On Nov. 14, the Tableau Foundation and the Seattle Seahawks announced a new collaboration with A Way Home Washington (AWHWA). AWHWA's mission is to prevent and end youth and young adult (YYA) homelessness throughout Washington. This partnership will champion AWHWA's data-driven approach to addressing homelessness and raise awareness about the plight of young people who are experiencing homelessness on their own throughout the state.
An estimated 13,000 to 15,000 unaccompanied young people in Washington, ages 12 to 24, are experiencing homelessness — the equivalent of nearly a quarter of the state's entire high school graduation class per year. In partnership with local communities, AWHWA works to functionally end homelessness, with a specific focus on prioritizing young people of color and LGBTQ+ youth who experience homelessness at higher rates than their white, straight, cisgender peers.
The circumstances that lead to youth homelessness vary from person to person, but in most cases, social disparities, biases and the absence of a support system and resources are primary factors between those who experience homelessness and those who do not. Because these circumstances can vary so greatly, AWHWA supports the use of 'human-centered' data to inform and help guide solutions tailored to individual YYA circumstances. Data also plays a role to identify whether entire systems are moving to end homelessness and gauge which interventions are really working.
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These approaches are encapsulated in AWHWA's flagship program, the Anchor Community Initiative (ACI), which began in Pierce, Spokane, Walla Walla, and Yakima counties. In each Anchor Community, a diverse coalition brings together all parts of a community with partners committing to work across systems and silos, sticking with their collective approach until they have functionally ended homelessness. This means that when a young person says they need support, a community is able to support them in finding safe, stable housing.
Each community's plan and approach is unique and typically covers a prevention network, emergency response, housing and supportive resources, treatment services, employment, and educational attainment. In partnership with the Office of Homeless Youth, AWHWA seeks to support systems transformation that is data-informed, performance-based, and equity-driven. Already, the Walla Walla ACI reduced YYA homelessness by 20 percent in the last six months and the Spokane community has become the largest community in the United States to achieve a reduction in YYA homelessness. In partnership with Tableau and the Seahawks, AWHWA is expanding the Anchor Communities Initiative to reach additional communities.
Tableau has also supported AWHWA's work through a $1.26M donation and the Tableau Foundation connected AWHWA with Keyrus, a global data and digital consultancy, to provide additional information used to enhance AWHWA's data-driven aspect. As a result, AWHWA built a dashboard examining the impact of COVID-19 on young adults in Washington. Drawing on the Household Pulse Survey, the dashboard highlights the impacts of the pandemic on 18- to 24-year-olds in terms of housing and food security, mental health, and employment. This analysis resulted in the compelling finding that young adults in Washington are faring worse than every other age group in the state, with young people of color being most severely and disproportionately impacted.
"AWHWA's data-driven approach to preventing and ending YYA homelessness in the state is something that really resonated with us in the Seahawks organization," said Jeff Richards, Vice President of Marketing & Community Engagement for the Seattle Seahawks. "We know how clearly communicated insights keep our teams moving in the right direction on and off the field. The same is true for community organizations working together to make sure young people have a safe place to call home and the support needed to thrive."
Over the years, the Seahawks have supported a variety of organizations addressing homelessness in the community. Events and initiatives with partners like the Allen Family Center, Plymouth Housing, and Mary's Place have allowed the Seahawks organization to contribute to homelessness prevention in Seattle first-hand. The Seahawks are now excited to partner with AWHWA and contribute to the impact the organization is making statewide.
As part of the partnership, the Seahawks hosted and celebrated several direct service providers from the Anchor Communities at the Seahawks game on Nov. 21. The group also had the opportunity to talk with Seahawks Legend Lofa Tatupu. Throughout the pandemic, local homeless service providers across the state have worked tirelessly to support young people in need, and it is important to the Seahawks that their work be recognized.
"Welcoming the ACI partners to Lumen Field was our way of saying 'thank you' to those who have given so much of themselves to help others," said Richards.
The Seahawks, along with Seahawks Legend Lofa Tatupu, hosted and celebrated several direct service providers from the Anchor Community Initiative (ACI) during Week 11 vs. the Arizona Cardinals on November 21, 2021 at Lumen Field. The initiative is a collaboration between the Tableau Foundation and the Seattle Seahawks with A Way Home Washington (AWHWA), aimed at preventing and ending youth and young adult (YYA) homelessness throughout Washington