost not only access to a place to cook, get warm, shower, do laundry, and connect with staff, but also the community they were building with each other, the volunteers and the staff.
Since then, Northwest Youth Services has cobbled together, in the face of increasing needs, various ways to re-create those relationships and services — even converting badly needed office space to build a shower and a nap room. Thus, the small whiteboard on the front desk of their office space.
The next step to actual change for these young people is the four story building going up next door to Northwest Youth Services. Thus, the crane.
Northwest Youth Services has partnered with the Opportunity Council, to develop 22 North. The building will feature 40 new apartment units, 20 open to young adults ages 18-24.
In addition to 20 new units of housing for young people experiencing homelessness, 22 North will also offer residents a wide range of supportive services to promote individual goals. Services will be inclusive of employment and educational support, housing case management, life skills workshops, 24/7 staffing, behavioral health interventions, as well as meeting space.
Did you know that due to current government regulations, our community is not able to offer long-term permanent housing to young people who are enrolled in school? 22 North will offer four privately funded units allowing Northwest Youth Services to house youth on their journey to education.
Let’s do this. Let’s make sure that every young person in our community knows they matter and belong. Join me in investing in the young people in our community and donate to 22 North today: https://www.nwys.org/donate.