The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (CalOES) selected four California Coalition for Youth members as recipients of the Homeless Youth Emergency Services and Housing (YE) Program.
California has the second highest rate of unsheltered homeless youth in the nation, and the number continues to grow. Nearly 31% of all homeless youth in the United States are living in California without a safe place to call home; yet, two-thirds of the State’s counties lack even basic services for homeless youth such as shelter, much less proven long-term programs that would permanently address homelessness for youth.
Cal OES selected four organizations in each of the four counties targeted in last year’s budget –San Diego Youth Services of San Diego County, Volunteers of America Los Angeles of LA County, Larkin Street Youth Services of San Francisco County, and Bill Wilson Center of Santa Clara County. Each organization was awarded $2,500,000 for their YE program, which will support the programs through 2020.
“We are excited that San Diego has been selected as one of the communities to receive funding from the [YE] Program,” says Walter Philips, CEO of San Diego Youth Services. According to San Diego’s most recent Point in Time (PIT) Count, there was a 39% increase in the incidents of youth homelessness over the past year. “The $2,500,000 coming to San Diego will not only provide new and expanded housing and services for youth experiencing or at-risk of experiencing homelessness but will also be a catalyst for enhancing San Diego’s Coordinated Entry System for Youth.”
“Volunteers of America, Los Angeles is humbled and thrilled to have been awarded the [YE Program Funding],” says Samantha Pence, Grant Coordinator for VOALA, “As one of the lead youth service providers in LA county we are eager to use this money to fill in the gaps in the housing continuum for homeless youth.” While VOALA currently provides street outreach, drop-in centers, emergency and transitional shelters, 46% of these new funds will be used to provide housing subsidies for 40 youth each year for up to 36 months.
The purpose of the YE program is to establish new or expand access to a range of housing options that meet the needs of homeless youth as well as to provide them with crisis intervention and stabilization services so that the immediate crises these youth face can be resolved. These programs are designed to exit youth from homelessness and help them focus on their futures.
A spokesperson for Bill Wilson Center says they will be using the new CalOES funds in Santa Clara County to support a variety of programs and services including: LGBTQ Host Homes, Transitional Housing Programs – Rapid Rehousing Programs, Non-Traditional Family Rapid Rehousing program, Young Family Shelter as well as a Bay Area Legal Aid Clinic to provide much needed legal services supports for homeless youth.
Sherilyn Adams, Executive Director of Larkin Street Youth Services, says “We are thrilled about this critical funding for young people experiencing homelessness.” She explains, “Statewide, the lack of investment in youth has been significant, so we are pleased to see this substantial grant, which ideally will act as an inspiration for additional funding.”