Mayor Todd Gloria Thursday announced new partnerships between the city and three nonprofit organizations to bolster programs helping young people who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness.
The new shelter and outreach opportunities will specifically target transition-age youth — people between the ages of 18 and 24 who are experiencing homelessness or transitioning from state custody or foster care. That group makes up 10% of San Diego’s unsheltered homeless population, according to the San Diego Regional Task Force on the Homeless’ 2020 Point-in- Time Count.
The three organizations the city is partnering with are Urban Street Angels, San Diego Youth Services and San Diego LGBT Community Center.
“Living on the streets at any age can have traumatizing effects on a person’s health and mental well-being, so it’s important that we do everything we can to intervene and help these young people before they experience some of the long-term issues associated with homelessness,” Gloria said. “Targeting our investments toward programs and services focused on prevention will help us end chronic homelessness.”
Using Homeless Emergency Aid Program (HEAP) funds granted by the state and previously allocated by the city to serve this population, the San Diego Housing Commission has executed contracts to provide the following services in the city:
— Urban Street Angels: $305,400 for the addition of 19 beds for transition-age youth at the Urban Street Angels Center in downtown and support of a hotel voucher program for certain cases;
— San Diego Youth Services: $172,740 for the addition of four beds to the existing eight-bed Youth Emergency Shelter program for minors, expansion of the five “SafeTAY Network” beds to now operate five nights per week versus the previously available two-night stay option and support of a hotel voucher program; and
— San Diego LGBT Community Center: $65,000 for a homeless outreach worker to prioritize LGBTQ transition-age youth but will also serve all transition-age youth.
“My district, which includes downtown, has long been the epicenter of San Diego’s homelessness crisis,” said Stephen Whitburn, city council president pro tem. “Solving the homelessness crisis in our city and region is my number-one priority — and youth homelessness is often an unseen symptom of that crisis. These programs and resources will provide the necessary tools to ensure that our youth can get the support they need to become and remain housed.”
Urban Street Angels is a nonprofit organization founded in 2012 to help tackle youth homelessness in San Diego. It works exclusively with transition-age youth. Most program clients have experienced years of abuse, trauma and harsh conditions while living on the streets. In the programs, homeless youth receive housing, support and training to leave the streets behind for good.
The San Diego LGBT Community Center enhances and sustains the health and well-being of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, transgender, nonbinary, immigrant and HIV communities.
San Diego Youth Services provides safe places to live and long-term solutions through shelter, foster homes, community centers and housing.
–City News Service