This grant will expand access to confidential case management and support services for young people living on the street by funding one year of rent for a dedicated drop-in center in downtown Santa Barbara.
Santa Barbara County has one of the highest rates of homeless school-age children and young people in the state. The longer young people are on the streets, the greater their risk for experiencing chronic homelessness, substance abuse, poor mental health, and victimization from trafficking and other forms of violence.
Channel Island YMCA’s Youth and Family Services operates a Street Outreach program and drop-in services for runaway and homeless youth. Staff there are trained to identify, approach, and offer immediate assistance, such as information on safe places to sleep, basic need items, and referrals to other drop-in services. However, these services are currently provided in borrowed or public spaces, where the teen's confidentiality is compromised. This grant will provide a year of rent for a dedicated center, plus renovations, furniture, and equipment.
The drop-in center will offer expanded hours and timely intervention to 250 runaway and homeless youth aged 16-24. Through case management, most young people can be reunited with their families or find stable living arrangements.