Cocoon House has started a pop-up center at the Arlington Skate Park to provide local outreach to Smokey Point youth who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness.
The pop-up is available every Thursday from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. and provides snacks, socks, COVID-19 safety supplies and information on how to get additional support.
The organization serves youth age 12 to 24.
Cocoon House is a Snohomish County nonprofit that focuses on supporting youth who are homeless or housing unstable.
Staff at the organization have done outreach in the Smokey Point area but haven’t had a dedicated pop-up center there.
“We want a consistent re-occurring location, so youth will know where to go if they need help,” said Nicolas Quijano, director of services at the organization. “It’s our way of connecting to the youth in a specific area."
Staff had to pause their street outreach programs early in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic but began them again in June 2020.
The Arlington pop-up is one of Cocoon House's newer efforts.
“In Arlington Skate Park we have been doing pop-ups for a couple of weeks now,” said Sarah Allen, outreach specialist for Cocoon House. “We like to spread the word and awareness about our organization."
The pop-up center provides free snacks, cold weather gear, personal protective supplies, hand sanitizer and a variety of other items, said Allen.
“There is really a smorgasbord of supplies,” she said.
The pop-up is an opportunity to connect with the local community as well, said Allen.
“I already have a connection with two youth, and you can really build that trust there,” she said. “If someone is in trouble, they will hopefully call our Safe Place number. They might not need it now, but they might in the future."
Cocoon House provides resources across the county for youth between ages 12 to 24, said Quijano.
Cocoon House offers both general shelters and shelters specifically for pregnant teens or teen parents. The organization also provides services, including to those not residing in their shelters, that range from helping youth to find housing to resolving issues that are creating housing instability.
“We make sure that they are given the support to overcome barriers,” said Quijano.
Allen said Cocoon House is one of the only organizations to continue providing in-person services at this time as well.
“It’s really important for our population that we can meet with them in-person and do it safely, as well,” said Quijano.
Allen said she is happy to be out there to support local youth.
“It really is easy to stereotype or make assumptions about youth because of the way they dress and act,” she said. “This is really a great opportunity to work with the youth and create a better relationship."