We are pleased to announce that on April 29, Larkin Street Youth Services, in partnership with the City of San Francisco, officially opened the doors to a new temporary Shelter-in-Place (SiP) hotel, known as Site #1. This site, part of the SiP Hotel Initiative in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, is available to for up to 55 young people ages 18 to 30 who are at higher risk due to homelessness and being medically vulnerable to the virus.

Data has shown that sheltering at home has been the best defense for the virus but, on any given night, there are more than 1,100 young people on the streets of San Francisco without a safe place to shelter.  Expanding housing options, such as Site #1, reduce the risk for young people experiencing homelessness.

Larkin Street staff members have been re-deployed to operate the new program 24 hours-a-day and 7 days-a-week. Once the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing conducts a screening to qualify and place residents, they’re onsite at the hotel within 2 hours.

“We moved in 9 or 10 people within the first 12 hours we were open. I remember a gentleman saying, I can’t believe I’m going to be able to shower; it’s been a month since I’ve had one,” said Matt Verscheure, our Division Director of Program Leadership.

Boxed meals are being distributed three times a day as well as hygiene supplies. Remote case management is taking place via iPads, given to each resident upon check-in, and in-person when needed. Additionally, all residents have access to nurses for any medical conditions.

When we asked Matt what this means for Larkin Street and the young people we serve, he replied, “this is an opportunity to get more people off the streets and sheltered. We have stepped up to be a partner with the city and get as many young people experiencing homelessness off the streets.”

Since Shelter-in-Place Larkin Street has added an additional 121 beds through our Emergency Voucher Program, which allows us to quickly house young people in SROs or hotels previous to COVID-19 and the new SiP Hotel; this brings the total to 500 beds.

Thanks to your support of our work, young people experiencing homelessness will be substantially safer. This type of quick action has set he foundation and groundwork needed to execute long term solutions to end youth homelessness post-pandemic. Here at Larkin Street, we will continue to identify opportunities and partnerships to get young people off the streets for good.