These are not easy times for our young people, and it is a deeply troubling and confusing time for our nation as a whole. We have seen unfathomable violence in recent months—in Orlando, St. Paul, Baton Rouge, Dallas, and too many other communities to name. Lives are being lost to racism and homophobia, and that affects the Larkin Street community, where youth of color and youth who identify as LGBTQ are over-represented among those who experience homelessness.
It is Larkin Street’s job to help change the trajectory of young people’s lives away from homelessness, incarceration, and an early death. A dialogue about race, homophobia, and privilege is a critical part of changing the circumstances that allow violence and hatred to take root. Then we will see more opportunity for young people to thrive. Larkin Street is about hope for the future, and even as reports of violent deaths continue, I still feel tremendous hope because of the resilience I see every day.
Nothing inspires me more than the successes of the young people Larkin Street serves, and I am more encouraged than ever by growing local, state, and national momentum behind real solutions to end youth homelessness. At the federal level, the A Way Home America initiative, new federal HUD funding through the Homeless Youth Demonstration Program, and Citi Foundation’s Community Progress Makers Fund fuel efforts to end youth homelessness by 2020.
With the launch of the new Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing here in San Francisco, Larkin Street is working hard to keep youth at the center of efforts to prevent and end homelessness. In all my years, in the field, I’ve never seen such energy and commitment around these issues at such a broad level. Permanent solutions to youth homelessness are on the horizon.
Thank you for taking part in this work.
Larkin Street Youth Services