South King County youth shelter reopens after 4-year closure

Nexus Youth and Families intends to shelter a minimum of 225 under 18 youth

  • Thursday, March 15, 2018 12:18pm
  • News
Michelle Hankinson. COURTESY PHOTO

Michelle Hankinson. COURTESY PHOTO

For the Reporter

A place of refuge for under 18 runaway and homeless youth has reopened and hopes to fill a community need that South King County has not responded to for more than four years.

In October 2014, the Auburn shelter, known as SKYS (South King Youth Shelter) closed for lack of adequate funding to maintain a 24-hour staffed shelter resource. As a result, youth in the area of greatest need in King County, with the highest rates of poverty and youth homelessness, had no option for safe shelter in their own community.

“We’re so relieved King County has decided to help reopen this facility. We’ve seen so many young people from South King County be turned away because of lack of resources for under 18 youth,” said Michelle Hankinson, director of Homeless Services at Nexus Youth and Families.

Nexus Youth and Families has provided shelter services, intensive case management services, individual, group and family counseling, substance abuse education and treatment and aftercare services for more than 45 years. The Auburn-based nonprofit will run the shelter with county support and intends to provide a minimum of 225 runaway and homeless youth with shelter services over the next three years.

The goal will have a dramatic effect on the runaway and homeless youth population in the South King County area. The shelter will provide comprehensive services and build strong trusting and support relationships. Nexus is hopeful that a high percentage of the youth will be reunited with families or will be transitioned to stable housing. Their strength-based approach is centered upon encouraging youth to utilize their talents and abilities to move forward with their lives.

For more information on SKYS, or if you have a referral, please call 253-350-0836.

Nexus Youth and Families (formerly Auburn Youth Resources) is a nonprofit committed to youth and their better future in the greater South King County area. It addresses behavioral health, housing and other needs of at-risk and in-crisis youth, young adults and their families.

Learn more at

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