Governor Newsom Announces $38 Million in Grants to Combat Youth Homelessness in California

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HOMELESSNESS: The numbers of homeless in the West Valley have increased because in recent years places for them to go have been taken away | Photo by freepik

Taking action to support teens and young adults experiencing homelessness, Governor Gavin Newsom today announced $38 million in new grants for community-based organizations across the state through the Homeless Youth Emergency Services and Housing Program. The grants will allow local service providers to deliver temporary housing and supportive services for youth experiencing homelessness.

“These grants will provide relief and emergency support to young people across California experiencing homelessness, who are too often left in dire situations to fend for themselves,” said Governor Newsom. “We’re providing immediate aid for those living on our streets – bringing resources and services directly to young people in need and helping them onto a path towards a stable future.”

The grants are being distributed through the Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) to 12 community-based organizations from San Diego to Humboldt for local partners to provide youth experiencing homelessness with access to a range of housing options that meet their needs, as well as mental health support with crisis intervention and stabilization services.

“This funding represents an important lifeline in protecting some of the most vulnerable members of our communities,” said Cal OES Director Mark Ghilarducci. “Through the partnership with these community-based organizations we are able to provide meaningful support and change lives.”

“Addressing youth homelessness takes a village,” said Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency Secretary Lourdes Castro Ramírez, who serves as Co-Chair of the California Interagency Council on Homelessness. “This is why this investment in community-based organizations that make up the village and provide bridges of support to young people is an important part of our efforts to prevent and end homelessness.”

The following organizations were awarded Homeless Youth Emergency Services and Housing Program grants:

• Bill Wilson Center (Santa Clara County)

• Center for Human Services (Stanislaus County)

• Community Human Services (Monterey County)

• Interface Children & Family Services (Ventura County)

• Larkin Street Youth Services (San Francisco County)

• Orangewood Foundation (Orange County)

• Redwood Community Action Agency (Humboldt County)

• Ruby’s Place (Alameda County)

• San Diego Youth Services (San Diego County)

• Volunteers of America Los Angeles (Los Angeles County)

• Waking the Village (Sacramento County)

• Women’s Center – Youth & Family Services (San Joaquin County)

The funds aim to ensure safe shelter for teens and young adults experiencing short or long-term housing instability. California has the second highest rate of unsheltered youth experiencing homelessness in the nation, and the number is growing. Nearly 36 percent of all homeless youth in the United States are living in California without a safe place to call home. These targeted grants bolster Governor Newsom’s wider efforts to protect vulnerable Californians by combatting the root causes of homelessness and rebuilding the state’s mental and behavioral health infrastructure.

“Funding from the Homeless Youth Grant Program will provide meals, supportive engagement counselors, case management services, educational re-engagement services, and flexible housing funds that can be used for short-term hotel vouchers, food cards, and transportation cards, to ensure youth have a safe place off the streets as they await longer-term housing placements,” said Sherilyn Adams, Executive Director of Larkin Street Youth Services in San Francisco. “Larkin Street will utilize OES funds to ensure young people are quickly linked to transitional, supportive, and subsidy-based housing resources via low-barrier engagement programs in our Engagement and Community Center.”

“This grant will expand the range of housing options available to youth experiencing homelessness in Orange County and enable Orangewood to shepherd youth through the continuum of housing, ranging from emergency shelter to independent housing,” said Chris Simonsen, Chief Executive Officer of the Orangewood Foundation in Santa Ana. “The grant will enable Orangewood to hire two full-time Youth Support Specialists, along with a Program Supervisor, all dedicated to the YE Program. These staff will work with at least 150 youth experiencing homelessness each year to get them into safe and stable housing.”

Last year, Governor Newsom took unprecedented action to address the state’s homelessness crisis, investing a historic $12 billion to help get our most vulnerable Californians off the streets and get them the mental and behavioral health services they need. The California Blueprint builds on this bold investment with a proposed $2 billion to advance behavioral health housing and encampment rehousing strategies, creating a total $14 billion package. The Governor’s multi-year homeless housing plan will provide 55,000 new housing units and treatment slots, once fully implemented.

Office of Governor of California | Contributed

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