California is home to nearly 1/3 of all youth experiencing homelessness in the nation. On any given night, more than 1,200 young people have no safe, reliable place to sleep in San Francisco. As 50% of all people experiencing homelessness in San Francisco first experienced it before the age of 25, resourcing transitional youth with housing is a necessary step to ending homelessness it for all.
Youth homelessness in San Francisco is, finally, a solvable problem thanks to dedicated community members pushing for change. Our collective voice has made tangible and measurable impact on youth homelessness, yet as we look forward, there is more to consider around prevention if we wish to eradicate it.
In addition to considering the immediate needs of displaced youth, we must direct dedicated resources toward solving the deeper issues that make youth homelessness a pervasive cycle. Mayor Breed has committed $1 Billion dollars to address homelessness in the Bay Area—more than $4 Million now specifically earmarked for youth housing and programming. This includes hotel vouchers, shelters, drop-in and outreach services, emergency services, direct cash access, and more.
These wins are in addition to the Proposition C investments in the Mayor’s budget for permanent supportive housing, flex subsidies, behavioral health, and workforce services for youth. We must match these investments with proven strategies that will help make homelessness rare, brief, and one-time for San Francisco youth. We must also ensure that systemwide efforts center on the lived experiences of BIPOC and LGBTQ+ youth as they represent a disproportionate number of youths experiencing homelessness.
Please review our 2021 Policy Brief: A Focus on Prevention for an outline of policy recommendations that will help us continue to eliminate youth homelessness and make it rare, brief, and one time.