SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— A San Francisco non-profit dedicated to helping homeless youth has opened a new, consolidated service hub in the Tenderloin.
Larkin Street Youth Services serves over 3,000 people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness each year. Its administrators say the move is a big boost to their mission of ending youth homelessness in the city.
The non-profit was founded in1984, but Larkin Street Academy Program Manager Craig Lahti says until now their services were spread out over four different buildings in the area.
“When you have to send a young person between two or three different buildings to gain access to different kinds of services, it becomes very difficult for those young people because it’s can adding a barrier and that barrier can be just a physical doorway,” Lahti said.
The $2 million fundraising effort for the new center at 134 Golden Gate Avenue took five years, according to Beven Dufty, the city’s Housing Opportunity, Partnerships & Engagement (HOPE) director.
“To have an engagement and community center right here in the heart of the Tenderloin so accessible to transportation and to Civic Center, I think is great,” Dufty said.
One 21-year-old woman who uses Larkin Street Youth Services, said just six months ago she fled an abusive family, but found herself homeless and broke in San Francisco. She’s now moving towards independent living through job training and housing options the program provides.