Photo: Rendering of Cocoon House’s new Colby Avenue Youth Center in Everett, Wash. Courtesy of Cocoon House.
Cocoon House, in Everett, Wash., broke ground today on their new Colby Avenue Youth Center that will further their capacity to serve homeless youth and families in Snohomish County.
Joe Alonzo, interim CEO of Cocoon House, opened the ceremony by welcoming members of the community and gave an overview of the capital campaign that funded the $14.2 million project.
The new facility will not only expand the ability for Cocoon House to be a service location for young people, it will expand programming to become the only housing program of its kind in Snohomish county dedicated to serving people age 12-24 years.
“This can truly change our community,” said Cassie Franklin, mayor of Everett and former CEO of Cocoon House. “[The facility will give] youth the opportunity to grow to their fullest potential.”
Premera Blue Cross invested $1.6 million through the Premera Social Impact program to support the construction of the new facility in downtown Everett. The investment is a way for the philanthropic program to work toward their fundamental goal of improving healthcare in the community by addressing behavioral health issues.
Speaking at the ceremony, Steve Kipp, vice president of Corporate Communications at Premera, highlighted key statistics about how homelessness is a healthcare issue. “In short, putting a roof over someone’s head is the best thing you can possibly do for a person’s health and well-being,” said Kipp.
LeAnne Harrington, vice president of Operations at Premera and board member of Cocoon House, was overwhelmed with emotion when Kipp shared the news with her that the nonprofit received this grant. “The Cocoon House team has worked tirelessly on raising funds for the capital campaign and with this grant from Premera the goal was achieved,” Harrington said.
Planning for the youth center began in 2016 and Cocoon House leadership and volunteers launched a capital campaign to pay for the center. The original goal was to raise $13 million to build a new multi-functional facility designed to support its seamless continuum of care in one location. Due to increased expenses and a rise in construction costs, the project total increased to $14.2 million, leaving the Capital Campaign fund with a deficit.
“We are honored to have been identified and selected by Premera for this special capital gift and for their continued support of our programs,” said Alonzo.
Construction on the Colby Avenue Youth Center is slated for completion in summer 2019.
In 2017, Cocoon House also received a $150,000 Premera Social Impact grant to ensure continued operations of programs that use trauma informed approaches to outreach and empower at-risk and homeless young people throughout Snohomish County.
Bo Jungmayer is in Corporate Communications at Premera Blue Cross.