Since 2015, the number of homeless youth living in California has risen 32% to a staggering 15,000 young people. In Marin County, homelessness is a growing concern. Did you know that in 2022, there were over 110 homeless children and youth in our county? The 2022 Point-in-Time Homelessness Count indicated an 8.4% increase in homelessness in Marin County since the 2019 count, with total individuals experiencing homelessness increasing from 1,034 in 2019 to 1,121 in 2022, a trend that was impacted by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Of that 2022 count, 11% were defined as youth (children under 18 years old and transition-age youth age 18-24.¹
Sometimes fleeing violence at home or the consequences of systemic racial injustice and discrimination because of sexual orientation, youth can often be caught between agencies or not know how to access available services. Working closely with the County of Marin, Community Action Marin is proud to have been selected to participate in a new three-year effort supported by Tipping Point Community to help tackle these issues head on.
The Youth Homelessness Project is an effort to help turn the tide of youth homelessness in California, with a focus on Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara Counties. Agency staff will participate in a statewide learning network and a Community of Practice locally in Marin to align with the coalition’s goals of policy change, preventing youth homelessness, build relationships to increase effectiveness and learn together, and participate in dedicated work to help homeless youth.
Through Community Action Marin’s Community Alternative Response (CARE) homeless outreach teams, the agency offers vital support and assistance to unhoused people throughout Marin County. The team is often the first point of contact for people experiencing homelessness.
Laurel Hill, Director of Safety Net Services at Community Action Marin explains that “we’re excited to join in this vital learning network to represent Marin and also to explore partnership opportunities with other anti-poverty organizations and funders. Our agency serves over 60 homeless people per month through our Safety Net services homeless outreach efforts. In a typical year, we’ll distribute 20 tents, 40 sleeping bags, 3,000 bag lunches, and 150 hygiene kits to unhoused residents. It’s critical that we make a bigger impact during this time of increased need.”
Approximately 30 percent of people experiencing homelessness are younger than age 24, according to a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development annual report on homeless assistance programs. Youth are five times more likely to experience homelessness as adults. Latino/a youth are 33% more likely than their white peers to experience homelessness. Black youth are 83% more likely to experience homelessness than white youth. 4 in 10 homeless youth identify as LGBTQ and are often fleeing discrimination or abuse at home.
Fatai Tokolahi with Community Action Marin’s CARE Team speaks about the work we do: “With the CARE Team we are doing mobile outreach for the homeless folks. Most of them, they need a lot of help, but they won’t go to an office space, so we bring the services to them. So, we become the bridge. We breach those gaps and then we do the follow-up. As the CARE Team, we are here to offer help and interact with people and build trust. We learn about their families, who is around them. These folks are humans and we want to be there for them.”
Tipping Point Community is a philanthropic organization dedicated to fighting poverty in the Bay Area. The Youth Homelessness Coalition is part of their Chronic Homelessness Initiative (CHI) that partners with government and non-profit service providers to develop, implement, and invest in a wide range of programs designed to reduce chronic homelessness. In 2017, Tipping Point launched a five-year, $100 million effort to address homelessness in San Francisco. It was the largest private investment addressing homelessness in San Francisco’s history. Since 2005, they’ve invested over $350 million in organizations supporting individuals, advancing policy change, and developing new ideas to advance economic mobility.
Marin’s Homeless Face Severe Lack of Shelter Beds, Supportive Housing (pacificsun.com)
We Can Turn the Tide of Youth Homelessness in California (tippingpoint.org)
¹ “2022 County of Marin Point-in-Time Report on Homelessness: Census and Survey Results,” Marin County Department of Health and Human Services, Feb 17, 2022, www.marinhhs.org