Support homeless Youth of Color with ROOTS

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ROOTS Young Adult Shelter

Shelter lies behind these blue doors!

African Americans occupy nearly 30 percent of shelter beds in Seattle, but are only seven percent of the population. Forty percent of adults without homes said that they first experienced homelessness as a young adult. ROOTS Young Adult Shelter is working to free young adults from this cycle of oppression. Racial justice starts here.

ROOTS is located in the University District just off the Ave. With 45 beds, we are the largest homeless youth shelter in Washington and work with young adults, 18-25 years old, 365 days a year.

We are advocates for power, freedom, and justice for our guests and volunteers. ROOTS is a place for progress. We provide feedback sessions for our guests and volunteers of color. An array of social advocacy trainings empowers our volunteers to engage with guests compassionately. Becoming a volunteer will help us strengthen our community and empower black young adults.

Activist Positions:

Evening Volunteer (8pm-11pm; any day of the week): This team works with the overnight volunteers to engage with guests while setting up the shelter, completing intake paperwork for new guests, and distributing hygiene supplies. Evening Volunteers work directly with our guests and help ensure the emotional and physical safety of the space. Guests and volunteers often play Uno, talk about their day and share their favorite new hobbies during this shift.

Dinner Meal Teams (7:30pm-11pm; any day of the week): These 3 to 5 volunteers come in every night and prepare meals, serve dinner and clean up our kitchen. We encourage our Dinner Meal Team to bring in food that they want to prepare in our kitchen. Serving warm meals in our own kitchen every evening is something we find deeply rewarding.

Overnight Volunteer (8pm-8:30am Sat-Thurs; 8pm-9:30am Fri): This crew works closely with Evening Crew and our guests. Overnight Volunteers are there to help with any of the Evening Crew tasks and engage with our guests. After lights out, at 10:30 pm, Overnight Volunteers rotate through 2-hour "awake" shifts, sleeping the rest of the time with bedding and a mat we provide. During each "awake" shift, the Overnight Volunteer is responsible for helping to monitor the space, doing walk-arounds of the room every 10 minutes, being available for guests who require emergency assistance, and completing guest laundry. In the morning, Overnight volunteers work with the Morning Floor team to help our guests start their day. This is a great way to spend the most time impacting your community and building connections.

Breakfast Crew: (6:15-8:30am Sun-Fri; 6:45-9:00am Sat): This team of 3 to 4 to come in every morning to hot breakfast, serve guests, and clean up our kitchen. Volunteers typically bring the food that they prepare during their shift and are encouraged to create dishes they love. Breakfast Crew makes the meal that starts each guest’s day off right.

Morning Floor (6:45am-8:30am Sun-Fri; 7:15am-9:30am Sat): This

team of volunteers come in every morning to engage with our guests while distributing hygiene supplies and cleaning up the shelter space. They work directly with our guests to create a safe space for everyone both physically and emotionally. Morning Volunteers build connections with their community and create a positive way for our guests to start their day.

Want to get started? You must fill out an application and attend an orientation before you volunteer! This is a crucial step to receive your welcome packet and get everything you'll need before your first night! You can find the volunteer application here: Orientations are held the second Wednesday of each month. Email to RSVP!

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About ROOTS Young Adult Shelter


1415 NE 43rd Street, Seattle, WA 98105, US

Mission Statement

Rising Out of the Shadows (ROOTS) is a University District organization based in compassion and committed to social justice that fosters change and empowers human potential by providing critical services to street-involved, homeless, and other low-income persons and through supporting service providers and faith communities in creating a comprehensive network.


The ROOTS Young Adult Shelter (YAS) serves homeless individuals between the ages of 18 and 25 and is the only shelter program in Seattle specifically addressing the needs of homeless young adults. These young people are too old to access youth shelter programs but often feel unwelcome or threatened in emergency programs serving older single adults. YAS services include: clean bedding and sheets; dinner and hot breakfast; healthy and hygiene supplies and services, including laundry and showers; onsite case management and referral to other support and transitional services; visits by healthcare providers, including public health nurse and acupuncturist; educational materials related to risk avoidance, harm reduction, and other area programs; supportive and nurturing relationships between program staff and guests.


We'll work with your schedule.


1415 NE 43rd StSeattle, WA 98105




  • People 55+
  • Group


  • Background Check
  • Must be at least 18
  • Orientation or Training
  • 3 to 6 months
  • Volunteers 15 - 17 welcome, with the accompaniment of a parent or guardian.

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