Host Homes

TOGETHER! Host Homes Program is a community-based, short-term housing response to help meet the needs of unaccompanied high school students in North Thurston and Tumwater School Districts. Host Homes is a highly successful and innovative national model to address housing needs among houseless and at-risk youth by providing safe and affirming housing. TOGETHER! Host Homes Program will be the first of its kind in Thurston County and officially launched in January 2022.
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Thurston County Host Homes Program Mission

TOGETHER! provides safe, short-term host housing for unaccompanied high school students experiencing housing instability.

Thurston County Host Homes Program Vision

A community where all high school students have a safe and affirming home. 


TOGETHER! Host Homes Program is an option for safe, short-term host community-based housing paired with youth-driven case management and wraparound support for unaccompanied high school students experiencing housing instability in Thurston County. The goal of the TOGETHER! Host Homes Program is to intervene before youth experience chronic houselessness and to help students pursue educational goals, develop, and strengthen life skills, and eventually graduate from our program into safe and stable independent housing. This program model offers youth a choice for housing with community host volunteers. Youth agency is the core of the guest and host matching process. The length of student participation is determined “as needed” and agreed to by the guest and host.

Host Homes is perfectly aligned with our agency core values: 

  • Equity: All people deserve social, health, and educational equity.  
  • Community: We mobilize families, schools, and the community to solve community problems.  
  • Systems Change: We lead and support change across sectors to serve the needs of the whole child.  

Want to learn more about getting involved or just ask a question? Host Homes Program Director Vanessa Hurst would love to hear from you! Email her at

The Host Homes model is a community-driven effort to addressing youth homelessness or housing instability! Kim Rinehardt is the Executive Director of Mason County H.O.S.T Program and lead consultant on the TOGETHER! Host Homes development team. Kim, Advisory Council, and community partners are helping not only with the design of the program but also its development.

The Lacey Rotary Club not only identified a need within the North Thurston School District, but have also been supportive of the yearlong research by Margaret Tudor, Ph.D. and Yasemin Alptekin, Ph.D., on unaccompanied youth in the North Thurston School District as well as their advisory roles in the development of the county wide Host Homes program. The City of Tumwater and Tumwater School District have also been instrumental in the exploration of the host home model as a community intervention and strategy. The Community Foundation of South Puget Sound generously funded the development and implementation of the first phase of our Host Homes pilot project. Since then Host Homes has continued as a full-fledged program following the pilot phase. 

AS the program was developed and piloted, key Community Partners included:

Join an Upcoming Virtual Info Meeting

Want to learn more? We offer monthly virtual info meetings with program staff who present how to become a Host Home with time for questions at the end. Please email us and we can coordinate a time that works for your schedule to share about this unique program.

Who Can Host

Host Applicants must:

  • Be at least 21 years-old at time of application to the program. If a couple is applying jointly to Host, both individuals must meet the age requirement
  • Be Thurston County Residents for at least one year
  • Be able and willing to provide a private room and meals within their home
  • Be able to complete all required orientation trainings and be willing to attend any additional trainings as required
  • Have and maintain homeowner’s or renter’s insurance for the duration of volunteer service with the program
  • Undergo and pass a background check and reference check
  • Undergo and pass a home inspection
  • Host applicants can be identified by a young person or have no previous connection to the youth/young adult.

All individuals in the applying household must have a commitment to be affirming to and be willing to provide care and mentorship to youth in a way that promotes their dignity and respect. Hosts applicants can apply here

 Who Can Be Hosted

  • High School students enrolled in the North Thurston Public Schools or Tumwater School Districts.
  • Be 13 to 21 years of age
  • Have parent/legal guardian permission if under 18 years old
  • Pass a background check
  • Be willing to participate in the Host Homes Program

Students can apply here.

Want to Refer a Student for Host Homes?

Youth/ Young Adult applicants can self-refer or be referred by a high school counselor, navigator, social worker and/or community service provider. 

You can refer a student for the Host Homes Program here.


Contact our team to learn more about ways to get involved!

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