On Christmas Day 2013, Homeless Youth Alliance (HYA) permanently closed the doors of our indoor drop-in site in San Francisco’s iconic Haight-Ashbury neighborhood. When we shut off the lights for the final time, we were steadfastly focused on establishing a new location in the Haight as soon as possible.
At the time, few if any of us would have predicted that, nearly eight years later, HYA still would be searching for a permanent location for our indoor drop-in site. Despite the headwinds we’ve faced over that time, the search continues full speed ahead, and, in the meantime, HYA has not compromised on fulfilling our larger mission of providing vital services for youth experiencing homelessness in our community.
Rather than be discouraged by the challenges we’ve faced in obtaining a new drop-in site, HYA has taken this as an opportunity to reconsider and reinvent the ways in which we do our work. In doing so, we have taken literally our mission of meeting youth experiencing homelessness where they are at, delivering our services directly to them via our outreach van and other means.
When HYA does ultimately secure a permanent, indoor drop-in site—a goal we remain fully committed to and are taking active steps to accomplish—the lessons we have learned from our years on the streets will only have made us more resilient and more responsive to the needs of our participant community members.
For example, in an unforeseen silver lining, HYA’s years of experience providing services in temporary, outdoor, off-site settings proved invaluable when public health measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic greatly curtailed the ability of organizations like ours to provide services indoors.
While we are proud of our ability to reimagine our programs on the fly in an ever-changing social, economic, public-health, and political landscape, we also remain cognizant that having a permanent indoor drop-in site would serve community members in a way that no other facility could.
To view a short video about how our former drop-in site helped youth experiencing homelessness in San Francisco and to learn more about HYA’s efforts to raise funds for a new permanent drop-in site—including our capital campaign “Go Big or Go Homeless”—click here.
To help Homeless Youth Alliance continue to provide essential outreach while furthering the search for our new indoor drop-in site, click the red Donate Now button at the top of the page.
Thank you for taking some time out of your day to consider how you might be part of the solution.