Larkin Street Youth Services Center
Location: San Francisco, CA
Type: Youth Center
People Impacted (estimated): 1500 Youths
Project Manager: Zoe Carter
Across the west coast, Mayors have created an alliance to address the problem of homelessness. In a 2015 point-in-time count in San Francisco, 1441 transitional-age-youth and 126 unaccompanied children were identified as homeless. Now, our CfC:local work is primarily located in Western Washington, but when the Larkin Street Youth Services (Larkin Street) project — dedicated to serving these 1567 youths and their unaccounted for peers — fell on our (virtual desk, it was an email), we couldn’t ignore it. Here was another opportunity to support an organization that was saving lives, changing futures, and alleviating homelessness; here was the chance to once again create a space for homeless youth that said to them, “you are worth it”.
So, we called CfC Change Fellows alumni, Zoe Carter, who had been working in the Bay Area since her return from managing our Ace Africa project in Bungoma, Kenya, and asked if she was interested. “Yes, of course I’d like to volunteer a ton of my free time — maybe more than I originally thought — and expertise to make this happen!” said Zoe without a pause. Also on the volunteer team was Seattle-based architect, Manika Bhagra, who would map out a smart and beautiful design for the spaces we’d work on; and Zach Peterson, another San Francisco-based CfC volunteer, who had most recently conducted a pre-construction visit for CfC to Madyha Pradesh, India.
And we were off.
It was a six-month process working with various vendors and sub-contractors to create budget documents and bring together design elements — from furniture to paint to windows and plumbing — and ensure functionality of the space. Our team interviewed with the programs staff at LSYS and conducted walk-throughs regularly in order to leave no stone unturned. And finally, just last week, with the arrival of a rolling partition wall that will be used to create a multi-use space in the grand hall, the Larkin Street upgrade was complete!
We believe a physical space can transform a person’s life and potential. We are so excited to share with you these photos of a space that is truly representative of the high-quality programs and services Larkin Street makes available to homeless youth across the city of San Francisco. Together, it is organizations like the University District Youth Center, now a part of Youthcare, and Larkin Street Youth Services who will be the leaders up and down this coast that end the emergency—that is homelessness.