Give youth experiencing homelessness in the Haight-Ashbury a safe place to access the services they need to transform their lives.

Give youth experiencing homelessness in the Haight-Ashbury a safe place to access the services they need to transform their lives. image

$84,325

raised towards $5,000,000 goal

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Eight years after Homeless Youth Alliance's permanent, full-time drop-in site was forced to close on Christmas Day 2013, we are relaunching our capital campaign because we cannot let another generation of young people experiencing homelessness in the Haight go without adequate access to the services they need to build healthy, fulfilling lives.

Why Our Participants Need A Permanent, Full-Time Drop-In Site

Without a full-time drop-in site accessible to our participants, HYA has been forced for the better part of the past decade to distribute supplies, conduct case management, and even hold psychiatry sessions in public settings, such as on park benches and street corners. While our dedicated Outreach Team and Mental Health Team have done their best to make the most of very difficult circumstances, the fact remains that the lack of adequate facilities does act as a barrier to our participants receiving the services they so urgently need.

A permanent, full-time drop-in site also gives young people experiencing homelessness a safe place to go where they know they will receive help during moments of crisis. Having spent years cultivating trust among the most marginalized members of our community, HYA has a well-earned reputation as an organization that will always offer assistance without judgment and that will be there for the young people of the Haight no matter what.

Youth Homelessness Becomes Adult Homelessness

A hypothetical youth experiencing homelessness in the Haight who was 16 years old at the time HYA's permanent drop-in site closed would now be 24 and, if still experiencing homelessness, would be on the verge of being counted as a member of the adult homeless population. Research consistently shows that people who experience homelessness in their youth are much more likely to experience homelessness, including chronic homelessness, as an adult. And those figures do not even account for the devastatingly large number of young people experiencing homelessness who tragically do not survive into adulthood. We simply cannot let another generation of youth experiencing homelessness in the Haight go without access to adequate facilities because the services HYA offers do not just change lives, they save lives.

If we truly want to end homelessness, we must attack it where it starts. And that means giving youth experiencing homelessness access to the services they need to survive in the short term and to transform their lives over the long run.

What Our Drop-In Site Would Provide

HYA has identified several properties in the Haight that have the potential to serve as our future drop-in site. We are searching for an easily accessible, centrally located, ADA-compliant facility with room to house both our drop-in site and our administrative offices in one location. Our drop-in site would include hygiene facilities such as bathrooms and showers as well as private spaces for receiving medical and mental-health care and for conducting case management. Participants would be able to access food, water, and harm-reduction supplies, as well as receive referrals to resources for housing, education, employment, substance-use-treatment programs, and more. Perhaps equally important, the drop-in site would serve as a safe place for youth experiencing homelessness to get off the streets and enjoy a sense of community and belonging.

We Know What Works And What Doesn't

We know what works and what doesn't when it comes to combating youth homelessness. Offering adequate access to food, water, sanitation, medical and mental-health services, and housing referrals works. Criminalizing, re-traumatizing, and further marginalizing our society's most vulnerable members does not.

Homeless Youth Alliance stands ready to do the hard work of meeting youth experiencing homelessness in the Haight where they are at and guiding them in the process of defining and transforming their own lives. But we need your help to give them the facilities they need and deserve. Please contribute to our Capital Campaign today!