UPDATE: The San Francisco Chronicle just posted coverage of today’s meeting, and shared more background. Read more in the Chronicle‘s SF supervisor, mayor earmark more money for homeless youth
Mayor Edwin M. Lee and Supervisor Jeff Sheehy today announced $1.54 million in increased funding for services to support San Francisco’s youth, particularly those experiencing homelessness.
“This is a critical time for many of our young residents, which is why it is important that they receive vital services they need,” said Mayor Lee. “We want to create an environment where our youth can succeed and move toward safe, stable living situations. We have an obligation to support, encourage and develop our next generation of San Francisco residents. My proposed budget is a reflection of that commitment.”
The $1.54 million in additional annual funds includes $289,000 for increased drop-in hours at the SF LGBT Center, $350,000 for expanded outreach services for homelessness youth and $906,000 for housing subsidies for young adults in need.
These new funding commitments are designed to benefit Transition Age Youth (TAY) in San Francisco. TAY are described as young people age 18 – 24 who are homeless or in danger of homelessness, have dropped out of high school, have a disability or other special needs, and are low-income parents, among several other considerations.
“Nearly half of all homeless youth identify as LGBTQ,” said District 8 Supervisor Jeff Sheehy, whose district includes the Castro and the SF LGBT Center. “With intolerance on the rise on the national level, it is crucial that San Francisco remain a place of acceptance and tolerance for those fleeing unsafe spaces. Mayor Lee’s investment will help support and provide a path forward for our most vulnerable residents.”
“Young people are the future of our city, and it is unacceptable that some of our children and young adults are homeless and in need of services they are not getting,” said Board of Supervisors President London Breed. “This proposed increase in budget funding would help fill that gap. It is only right that we take this extra step to provide for this vulnerable population that we have a responsibility to protect and care for.”
The new TAY funding allocations are part of the Mayor’s proposed two-year budget and represent a significant overall investment in youth programs. For the 2017-18 Fiscal Year, Mayor Lee has pledged $22.6 million from the General Fund for TAY initiatives, and the 2018-19 Fiscal Year includes $23.3 million from the General Fund in TAY programs.
“The Mayor’s expanded investments to benefit some of our most vulnerable young people is inspiring,” said Jeff Kositsky, director of the San Francisco Department of Homelessness & Supportive Housing. “We will leverage these investments with the HUD Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program funds to identify specific ways to strengthen existing collaborations that build on the priorities identified by youth and community stakeholders: launching youth coordinated entry, creating low-barrier programs and flexible housing models.”
The $350,000 investment in outreach services will fund a new outreach coordinator stationed at the Larkin Street Youth Services headquarters. It will also pay for new resources and increased staffing for outreach teams that interact with young residents dealing with homelessness. These outreach teams go out on the streets in the Castro and Haight-Ashbury to speak with local youth and offer them support and counseling, while providing information on how to move off the streets and into stable homes.
“Larkin Street Youth Services is grateful for the Mayor’s investment in LGBTQ young people experiencing homelessness,” said Sherilyn Adams, Executive Director of Larkin Street Youth Services. “Since launching the Castro Youth Housing Initiative in 2004, Larkin Street has worked in partnership with other nonprofit providers to ensure wraparound services for LGBTQ youth, who are dramatically over-represented among those experiencing homelessness and have their own unique needs. This infusion of funding demonstrates the City’s commitment to expanding outreach, engagement, and housing for LGBTQ youth who are seeking safety and sanctuary in San Francisco. Recognizing and resourcing the needs of our most vulnerable community members is an investment in the wellbeing of our entire city.”
The SF LGBT Community Center will benefit from the $289,000 in extra funds by extending their operating hours. The budget will also support the expansion of the center’s youth meal program.
“LGBTQ youth come to San Francisco in search of acceptance and community, but unfortunately many end up in extremely disadvantaged situations,” said SF LGBT Center Executive Director Rebecca Rolfe. “The additional funding will allow the Center to expand our current services supporting youth with the resources and tools they need to get off the streets, build community, and thrive.”
The $906,000 in additional funds for rental subsidies will allow an extra 94 youth clients to receive housing support.
On June 1, Mayor Lee presented his two-year balanced budget, proposing a $10 billion outline for Fiscal Year 2017-18 and a $10 billion outline for Fiscal Year 2018-19. Mayor Lee has made homelessness and harm reduction a centerpiece of his proposed budget.
The City Charter requires the Mayor submit a balanced budget proposal by the first working day in June. To deliver this two-year consensus budget proposal, Mayor Lee worked with the Board of Supervisors and heard directly from community leaders and residents, and met with hundreds of residents, nonprofit organizations, City Commissioners, labor organizations, business owners, and advocates to discuss priorities and address concerns.