SAN FRANCISCO—Mayor Edwin M. Lee and Supervisor Jeff Sheehy announced on Monday, June 12, that $1.54 million in additional funding for services to support San Francisco’s youth, especially those impacted by homelessness. According to a press release from the Mayor’s Office, funding will allow increased hours at youth centers, and an expansion of outreach teams and support for rental subsidy programs.
“This is a critical time for many of our young residents, which is why it is important that they receive vital services they need,” said Mayor Lee. “We want to create an environment where our youth can succeed and move toward safe, stable living situations. We have an obligation to support, encourage and develop our next generation of San Francisco residents. My proposed budget is a reflection of that commitment.”
The additional funds includes $289,000 for increased drop-in hours at the San Francisco LGBT Center, $350,000 for expanded outreach services for homelessness youth and $906,000 for housing subsidies for young adults in need. They will benefit Transition Age Youth (TAY) in San Francisco. TAY is an organization that assists individuals between the ages of 18 and 24 who are homeless or in danger of homelessness, have dropped out of high school, have a disability or other special needs, and are low-income parents, among several other considerations. New allocations for TAY are part of Mayor Lee’s proposed two-year budget and showcase a large overall investment in youth programs. For the 2017-2018 Fiscal year, Mayor Lee has pledged over $22.6 million from the General Fund for TAY initiatives, and the 2018-2019 Fiscal Year includes $23.3 million from the General Fund in TAY programs.
“Nearly half of all homeless youth identify as LGBTQ,” said District 8 Supervisor Jeff Sheehy, whose district includes the Castro and the SF LGBT Center. “With intolerance on the rise on the national level, it is crucial that San Francisco remain a place of acceptance and tolerance for those fleeing unsafe spaces. Mayor Lee’s investment will help support and provide a path forward for our most vulnerable residents.”
“Young people are the future of our city, and it is unacceptable that some of our children and young adults are homeless and in need of services they are not getting,” said Board of Supervisors President London Breed. “This proposed increase in budget funding would help fill that gap. It is only right that we take this extra step to provide for this vulnerable population that we have a responsibility to protect and care for.”
The $350,000 investment in outreach services will fund a new outreach coordinator at the Larkin Street Youth Services headquarters and pay for new resources and increased staffing for outreach teams that interact with young residents dealing with homelessness. Outreach teams go out on the streets in the Castro and Haight-Ashbury to talk with local youth and offer them support and counseling, while delivering information on how to move off the streets and into stable homes.
“The Mayor’s expanded investments to benefit some of our most vulnerable young people is inspiring,” said Jeff Kositsky, director of the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing. “We will leverage these investments with the HUD Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program funds to identify specific ways to strengthen existing collaborations that build on the priorities identified by youth and community stakeholders: launching youth coordinated entry, creating low-barrier programs and flexible housing models.”
“Larkin Street Youth Services is grateful for the Mayor’s investment in LGBTQ young people experiencing homelessness,” said Sherilyn Adams, Executive Director of Larkin Street Youth Services. “Since launching the Castro Youth Housing Initiative in 2004, Larkin Street has worked in partnership with other nonprofit providers to ensure wraparound services for LGBTQ youth, who are dramatically over-represented among those experiencing homelessness and have their own unique needs. This infusion of funding demonstrates the City’s commitment to expanding outreach, engagement, and housing for LGBTQ youth who are seeking safety and sanctuary in San Francisco. Recognizing and resourcing the needs of our most vulnerable community members is an investment in the wellbeing of our entire city.”
The SF LGBT Community Center will see extended operating hours from the $289,000 in extra funds. The budget will support the expansion of the center’s youth meal program.
“LGBTQ youth come to San Francisco in search of acceptance and community, but unfortunately many end up in extremely disadvantaged situations,” said SF LGBT Center Executive Director Rebecca Rolfe. “The additional funding will allow the Center to expand our current services supporting youth with the resources and tools they need to get off the streets, build community, and thrive.”
Over $906,000 in additional funds for rental subsidies will allow provide 94 youth clients to receive housing support. On June 1, Mayor Lee presented his two-year balanced budget, which included a $10 billion outline for Fiscal Year 2017-2018 and a $10 billion outline for Fiscal Year 2018-2019. He has made homelessness and harm reduction a centerpiece of his proposed budget.