Teaming Up with Teen Feed
TeamChild staff in our 4 regional offices are working to meet youth where they are in the community. Since the pandemic, that can look different in each community depending on their needs. In King County, the legal team has been partnering with Teen Feed which runs drop in services throughout the week at Roots Young Adult Shelter in the University District, to offer legal clinics twice a month since November of 2022.
Teen Feed meets the basic and urgent needs of young people experiencing homelessness in Seattle through a warm and nutritious daily dinner, giving them access to basic needs such as clothing, first aid supplies and hygiene products, all while building community around and with the youth, through client-led and harm reduction focused care! Teen Feed connects with young people in the University District through trauma informed approaches during street outreach, establishes relationships with youth new to unhoused survival, building those relationships up through the nightly dinner program, and supporting individual young people in their unique goals and priorities through case management called SLY- Service Links for Youth. Teen Feed has been a trusted and consistent daily resource for young people in the University District for over 30 years, powered overwhelmingly by volunteers and valued collaboration with public institutions, nonprofits, foundations, and fellow service providers to support youth opportunities and youth voice.
Young people experiencing homelessness can get assistance obtaining state identification, healthcare enrollment, housing support, amongst a variety of other legal issues when they attend drop-in hours the first and third Thursdays of the month from 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. TeamChild attorneys are available to complete intakes and hear more first-hand about the issues that young people in our community are facing. Access to civil legal aid can often feel intimidating and unavailable, and so TeamChild prioritizes meeting the population we work with in places where they receive services and feel safe.
In recent months we were able to reconnect with a client who had been served previously in another TeamChild office. It can take time for a young person to reach out with their questions. By returning to the same location for a period of months we have opportunities to potentially assist someone with a short-term need on any given day or to get to know the young people in that community so that they can share challenges as they feel ready. While youth at Teen Feed are likely experiencing housing instability, we may learn of other barriers to accessing education or healthcare. Depending on the circumstances, we may advise a client on an ongoing basis.
Providing legal services at TeenFeed has been an amazing opportunity to develop a deeper relationship with a community partner who sees and works with our clients each day. We’ve also been able to share space and build relationships with our clients directly within community, removing as many barriers as possible that might stand in the way of these young people accessing legal services. – Grete Schultz, Managing Attorney – King County office of TeamChild.