Several organizations across Bexar County are teaming up in hopes of ending youth homelessness.
“Although youth homelessness may not be as visible, it’s still a huge issue in our community,” said Katie Vela, executive director of the South Alamo Regional Alliance for the Homeless, also known as SARAH.
SARAH and recently received a $6.8 million grant to support its mission.
“The funding is to create a local system that prevents and ends homelessness,” Vela said.
SARAH has teamed up with five local community partners to launch the Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program with the grant money it received.
“Many of the programs are permanent housing programs, where there’s a case manager assigned to help youth and young adults stabilize in their housing, connects them to employment and education opportunities,” Vela said.
The University of Texas at San Antonio, a community partner of SARAH, is launching a rapid rehousing program to support youth and young adults with a history of foster care who are pursuing post-secondary education and are experiencing or at risk of homelessness.
Another partnering agency, Roy Maas Youth Alternatives, is focusing on a mobile outreach project.
“A mobile unit that actually goes out and meets youth and provides services where they are,” Vela said.
Youths will be evaluated for several things, including abuse, neglect, commercial labor, sexual exploitation and mental health.
Vela said the projects are at different stages, but the impact should be visible next year.
“I would say by the middle of 2021, these programs should be at capacity, so that’ll mean a few hundred youths have moved into permanent housing, which is really exciting,” Vela said.
Click here to learn more about SARAH.