Center helps youth with health, housing issues – The San Francisco Examiner

Following the demise of her mom two years in the past, 21-year-old Tiana Faataui and her brother had been left alone within the four-bedroom Bayview District house that her household had shared.

But after her brother took his title off of the part eight lease, Faataui was informed she may now not keep.

“I’m young so I’m still new to this and don’t really understand how any of this paperwork or housing goes,” stated Faataui who stop her job to attend cosmetology college.

Faataui is one in every of greater than 1,200 youths aged 12 by means of 24 who stroll by means of the doorways of the third Street Youth Center and Clinic at 1728 Bancroft St. annually in search of assist. On a latest Wednesday, an indication that learn “3rd Street Safe Zone” was hung in one of many heart’s home windows, and inside colourful posters and artwork adorned two examination rooms and two remedy rooms.

Since 2005, the third Street Center has supplied free medical care to the neighborhood’s at-risk youth from well being checkups, being pregnant exams to entry to psychological well being remedy and social employees.

The heart has simply added housing to its checklist of how it assists younger folks, changing into one in every of six Coordinated Entry Youth Access Points launching round The City.

Established underneath the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing’s (HSH) Coordinated Entry system and operated by group organizations, Youth Access Points assist present important companies and housing.

More than 1,300 youth had been counted as homeless in San Francisco in 2017, prompting The City to double its investments in addressing the problem, stated Abigail Stewart-Kahn, HSH director of strategic initiatives.

Preliminary knowledge from a 2019 homeless rely launched on Thursday exhibits a 10 p.c discount within the variety of youth experiencing homelessness, however youth service suppliers say that a whole bunch of younger folks, significantly these dwelling in neighborhoods with excessive charges of poverty and violence just like the Bayview, proceed to fall by means of the cracks.

“Our homelessness looks different over here. Our youth come in [to the center], hair done, with their Jordans on, they’re looking fresh and fly and you wouldn’t know that they are sleeping on their mom’s or friend’s couch,” stated Shakeyla O’Cain, a Rapid Rehousing Coordinator on the third Street Center.

Lodged within established homeless youth service suppliers, the Access Points are aimed toward assembly younger folks the place they’re at.

“We deal with turf issues where kids can’t cross different streets and stuff. That adds a different layer to how we can provide services. We can’t be stationary because some kids can’t come over here,” stated Joi Jackson-Morgan, Executive Director on the third Street Center.

“I think it’s important to have neighborhood-based services that feed into a larger system. That’s the first step here. Before, [the youth] would have to go to the Tenderloin or elsewhere to get services,” stated Jackson-Morgan. “Now that we have these neighborhood Access Points I think we will be able to fill the needs of more youth, with culturally appropriate services, and I think it will make a difference.”

Prior to the roll out of the Coordinated Entry system, which goals to remove bias within the social companies system by tracing people experiencing homelessness and tailoring companies to them based mostly on want, purchasers needed to “go to every front door of different agencies and get on waiting lists,” stated Stewart-Kahn.

“Their experience was based on how effective their case manager was not on their need,” she stated.

Also, as a result of younger folks needed to trek throughout city to seek out the correct companies to satisfy their wants, many wouldn’t search them out, some service suppliers stated.

“Youth are especially good at hiding their homelessness, and I think we still have work to do to really reach [those who are] hiding in plain sight. The youth try to be invisible — It’s a different kind of work than what you might see in other populations,” stated Ilsa Lund, chief of technique at Larkin Street.

The youth particular Access Points are operated by Larkin Street Youth Services and Huckleberry Youth, and in partnership with the Homeless Youth Alliance and the third Street Youth Center and Clinic.

There, the younger purchasers meet with social employees and counselors for an preliminary “problem solving conversation,” which goals to divert them away from homelessness by utilizing metropolis funds to assist handle easy boundaries, like a late hire cost or unpaid invoice that will in any other case end in eviction or severe battle for the consumer.

“For youth, problem solving might also mean family reunification. Some are fleeing violence and rejection from their home communities,” stated Stewart-Kahn.

Should the youth face issues that may’t be resolved rapidly, the following step is an evaluation of what sources can be found to them based mostly on their vulnerabilities, the size of time they’ve skilled homelessness, and their boundaries to discovering housing.

Working alongside counselors, most of whom have shared the identical cultural and financial experiences as their purchasers, the youth are then referred to acceptable housing sources, together with lists of accessible everlasting supportive housing and The City’s Rapid Rehousing program.

“It’s wraparound services. You can come here to get a physical, a pregnancy test and also get help with your housing and also find a job or get involved in youth development or youth leadership opportunities,” stated O’Cain, a Bayview native who was homeless for eight years. “For a long time young people kept coming to us and would say, “‘I need help with housing.’ Before you can address all of the other health issues, stability is the main issue.”

Still, gaps stay. According to Jackson-Morgan, outpatient psychiatric companies for younger persons are nonetheless not available, and neither are shelter beds.

“How we deal with young people coming in and just needing to stay at a place for one day?” she stated.

And with the necessity for housing critically outpacing The City’s provide, not each youth who makes contact with a social employee is assured a placement.

While many homeless youth even have entry to the grownup shelter system, The City at present funds simply 62 youth -specific shelter beds, in addition to 285 transitional housing exits, 145 supportive housing exists and 108 fast rehousing exits for youth, in accordance with Stewart-Kahn.

“For every one person we exit from homelesness three more people become homeless in their place.”

For some, the companies supplied by the third Street Center Access Point have already begun to make a distinction.

On Wednesday, O’Cain mentioned 20-year-old Nakiyah Kennard’s impending relocation to Oakland by means of a third Street Center housing subsidy program, the place she is finally hoping to take over a lease on an house of her personal.

“I don’t mind moving to the East Bay,” stated Kennard. “I’m ready to get away from San Francisco.”


A welcome sign greets visitors at the front entrance of the 3rd Street Youth Center and Clinic in the Bayview District on Wednesday, May 15, 2019. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

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