John M. Becker

SF Homeless Shelter Could Close For Good On Christmas

Filed By John M. Becker | December 10, 2013 3:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Living

sf_homeless_youth_alliance.jpgA San Francisco shelter that serves a large number of LGBT youth is closing its doors on Christmas Day and will not be able to reopen unless it raises enough funds to cover a move into a new space.

Homeless Youth Alliance (HYA) serves up to 150 homeless and runaway youth every day at its drop-in center in the city's Haight-Ashbury district, and has done so for the past 12 years. 49% of those youth identify as LGBT.

But the soaring rents enabled by aggressive gentrification have proved too tempting for the building's owners, who gave the homeless shelter just one month's notice that their lease wouldn't be renewed and they'd have to move out. The owners plan to convert the building into apartments and either a restaurant or retail space.

HYA hopes that in this holiday season of giving, they'll be able to raise enough money from kind-hearted donors that they can continue providing services to vulnerable youth -- including LGBT-identified youth -- without interruption.

"On behalf of all of us at Homeless Youth Alliance, we are grateful for the investment all of our supporters have made in our work, and now we need their help again more than ever," Executive Director Mary Howe wrote in an emailed statement.

She continued:

"[We] will not abandon the young people for whom our services are a lifeline and a refuge. We want to make sure we do everything within our power to continue to serve the thousands of homeless youth who need our help. We have a strategic plan for securing a new physical location for our program in the Haight, and in the meantime we are intensifying our focus on street-based outreach services. We are more determined than ever to continue helping youth get healthy and off the streets. Now is the time for everyone who cares about young people to pitch in. Every dollar counts, from $5 to $500,000."

If you'd like to help the homeless LGBT youth served by San Francisco's Homeless Youth Alliance, click here and make a donation to help ensure that they have a place to go.

Photo of HYA staff via Broadway Cares.

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