Imprint Author

Elizabeth Amon

Elizabeth Amon is a freelance reporter based in Seattle, Washington and can be reached at [email protected]

4/19/2021

Keyon’s Case Heads to Washington Supreme Court
After the child was placed with strangers, his family fought the system on two fronts

3/23/2021

Program Helping Homeless Students on Washington College Campuses Seeks to Expand During Pandemic
Illustration by Christine Ongjoco

For three years, Jaysa Cooper focused only on the 24 hours ahead, unsure where she would sleep and whether she’d be able to eat. The 21-year-old couch-surfed with friends and family or slept in her car in and around Yakima, where she was born and raised.

3/15/2021

Washington State Aims to Better Serve Diverse Homeless Youth in Prevention Programs
Milo Edwards, 19, was among the advisers who helped inform the report published by the Office of Homeless Youth. Photo courtesy of Edwards

In January, when a preliminary report identifying gaps in state-led programs to prevent youth homelessness was released in Washington state, it was clear who was being left out or ill-served: youth of color and those with disabilities.

2/22/2021

Behavioral Health Funding for Washington Homeless Youth in Jeopardy

When Spokane’s Crosswalk teen shelter hired behavioral health counselor Kaitlyn Lee last year with money from a new state grant, part of her job was to shoot pool in the common room with the teenagers.

2/8/2021

New Washington State Senator’s Bill for Foster Kids Advances with Unanimous Support
T’wina Nobles’ first bill, requiring campus assistance for students in foster care, passed the state Senate this week. Photo courtesy of Nobles

Early legislation by a new Washington state senator — a trailblazing former foster youth who rose up from homelessness to lead her Tacoma area district in the capital — has passed out of the Senate with unanimous bipartisan support, a bill to help the most vulnerable children get through school.

2/1/2021

Washington Youth Flex Lobbying Might on Rights of Native Americans, Homelessness and Foster Youth

When teens and young adults who’ve lived through homelessness and foster care gather this year to tell Washington state policymakers what their peers need most, the youth advocates will have three priorities: they want lawyers for every foster child, a task force to focus on the experience of Native Americans and better support for the newly independent.

1/29/2021

Washington State Sued for ‘Warehousing’ Foster Youth with Disabilities in Hotels, Offices
Illustration by Christine Ongjoco

In a lawsuit filed this week in federal court, advocates say Washington state’s practice of placing foster youth in hotels and government offices overnight, housing them in group homes, and sending them out of state has left hundreds of children with behavioral health and developmental disabilities essentially homeless.

1/27/2021

Tacoma Youth, Young Adults Find Shelter During Pandemic
In one of the nation's hottest real estate markets, an innovative housing projects keeps youth and young adults out of homelessness

1/18/2021

Rocky Start for Washington Law Forbidding Discharges to Homelessness
A state law passed in 2018 was supposed to end the practice of youth exiting foster care into homelessness, and better protect homeless youth who are at risk of physical and sexual assault, human trafficking and emotional trauma.

12/21/2020

Seattle-Area New Homelessness Authority Centers Lived Experience
A homeless camps with tents and tarp shelter under a bridge. Photo: 123rf.com

For more than 20 years, Seattle and King County have struggled to respond to the city’s homelessness crisis, which has grown to include more than 11,700 unsheltered people.

12/13/2020

A New Call for Humane Treatment of Washington Foster Youth Sleeping in Hotels and Offices
Illustration by Christine Ongjoco

The number of nights that hundreds of Washington’s foster youth are left essentially homeless has skyrocketed in the last year to 1,863. 

For yet another year, the Ombuds office, which oversees the Department of Children, Youth and Families has released an annual report condemning the state agency for the continuing rise of “placement exceptions” that leave children sleeping in hotels, on cots in government buildings, and at times even in social workers’ cars. 

11/15/2020

Washington State Program Aims to End Youth Homelessness in Four Counties By End of Next Year

She had been homeless and struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts over three difficult years, when Elsa St Clair was released in January from an Idaho psychiatric hospital.

Today, the 24-year-old enjoys a reliable internet connection in a Spokane apartment that she’s decorated with the flag of Eastern Washington University, where she hopes to study nursing.

11/11/2020

Second Black Senator in Washington History Rose From Youth Homelessness
T’wina Nobles will soon be sworn in as the second Black senator in the history of the Washington legislature. Photo courtesy of Nobles

Washington’s newest state senator-elect from the 28th District defies one troubling statistic after another: T’wina Nobles will become the only Black member of the Senate and the first to be elected to the Legislature in a decade.

10/21/2020

Homeless in the Washington Foster Care System: Kids Left Behind After the Last Recession
This West Seattle office building housed youth overnight when the Department of Children, Youth, and Families could not find a placement for them. Photo courtesy of Espen James

The prosperity in Seattle that followed the 2008 Great Recession led to record home sales along Lake Washington and new Teslas on the roads, but the dwindling investments in housing the state’s most vulnerable foster youth are now leaving hundreds essentially homeless in the state’s care.

10/1/2020

Homeless and in Foster Care: Hundreds of Washington Youth Sleeping in Offices, Hotel Rooms and Even Cars
Illustration by Christine Ongjoco

Since early April, 16-year-old Espen James has spent most nights in Washington’s foster care system being shuttled from a government office by day to hotels by night.

9/20/2020

Student Homelessness Prevented on Washington College Campuses As New School Year Commences
Brianna Franco, a communications major at Seattle Pacific University, has received assistance from a state-funded program to prevent homelessness, Passport to College. Photo courtesy of Franco.

In March, as college campuses nationwide began shutting down to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus and students fled home to their childhood bedrooms, foster youth and the homeless had potentially everything to lose if they were forced to turn in their dorm keys.

9/3/2020

Legal Victory for Native Communities in Washington State Child Welfare Case
Judge Raquel Montoya-Lewis is the first Native American justice to serve on the Washington Supreme Court. Photo courtesy of the Office of Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.

Citing the devastating history of the government-sponsored destruction of Native families, the Washington Supreme Court ruled Thursday that courts must use “a broad interpretation” in determining whether children facing removal from their parents have American Indian heritage.