With office seriously damaged in gas explosion, Huckleberry Youth Programs seeks neighbors' help

Last week's sudden gas line explosion and fire at Geary Blvd. and Parker Ave. in Laurel Heights impacted a slew of area businesses and residents, some of whom have lost their offices and homes.

Among their number was Huckleberry Youth Programs, whose administrative office at 3310 Geary Blvd. was directly adjacent to the site of the blaze. The youth services organization has been operating in San Francisco since 1967, and provides a variety of crisis services to youth age 11-17, from housing to counseling. 

No youth were inside Huckleberry's administrative office at the time of the explosion, and all staff were safely evacuated from the premises. But thanks to significant damage, "the building is not usable at this time," said Huckleberry marketing and events director Heather Mathews.

While there was some fire damage to the building's roof, the main issue is actually water damage from firefighters' hoses. The damage was particularly bad in the basement, where water accumulated around the office's computer equipment.

It's unclear how long it will take to fully repair the building. "We are currently assessing [the damage]," Mathews told Hoodline. "We're planning both a short- and long-term recovery."

In the meantime, administrative staff are squeezing into Huckleberry's other locations in the Upper Haight, at Page and Lyon and Cole and Haight streets. And they're asking donors to consider lending a helping hand to staff as they recover. 

The most urgently needed items, Mathews said, are laptops for staff. Cash donations are welcome to help cover costs for the new computers, as well as other incidental losses. Huckleberry is also accepting donations of wine and gifts for its annual fundraising auction and gala, which will be held on April 11.

Those interested in lending a hand can email Huckleberry staff at hyp@huckleberryyouth.org.

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