PAD RELOCATION EFFORT
Neighbor Questions & Northwest Youth Services Responses
We are attempting to answer all of the questions asked of us on this page. Some questions/answers are duplicates and we are opting not to be repetitive in our responses. If you have a question that isn't answered here, or additional questions, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Due to the potential threat of legal action by a few residents in the neighborhood, we are not at liberty to discuss
the covenants of the neighborhood. We can share that we were aware of these covenants at the time of purchase
and based on our research of existing activities located in the neighborhood, we are confident in the future of the PAD in Ridgemont.
"Why the Ridgemont neighborhood?"
Why not? We truly don't mean that in a flippant manner - we are interested in moving our PAD home to the Ridgemont neighborhood for all of same reasons the families who live there now love it. We were looking for a single-family home in a quiet and safe neighborhood with access to nature. We will provide transportation, bus passes and rides to young people to get to school, work, and activities. Furthermore, our funding restrictions
limited the type of home we could consider - the age of the home (built after 1980), within city limits, over 3,000 square feet and the floorplan were all factors in our search.
"Why didn't Northwest Youth Services involve, or get the support of, the neighborhood BEFORE purchasing a nearly $1 million home?"
Our team was searching/competing for a home that met all of the criteria above at the height of the real estate season in one of the hottest housing markets in the country. In other words, we had to work fast and be nimble. From a capacity and time management prospective, we were not able to complete outreach before our purchase offer was accepted. Our project fits within the Type 1 permit requirements as a low-impact project with the City of Bellingham.
"What's in this for me [neighbor]?
Maybe nothing? Maybe everything?
Any relationship with any neighbor is what you want to make of it. At the very least, you'll have an accountable and communicative neighbor to bring concerns to and who has the motivation to respond. We believe we will have little impact on your day-to-day life and hope that our staff and youth can be as welcome as the next person who moves into our neighborhood. With time we hope that all of our neighbors will acknowledge that having a home for unaccompanied minors in our community is a strength, not a liability.
"How many young people will live at the PAD?"
The home will be licensed and staffed for up-to 12 young people at a time. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, we averaged about eight young people at any given time, with occasional fluctuations. We average about 50 young people who need to call the PAD home annually.
"How long do youth live at the PAD? Why is their stay so short? Do you find that with a stay of only 3-4 weeks that the youth are able to be a part of the neighborhood and school communities?"
For the majority of the youth we serve at PAD they stay with us for 21 - 90 days, in order to allow them to meet a particular goal. For example, youth may be working on family reunification to return to their home, or building a relationship with relatives before either commit to making their stay permanent.
Every young person who is living at the PAD is enrolled in school - with the majority maintaining their attendance at the school they attended prior to moving in. If a student transfers into a local school it is because that is part of their long-term goal - to remain at that school.
In some instances, youth who are pursing emancipation from their parents or guardians will stay at the PAD for an extended time. Due to licensing, all young people age out of the PAD when they turn 18, and we work in partnership with them to ensure they have a safe place to stay at exit.
"A public records search for police reports over the last five years associated with the existing PAD
location (1020 N State Street) produced 615 calls. 496 (or 81%) of 615 resulted from “Juvenile Runaway” or “Juvenile Problem” in nature. What is NWYS' plan to handle resident concerns about increased police or EMS activity?"
First and foremost, it is important to point out that the address used to pull this record has two locations/functions, downstairs is our program services office and former drop-in space (for unhoused youth 13-24 to receive basic need support), while the PAD is upstairs.
Northwest Youth Services does not have the staff capacity to confirm the accuracy of this report, or to look at each instance to provide location distinction, but we believe that the majority of the 19% of the calls that are not "juvenile runaway" reports are associated with our drop-in space activities in the timeframe of 2016 - 2018.
Juvenile Runaway reports are a function of being a licensed home with the DCYF. As the acting legal guardians of the youth in our care, we are obligated to file "runaway" reports when youth miss curfew and haven't been in communication with staff. A second report is filed with the youth returns. In most of these cases, these reports are made by phone and do not necessitate a visit by the officer.
"What is NWYS policy on drug and alcohol use outside of the PAD?"
Drug and alcohol use is discouraged.
"Drug use is not allowed at the PAD. Are youths who are battling addiction allowed to reside at the PAD?"
"Will NWYS' PAD youth residents be free to walk throughout the Ridgemont/Viewmont neighborhood without supervision or PAD staff knowledge of their whereabouts?"
"Currently children run free in the neighborhood. Since NWYS staff are required to have extensive training, how does NWYS expect the neighbors (children) to deal with interactions when they are not trained?"
We are struggling with the assumptions made in this question. The youth we serve are unhoused, but are not a danger to neighbors or children. Our staff receive training to best serve young people and help them start to heal from trauma while they live with us.
"If a youth comes to the PAD from Snohomish/or elsewhere, for example, will they enroll in a local high school for a few weeks?"
In most cases, youth remain enrolled in their home school. PAD staff work with the student's home district to arrange transportation to and from school and to ensure they have support from their school communities.
"Without revealing personal information can you give a general example of a youth who went through your program- what was their circumstance and why did they enter the program, how did they grow or gain support, and where are they now?"
The PAD has housed over 500 young people in the 11 years Northwest Youth Services has offered the service. Each young person has brought a different set of circumstances with them to the PAD, and each of them has led a different path since their exit from the program. Some young people are still in touch with us, and others have moved away.
Through our efforts to relocate the PAD we have heard from many young people. One of them, Ryan, moved into the PAD's current location when it first opened in 2013 and shared his account with us of what it was like living at the PAD and what he's doing today.