ATC serves the young people on the streets in the Downtown/Tenderloin area of San Francisco who will be passed over, kicked out, or are unaware that these programs exist. Through street outreach and one-to-one counseling, ATC will work with over 600 unduplicated youth this year. In a client feedback survey, we conducted last year, 55% of clients reported that they are not accessing services outside of ATC.
Currently, the city of San Francisco is investing unprecedented resources into homelessness services. According to this year’s Point-in-Time (PIT) Count, the overall number of people experiencing homelessness in San Francisco increased by 17% over the last two years. Homelessness is not only a symptom of a lack of available and affordable housing but other key etiologies—unaddressed barriers to mental health services being one of the most. Youth experiencing homelessness who were surveyed in the PIT Count cite some of the primary causes of their homelessness to be emotional abuse, mental health issues, and sexual abuse.
Despite the range of services for San Francisco’s homeless youth, many young people are not connected to the existing service network. We believe that two of the main reasons why vulnerable individuals do not access the services that are available to them are (1) they do not trust providers or feel comfortable taking that first step in asking for help and (2) the bureaucracy of helping systems is overwhelming and demoralizing. These barriers are amplified for our clients who have mental health issues.