How We Started
In 2004, community partners came together to discuss the increasing number of young people without homes in Washington County. Police officers were picking up youth with no addresses, teachers were learning of more and more ‘couch surfers’ and social services were seeing younger people, who were intimidated by a system designed for adults, and the faith community wanted to help, but didn’t know the best method. Portland has a well developed system of services, but these are designed for a more street-acculturated, urban, not suburban youth – plus it was too far for many to travel.
In response to this concerning issue leaders from each of the sectors (law enforcement, schools, social services, and faith) asked what could be done, as a community, to best serve young people experiencing housing instability and homelessness. A free, safe space was envisioned, where youth could build supportive relationships with adults, access on-site resources, and gain referrals to other services which are often difficult to navigate.
Finally, with a $3,000 start-up grant, the organization's founding Executive Director, Bridget Calfee, a steering committee, and numerous volunteers created HomePlate Youth Services. On April 14, 2005 HomePlate hosted the first weekly drop-in night in Hillsboro providing a free meal and resources, 116 youth were served that first year. As this grass roots project proved to be successful and meet an unmet need, HomePlate applied and became a 501(c)3 non-profit in 2007.
In September of 2011 the second drop-in night in Hillsboro was opened and then in October of 2012 the addition of a third drop-in night in Beaverton. After years of sharing donated office space in several locations, in September of 2016 HomePlate rented a house in central Beaverton that also operates as a place where youth can meet with all the staff in one place. The Day Space Tuesday afternoon drop-in started in October of 2016 and was followed by moving Monday night drop-in to the Beaverton First United Methodist Church near the Day Space. At the Day Space youth can access shower and laundry facilities, receive food, clothing, hygiene supplies, and access employment services and housing referrals.