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San Francisco

Homeless Youth Alliance Amps Up Efforts To Find Brick-And-Mortar Space

Believe it or not, it's been a full year since the Homeless Youth Alliance was evicted from its place at Haight and Cole after 12 years in operation.The organization is still out there doing mobile outreach, despite the limitations on its capacity to provide vital services without a building to call home. In the meantime, organizers have made "33 inquiries to available listings, and have been turned down 33 times." 

Yesterday, Director Mary Howe and HYA announced that they're renewing efforts to secure a physical space from which to operate. They've launched a Crowdrise campaign called Go Big Or Go Homeless that hopes to raise $1 million in crowdfunding to help purchase a space and be "safe from the vagaries of the rental market, the tide of gentrification, and the whims of speculators eager to cash in on the city’s transforming landscape."  (The total campaign goal is $5 million.)

In short, they're pulling out all the stops and looking for a bigger space with improved facilities to meet all their needs as an organization. Items on their wish list include a medical room, multiple bathrooms and showers,  a kitchen, laundry, and office spaces for counselors. 

And yes, after 22 years in the neighborhood, HYA is trying to stay local:

The goal of our Go Big or Stay Homeless Campaign is to purchase a building in the Haight Ashbury. Our goal is to restore what the homeless kids of the Haight lost when we lost our lease: a welcoming indoor refuge, where they can get a hot meal, a shower, clean clothes, and where they can see a doctor, a therapist, and a case manager, all under one roof. We’ll be a jumping-off point for youth to get off the streets, into recovery, and living fulfilling lives.

In a Capital Campaign Statement, Howe talks about HYA's accomplishments despite its challenges: 

  • Placed 16 kids in permanent housing 
  • Held 240 one-on-one case management sessions
  • Held 300 therapy and psychiatry appointments with 168 unduplicated youth 
  • Reached thousands of youth during street outreach, distributing snacks, hygiene supplies, and safer sex supplies, and fostering trusting relationships 
  • Facilitated more than 70 sign-ups for General Assistance, CalFresh, and other life-saving benefits programs 
  • Facilitated 37 placements in inpatient rehabilitation programs and/or detox programs 
  • Provided rapid HIV testing onsite at our mobile needle exchange to 125 youth 
  • Conducted 250 Overdose Prevention, HIV Prevention, and Safer Injection trainings at our mobile needle exchange 
Howe said she's not at liberty to talk about the specific building they have in mind at this time, but they're definitely focused on the Haight. 

If you're interested in donating, or reading more HYA success stories, here's the link. Alternately, you can mail checks to: 

Tides Center/Homeless Youth Alliance
P.O. Box 170427
San Francisco, CA 94117

We'll keep you posted on HYA's progress towards a possible permanent location. 
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