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Funds from Seattle, King County to Keep Youth Shelter Open

YouthCare's Facebook Page

YouthCare’s James W. Ray Orion Center for homeless youth will stay open five nights a week, thanks to funding from Seattle and King County.

The Seattle City Council on Monday allocated $130,000 in next year’s budget for the center, adding to the King County Council’s pledge of $120,000 for the center earlier this month. The city council will take a final vote on the budget next week.

With a multi-year grant set to run out, YouthCare feared it would have to close the 20-bed shelter in January. But funding from the city and the county will be sufficient to keep it open, the nonprofit agency said Monday.

The Orion Shelter, which serves 18- to 24-year-olds, is the only facility for homeless youth in downtown Seattle. 

"We don’t have a huge number of shelter beds for young people in our area. We have about 60 to 70 beds on any given night in King County,” said Seattle City Council member Sally Clark. “So to lose 20 of those beds, that’s a big hit, especially knowing Orion turns kids away a lot of nights.”

YouthCare plans to seek additional funding from private donors in hopes of returning to a full-time facility.