Some foster youth scramble to find housing as they turn 18 and age out of foster care.
South San Francisco recently made an effort to help alleviate that issue by providing vacant city-owned residential units located on the 300 block of Miller Avenue to these youth through the county’s Emancipated Foster Youth Program for those age 18 to 23. There are currently 73 youth in the program and about seven will be placed in the housing.
Helping youth left without housing and care who have aged out of the system is important to the City Council, said Mayor Karyl Matsumoto.
“This is always high on our priority list,” Matsumoto said. “We have a passion to do everything we can to help them. The housing is available, so we’re putting it to good use.”
The residential units include 310 A Miller Ave., 312 A Miller Ave., 314 A Miller Ave., 311 Tamarack Ave. and 313 A Tamarack Ave. The county’s Human Services Agency, or HSA, will pay the city rent of $820 per month for the one bedroom units and $1,640 for the two bedroom units, while providing a deposit of $250 per unit. This amount is comparable to current below market rents those units have generated, a staff report stated.
HSA is forging new ground with the city with this agreement, said HSA spokeswoman Effie Verducci. There’s no template for the agency to work off of for this deal since this is a new idea.
“It’s exciting,” she said. “It’s the first city we’ve done this with. It’s a win-win for the city.”
The lease agreements go from April 14 of this year to April 14, 2015, with the rental period converting after that to a month-to-month tenancy. There are five one-bedroom apartments available, along with one two-bedroom apartment. While the program subsidizes the youth’s rents, the youth are required to pay a portion of the rent and are provided with financial training to assist them to manage and save their resources. The program also helps the youth find jobs and learn independent living skills.
“They (the youth) haven’t been identified yet,” Verducci said. “There’s a qualification process to see if they’re a good fit for independent living and if it’s a conducive location for them.”
Meanwhile, Norma Fragoso, housing and development manager with the city, said this is a wonderful way to collaborate with the city.
“It’s an excellent program,” she said. “We’re always interested in assisting youth who need a hand.”
HSA also has a property in South San Francisco located at the corner of Orange and Grand avenues that’s managed by StarVista. The county chose StarVista to mange youth and the properties located on Miller Avenue as well since the property is well-maintained and there have been no problems reported to the police about the residents, the staff report stated.
For more information on HSA programming visit hsa.smcgov.org.
(650) 344-5200 ext. 105