As of January 2017, we raised nearly $9 million out of our $10 million goal for this campaign. In addition to our regular fundraising activities for operational and program support, this capital provides for ambitious new projects which are now underway, including:
Over 1,500 young people sleep on San Francisco's streets every night. They're fleeing from abuse and neglect. Without support, they face a dangerous future: poverty, jail, violence, death.
For over 30 years, Larkin Street Youth Services has helped homeless and runaway youth find a better path. Three out of four who complete Larkin Street programs exit the streets.
Today, it takes more to get off the streets, so we're setting our bar higher, with bold new goals to make a permanent difference in the lives of the youth who need our help.
We've launched the Larkin Street Growth Campaign because homeless kids deserve the same opportunities we want for our own children: stable housing, a solid career path, health and happiness.
"I was sleeping in the park when I met an outreach worker who told me about Larkin Street. From that day on, my life changed for the better. Having a roof over my head and supportive staff has allowed me to see my potential. My main focus used to be finding my next meal. Now I'm focused on my education. Larkin Street gave me a future."
-Elbert, formerly homeless young adult
The Bay Area is booming, but not everyone is benefiting. San Francisco housing prices are the highest in the nation, and competition for jobs is brutal. Employers expect entry-level applicants to have at least two years of college. Today, the climb out of homelessness to a place of self-sufficiency is steeper than ever.
We are tripling our impact so that the new economy does not leave homeless youth behind.
Innovation has always been part of our DNA. Our new, intensive programs will connect more youth to counseling and services, increase the number who get college degrees and move into real careers, and make sure that more youth heal from the trauma.
As income inequality gets more entrenched, a young person with only a GED is often just one paycheck away from homelessness. Evidence shows that today’s bachelor’s degree is yesterday’s high school diploma. Employers expect entry-level applicants to have at least two years of college, but tougher educational standards in the Bay Area make a high-school diploma or GED harder to attain.
No single profile exists for homeless youth, but the majority share histories of abuse and neglect, often followed by difficult experiences in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. Estranged from their families and distrustful of official support, they can be reluctant to access basic emergency care or health care services for substance abuse and mental health. Those who have run away from a foster care or group-home placement are afraid of being turned in. As a result, they are one of the hardest to reach segments of the homeless population.
When mental illness goes undiagnosed and untreated, homeless youth are more likely to access crisis services requiring institutionalization. Their ability to stabilize and rebuild their lives is limited. Without timely and comprehensive intervention, they are at risk of becoming San Francisco’s next generation of chronically homeless adults.
Every time a young person walks into our facilities or interacts with a staff person, we want them to know they are valued. That means we have to be at our best as an organization, too. Maintaining a healthy, efficient, up-to-date organization requires constant diligence. As we implement important, comprehensive changes to our case management, education, employment and youth advocacy programs, we must back that up with a stronger, more efficient infrastructure.
To give young people the attention they need to heal and thrive, our classrooms, technology, and staff support systems need attention too.
"What it takes to train and educate youth has changed: the skills they need are different, technology is constantly new, competition is dramatically higher. We're responding to those changes to prepare for what comes next. The Growth Campaign supports critical changes at Larkin Street Youth Services that are vital to the future of the young people we serve."
-Phil Estes, Growth Campaign Chair
Helping homeless youth make educational progress and training them for today's job market is the key to creating long-term, independent housing solutions - a top priority of the Larkin Street Growth Campaign.
Raise $4.5 million to expand our education and employment programs.
Just like any good parent, Larkin Street knows that young people need support in all areas of their lives in order to develop into productive, contributing, and self-sufficient members of our community. Our current expansion, funded by the Growth Campaign, puts a more intense focus on each youth we serve.
Raise $2.6 million to expand case management, behavioral health services, and advocacy.
We have made upgrading our physical environment and technology a priority of the Larkin Street Growth Campaign. Better classrooms, state-of-the art technology, and efficient in-house systems will lead to better outcomes for the youth we serve.
Raise $3.1 million to invest in technology, staff infrastructure, and facilities.
Getting young people off the street and into stable housing allows them to rebuild their lives. Once they start to feel safe, they can think beyond the immediate crises to their overall well-being and their plans for the future.
The Growth Campaign funds more counselors and specialized staff. We'll spend more time in face-to-face meetings with young people, and more hours helping kids heal emotionally and physically from the streets.
Connecting young people to the help they need sets them on the path to a brighter future: they become healthy, productive, independent and able to advocate for themselves in the long term.
"Look around. Every day you read another article about the affordability crisis in our city or about opportunities closing down for young people. The Larkin Street Growth Campaign addresses this reality head-on. We're pushing ourselves further so that homeless youth who come to us for help can reach their potential. When we're all in, that potential is unlimited."
-Sherilyn Adams, Executive Director
We are committed to ending youth homelessness, not just interrupting the cycle for a short while. Stable housing is the foundation. Counseling that helps kids heal from trauma comes next.
Education and employment will make a lasting, lifelong difference. We've learned over 30 years that it's not enough to put someone in a classroom-they need to complete their education. It's not enough to give someone a job-they need careers.
The Growth Campaign supports new, intensive college and career readiness programming built upon research, evidence and evaluation. We're working with experienced, proven partners like Sylvan Learning Centers, Outward Bound and UCSF to deepen our work and give young people the skills and tools they need to be educated and employed for life.
It's crucial that every young person feels safe and welcome when they walk through our doors. That means giving them the best physical environment and the most beneficial interactions with our staff, every time.
We've made it a priority to invest deeper in technology and bricks-and-mortar facilities. We moved programming and administration under one roof to a new location on Golden Gate Avenue-including our Engagement & Community Center, Medical Center and the Larkin Street Academy-creating opportunities for stronger collaboration, with room to grow and adapt. We're transforming our housing into sites where learning takes place, and we're upgrading our technology in our classrooms and offices.
"I had no clue what life was about or where to go. With Larkin Street's help I passed the GED, graduated from college and now work full time as a counselor helping young people. Larkin Street invested so much in me. Now I have my own apartment, am paying my bills, working hard and saving money."
-Janelle, Larkin Street Alumni
Larkin Street Youth Services is proud of our 30-year history of fiscal responsibility. The Growth Campaign will fund:
The Growth Campaign makes a deeper impact for homeless youth today and sustains our work for years to come.