Larkin Street Youth Services has received Basic Center Program funds since 1989 and Street Outreach Program funds since 1996 from the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA) grants. Together, these programs support critical engagement services for runaway and homeless youth in San Francisco. These funds ensure that we can connect youth who are on the streets with the services they need, including crisis intervention, emergency shelter, food, showers, laundry, and caring case managers to help them create a plan to get off the streets for good.

Funded programs include our street outreach teams, Diamond Youth Shelter (for unaccompanied minors) and Lark-Inn for Youth shelter (San Francisco’s only shelter for transition aged youth) and drop-in centers in the Tenderloin and Haight neighborhoods. Low threshold engagement programs like street outreach and emergency shelter enable Larkin Street to build trust with young people who are in crisis. Our work depends on strong, positive relationships, so young people can see their way through the immediate crisis of where to sleep or how to get their next meal and start envisioning a brighter future.

Last year, 107 unaccompanied minors accessed up to 21 days of safe shelter and intensive case management at Diamond Youth Shelter; our BCP-funded staff members ensured that 86 of these young people transitioned from the shelter into a safe and stable living situation that would prevent their return to the streets.

Philip showed up at our Lark-Inn for Youth shelter at the age of 21 after spending his late teens in and out of jail and on the streets. Addiction issues lead him into homelessness, but after he connected to Larkin Street, Philip’s life began to turn around. The staff at the Lark-Inn shelter gave him simple chores to do, and with a safe place to sleep every night, he began to build a life for himself. Eventually, Philip moved into supportive housing and finally into an apartment of his own, all while attending college and working a part-time job. “I’m extremely grateful and proud of who I am today,” said Philip.

RHYA funding ensures that Larkin Street can offer these long and strong pathways into services that don’t just interrupt homelessness, but put an end to the cycle of homelessness for good.