The University District community includes as much as one-third of King County’s homeless youth over any given year. It’s a neighborhood where a food bank and youth shelter are available, and where young people on the streets can blend in.
Now the University of Washington, in a partnership among Urban@UW, faculty, students and community service agencies – and with $1 million in state funding over two years – is launching The Doorway Project, an effort to establish a neighborhood hub and navigation center specifically for homeless young people. The Doorway Project will bring youth in the U District together with UW faculty and students to develop plans for a hub starting with a pop-up café on Dec. 3 in the parking lot of the University Heights Community Center – the first of four such events that organizers hope will lead to plans for permanent site next year.
“A public university has a mandate to have a larger impact on these kinds of problems,” said Josephine Ensign, a professor in the UW School of Nursing and coordinator of The Doorway Project. “But it shouldn’t be an ivory tower, think-tank solution; it needs to involve public scholarship, informed by the public and impacting the public.”
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