Investing in Futures

In March 2009, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced its support for a major initiative to end family homelessness in Washington State. At the request of Snohomish County Government and with the support of The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Building Changes, WDCSC has been coordinating a community-wide strategic planning process to transform systems and reduce family homelessness in Snohomish County by 50 percent over a six year period. The planning process is being informed by a Strategic Advisory Coordinating Committee comprised of community leaders representing government, nonprofit agencies, education, workforce development, and other community stakeholders.

As part of this strategic planning process, four documents have been produced:

The Snohomish County Investing in Families Landscape Assessment which provides a broad description of Snohomish County data about homeless families, the housing stock, prevention and intervention services, gaps in local services, and funding for these programs.  The Landscape Assessment was approved by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in March 2010.

The Snohomish County Investing in Families Strategic Plan which describes the goals and strategies being adopted to address gaps in services and end family homelessness in our community in alignment with our county’s 10 year plan to end homelessness and other key planning documents.  The Strategic Plan was approved by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Building Changes in June 2010.

The Snohomish County Investing in Families Implementation Plan which describes how the work will unfold under the guidance of the Strategic Advisory Coordinating Committee.  The committee will ensure the feasibility and effective implementation of the our efforts to transform systems and enhance services across human services disciplines for ending homelessness in our community.

In January of 2014, we refined and updated our plan in Snohomish County. The Snohomish County Investing in Futures (previously Families) Plan Refinement and Update details some key demographic trends, an overview of the work to date, and outlines pieces of ongoing work.

Investing in Families Snohomish County has established a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Snohomish County Human Services Department, Workforce Development Council Snohomish County, and service delivery partners. The MOU reflects the collaborative partnership between the agencies to effectively implement the Investing in Families Pilot Project and is a product of the highly collaborative effort described above. All partners commit to supporting the Investing in Families Pilot Project and ongoing efforts to create a high-performing system for ending family homelessness in Snohomish County.

The following agencies have signed the Investing in Families MOU: Snohomish County Human Services DepartmentWorkforce Development Council Snohomish CountyCatholic Community Services Western WashingtonEdmonds Community CollegeEverett Gospel MissionHousing HopeSnohomish County Legal ServicesVolunteers of America Western Washington Dispute Resolution CenterYWCA of Seattle-King-Snohomish Counties, andResCare Workforce Solutions.

The following agencies have signed the Employment Readiness Scale MOU: Catholic Community ServicesEdmonds Community CollegeHousing HopeResCareVolunteers of America Western Washington, and Workforce Snohomish.

Frequently Asked Questions about the management of the Investing in Futures pilot project.

  • As of fall 2014, investing in Futures has moved over to the Snohomish County Human Services Department. More details to follow.

Pilot Project Partnership Background Materials


Training Materials

Employment Readiness Scale Materials

Additional Information

  • More to come.

Investing in Futures Academy

Investing in Futures Academy enhances community capacity and effectiveness by developing the expertise of helping professionals in an evidence-based, comprehensive systems approach to addressing complex needs of vulnerable families and individuals.

Guiding Principles

  • Training and materials will be developed to foster expertise at all levels of the care system: Administrators, Supervisors, Front-line service delivery staff.
  • Training and materials will be offered in a variety of formats.
  • Training and materials will provide instruction utilizing an integrated, inter-disciplinary approach.
  • All development will be with the goals of being sustainable, continuously improved, and responsive to staff and community needs.


Systems Education
These topic specific modules provide detailed information needed to better understand and use specific community systems. Though primarily web-based and self guided, in-person training will be available.

Knowledge and Skill Building
Knowledge and skill training focused on evidenced-based practices, best practices, and industry identified effective practices for the target population of vulnerable families and individuals. Core areas include: motivational interviewing, dialectical behavior therapy, trauma informed care, and recovery from addiction. Instruction will be provided in-person by professional trainers.

Practice Communities
Service providers will engage in monthly Practice Communities to practice and enhance their skills in core areas of training. Expert facilitators will mentor and coach the group. Practice Communities groups are comprised of individuals from various disciplines.

Systems Education Modules

Community Education List

The Community Education List is an inventory of real-time classes, support groups, and other related opportunities in Snohomish County for which case managers and helping professionals can refer clients and customers. The Community Education List is not intended to be a comprehensive menu of services, only classes and other educational opportunities. The Community Yellow Pages is also not intended to be a complete listing of services, but rather an easy way to access select community information partners have been requesting to see in one location. Both of these documents were created per the request of partners. If you would like to suggest additions or changes, please email