Transition Age Youth (TAY) are young adults, age 18 – 24, who are transitioning from public systems (like foster care) or are at risk of not making a successful transition to adulthood. The City of San Francisco has made new housing for TAY a top priority.
In 2006, Mayor Gavin Newsom established the Mayor’s Task Force on Transitional Youth www.taysf.org/files/resources/TYTF_final_report.pdf, which developed a set of policy recommendations to improve outcomes for the City’s most vulnerable youth. Stable, affordable housing emerged as a critical need, with an estimated 1,600 homeless youth at any given time, and less than 350 housing units set aside for this population. TAY SF [www.taysf.org] was established as an oversight body to implement the Task Force recommendations.
The Mayor’s Office of Housing convened the TAY Housing Work Group with a variety of stakeholders to create a plan to meet the housing goals established by the Task Force. The goal of the TAY Housing Plan is to create 400 additional units by 2015, using a variety of housing models. The Housing Work Group concluded that there is no one "best model" of housing for youth, but a wide range of models is needed for different populations, including:
- Low Threshold Housing, which has relatively low threshold occupancy requirements with respect to sobriety, background checks, etc.;
- Mixed Population Housing, which has units targeted to non-TAY households such as families with children or single working adults;
- Single Site Housing, which is exclusively targeted to TAY; and
- Shared Housing.
The Plan identifies priority populations whose housing needs have been particularly underserved, including youth with severe mental illness, parenting youth, and youth exiting the criminal justice system.
A key component of any successful program for homeless and at-risk youth is the availability of supportive services. MOH has coordinated its effort to address the housing needs of TAY with The Department of Public Health and the Human Services Agency which are committed to providing services funding as part of the TAY Housing Program.
Another critical component for project feasibility is the availability of operating or rent subsidies, since the rents affordable to homeless and at-risk youth typically will not cover the cost of operating and maintaining their housing. Currently, sponsors of such housing are urgred to pursue THP Plus [http://www.thpplus.org] subsidies, or McKinney Shelter Plus Care rent subsidies administered through the Local Homeless Coordinating Board [http://www.sfgov3.org/index.aspx?page=1894]. In the absence of any other resources for operating costs, TAY housing sponsors may request support from the City's Local Operating Subsidy Program (LOSP). Supportive housing for TAY is critical to San Francisco’s efforts to improve the outcomes of disconnected youth and prevent future homelessness.
MOH issued its first "TAY NOFA" in 2009, and is financing 3 developments which will create 88 additional TAY supportive housing units over the next several years.