A new 24-hour service center and respite for homeless youths will open later this year in downtown Sacramento.
Golden 1 Credit Union announced Wednesday it will donate $1 million over the next three years to fund the facility at 815 S St. The center will be operated by Wind Youth Services, which aids the city’s young homeless population.
The new service center is expected to open this fall. The 14,000-square-foot building is currently occupied by a law firm and office space used by California State University, Sacramento. Suzi Dotson, executive director of Wind Youth Services, said those agencies are leaving the building, and the homeless service center will occupy the entire complex.
The facility will provide a 24-hour respite to young homeless individuals, but will not serve as a long-term shelter.
“It’s really to respond to youth who are finding themselves homeless for the first time and in crisis and getting them reconnected to family,” Dotson said.
The Golden 1 donation is a major financial boost for the region’s homeless youth population.
In the most recent biennial count of Sacramento County’s homeless population, the number of transitional-aged youths living on the street declined by 20 percent from 303 to 242, making up about 6 percent of the total homeless population in the county.
About 118 of those young adults, ages 18 to 25, were living outdoors, and 124 were in shelters or other temporary housing. More than 90 percent of transitional-aged homeless said they had been on the street for at least three years, the report said. More than half of those reported having mental illness or post-traumatic stress disorder. But they reported using drugs at a lower rate than other homeless groups, with only 19 percent reporting they used illegal substances.
Still, accurate numbers of homeless youths are hard to track because they are more likely than other people to “couch surf” with friends, don’t congregate in locations popular with other unsheltered people and often avoid adult contact, the report noted.
Those factors make it likely that more transitional youths are living on Sacramento streets than official numbers indicate.
Wind will work with other service providers at the complex, including Lutheran Social Services, Goodwill and Waking the Village. Counselors and youth advocates will provide a wide range of services, including job training. Other counselors specializing in mental and medical health services are also expected to join the facility.
“Many of the homeless services in Sacramento and throughout the country are designed for adults,” Dotson said in a written statement. “This center focuses on the special circumstances surrounding homeless youth. It gives us the tools and services we need to intervene early and prevent young people from becoming chronically homeless adults.”
Donna Bland, CEO of Golden 1 Credit Union, said the center would “impact homeless youth and young adults in a material and meaningful way.”
“This exciting new partnership between Golden 1 Credit Union and Wind will significantly increase our city’s ability to provide shelter, reunification services and job training to young people who might otherwise enter a cycle of chronic homelessness,” Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg said in a written statement.