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Campaign aims to halve number of homeless youth in SF

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Mayor London Breed speaks to community members and nonprofit leaders about the Rising Up Campaign, a youth homelessness initiative, at the Larkin Street Youth Service center on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. (DavÌd RodrÌguez/Special to S.F. Examiner)

A new campaign in San Francisco targeting homeless youth is seeking to cut the number of homeless teens and young adults in the city in half within the next few years.

Today, Mayor London Breed announced the launch of the Rising Up Campaign, which aims to provide housing and jobs for some 1,000 young people with the goal of reducing youth homelessness by 2022.

“In San Francisco, it is estimated that about 1,255 young people that are TAY (transitional age youth) actually live on our streets, and 49 percent are LGBT. We have to do a better job at addressing this issue,” Breed said.

“Dealing with the challenges that exist takes real, thoughtful solutions; things that are not just for today but are sustainable; things that are going to matter and make a difference because what we want to do is break the cycle of homelessness,” she said.

“We want to take care of this young population so that they don’t continue to live in this kind of situation,” Breed said.

The San Francisco-based nonprofit Larkin Street Youth Services has signed on to sponsor the campaign and will work with a variety of other youth service providers.

Participants will be given support to find housing, along with move-in assistance like security deposits and furniture. They’ll also be provided a monthly rent subsidy of $750 for up to three years and a case manager to help them find and keep a job.

As the participants’ income increases, their rent subsidy will decrease until it’s no longer needed.

The city has invested $6 million into the campaign, while the non-profit organization Tipping Point Community has committed $3 million.

“This work does not happen overnight. In order to achieve this goal, which is also the city’s goal, we must do a better job of identifying and supporting vulnerable populations earlier in their lives,” said Daniel Lurie, CEO and founder of Tipping Point. “These are our kids, the future of our city.”

According to Sherilyn Adams, Larkin Street Youth Services’ executive director, most chronically homeless people become homeless by the age of 25.

“We have been fighting for a long time for youth homelessness to be at the forefront of the conversation, or be a part of the conversation about homelessness,” Adams said. “By launching this today, we say ‘we see you, we’re going to help you, and we’re going to make sure that it is unacceptable to have young people sleeping on our streets in this city ever again.'”

-Daniel Montes, Bay City News

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