Our Short-Term Shelter turns five!
On April 11th, 2016, we welcomed the first youth to stay in our Short-Term shelter, which offers safety and comfort to young people in need of emergency housing. This shelter is the only dedicated ‘transitional aged youth’ (TAY) shelter located between San Francisco and the Oregon border. But what exactly does that mean, and why is this such a critical service?
When we refer to ‘transitional aged youth’, we mean young adults who are between the ages of 18-24 years old. In general, youth this age experience a number of cognitive, emotional, and social transitions. It is a time during which many young people rely on relationships with family or other caring adults for support. For 90% of the youth in our housing programs, there are no such adults to whom they can turn. In a large number of cases, close adults have been a source of abuse, neglect, and/or trauma. For a youth who is experiencing crisis, shelter spaces that house older adults can feel unsafe and destabilizing. SAY’s TAY shelter provides services designed to address the specific needs of this peer group.
“The day we opened the shelter was the day I didn’t have to turn away a youth,” says Lisa Fatu, Director of Youth Crisis Services at SAY. “That feeling of finally giving youth a safe place to stay was overwhelmingly joyful! Before we opened the short-term shelter, we would have to refer youth aged 18-24 to adult services. Most youth declined this service, because they were fearful that they would be victimized in those adult shelters. The Dream Center shelter gave them not only safety and security, but hope.”
In the five years that our Dream Center Short-Term shelter has been open, 293 young people have stayed with us. SAY has helped to permanently end homelessness for nearly half of those young people, who moved into stable housing and have not re-entered the homeless service system. We are proud of the youth who have trusted us enough to walk through our doors, and for whom this shelter is a life-saving resource.
In celebration of SAY’s 50th Anniversary, we are revisiting the last five decades of our history and sharing stories of our ever-expanding commitment to the youth. If you would like to learn more about our birthday, please visit our events page!