San Francisco officials opened the city’s first multiservice homeless shelter on Wednesday, which aims to help young adults.

Authorities announced that people aged between 18 to 24 years, which is considered the “Transitional Age Youth,” will be available to sleep on beds at the Lower Polk TAY Navigation Center at 700 Hyde Street. However, the coronavirus health restrictions forced the center to only have a supply of 43 beds initially. Officials expect the first group of guests to come next week.

Homeless Shelter for Young Adults

Homeless individuals have an easier time entering navigation centers due to their lower requirements. The centers also allow pets and cohabitation with partners. Additionally, they set no curfew to guests and are staffed 24 hours a day.

The center is part of the region’s efforts to eradicate youth homelessness, San Francisco City Mayor London Breed said. In 2018, the official also spearheaded a campaign called “Rising Up” that aimed to raise $35 million that would have been used to assist youth after leaving the shelters.

“This is hope for a better future for young folks here in SF. If you want an opportunity, you should be able to have one,” Breed said.

San Francisco conducted a biennial survey of homeless residents that found 1,091 young adults between the age of 18 to 24 that were homeless in the city in 2019. The number represented nearly 14% of the region’s total homeless count.

The survey discovered that about 83% of the homeless young adults were sleeping outside every night using tents, cars, or RVs. It also found that 27% of San Francisco’s homeless youth population were identified as Latinx. And while Black people only made up 6% of the city’s total population, they accounted for 24% of all homeless youths.

In a statement, the interim director of San Francisco’s Department of Homeless and Supportive Housing, Abigail Stewart-Kahn, said the new navigation center “prioritizes improving outcomes for the city’s most vulnerable youth.”

The new navigation center would provide youths with health services and help them with accessing public benefits, mentoring, paid career training, and housing assistance, managed by the 3rd Street Youth Center & Clinic. Additionally, nonprofit Success Centers will provide support to help guests finish their education and find or retain careers.

“It’s just different. There’s a cultural aspect that we’re hoping to bring to these services that will help folks of color, and black people, in particular, get on track,” the executive director of 3rd Street Youth, Joi Jackson-Morgan, said, KQED reported.

The navigation center would also come with community and dining spaces, meeting rooms, clinic space, a laundry area, and an outdoor lounge, spread across its three stories. Jackson-Morgan said homeless young adults helped give birth to the idea of the design of the center.

“It’s kind of like that work-study vibe. We’re just trying to give them a piece of adulthood and what it would be like to be on a college campus,” Jackson-Morgan said.