Homeless Youth Alliance

In 2006, San Francisco Needle Exchange (SFNE) and the Haight Ashbury Youth Outreach Team (HAYOT), merged to form the Homeless Youth Alliance (HYA).

HYA works with youth on the streets and in parks in San Francisco (mostly Haight Ashbury neighborhood). HYA is a mobile program made up of 6 Outreach Counselors and one staff therapist who canvas the streets and the parks of the Haight in the mornings, building relationships with the neighborhood’s homeless youth and distributing snacks and hygiene supplies. Their afternoons are reserved for individual appointments for case management and/or therapy, which take place on the street or in a café. HYA runs an evening syringe access and disposal program where youth can get on-demand medical care, mental health care, HIV testing, and trainings in overdose prevention and safer injection practice from a van parked outside their former drop-in space at the corner of Haight and Cole streets.

Contact Information

Phone Number for Outreach Counselors: 415-318-6384
Mailing Address: PO Box 170427 San Francisco, CA 94117
Website: http://www.homelessyouthalliance.org/


Changes based on service provided, see hours and list of services


MONDAY : 11am – 12:30pm Outreach on Haight Street & neighboring parks; 5:30pm – 7:30pm Syringe Access and Disposal & Medical Care 558 Clayton Street (at the Haight Ashbury Free Clinic); 11am – 1pm & 4pm – 7pm Case Management/One-on-One meetings by appointment or on demand
WEDNESDAY: 11am – 1:00pm Outreach on Haight Street & neighboring parks; 11:30pm – 2pm Therapy w/ Maurice; 11am – 7pm Case Management/One-on-One meetings by appointment or on demand; 5:30pm – 7:30pm Syringe Access and Disposal & Medical Care 558 Clayton Street (at the Haight Ashbury Free Clinic)
THURSDAY: 11am – 1pm Outreach on Haight Street & neighboring parks (Maurice the Therapist comes with us); 11am – 1pm Outreach on Castro Street & neighboring streets; 12:45pm – 3pm Psychiatry with Masa; 11am – 5pm Case Management/One-on-One meetings by appointment or on demand
FRIDAY: 2:30pm – 4pm Outreach on Haight Street & neighboring parks; 2:30pm – 4pm Game Group at the Park Branch Library Community (First Floor) Room 1833 Page Street; 2pm – 7pm Therapy with Maurice; 5:30pm – 7:30pm Syringe Access and Disposal & Medical Care 558 Clayton Street (at the Haight Ashbury Free Clinic) also Maurice provides sidewalk therapy at this time; 11am – 1pm, 5pm-7pm Case Management/One-on-One meetings by appointment or on demand
LAST WEDNESDAY OF THE MONTH: 11:30am Community Clean-Up - Since 2005 HYA staff, youth, housed residents, merchants (all of our community members) together work to make our neighborhood safer. During the Community Clean-Up after a brief safety training we walk along the Haight Street corridor and into neighboring parks and pick up discarded syringes in our district. We alternate starting at Golden Gate Park and Buena Vista Park. Please call (415) 318-6384 for each month’s starting location.


For a minimum of three hours each day, 3 members of HYA’s outreach team walk along Haight Street and into neighboring parks, distributing snacks, safer sex supplies, and hygiene kits. Counselors also distribute educational materials on healthier lifestyle choices and behaviors. In total, counselors are able to make over 12,000 contacts per year via street outreach.
It is rare for street-based young people to accept guidance from a community outsider, but HYA’s Outreach Counselors are able to overcome this barrier because many are formerly homeless young people themselves. Approximately 85 percent of our participants use HYA’s services at least once a week, having established bonds of trust with Outreach Counselors.

Once they make contact during outreach, HYA outreach counselors are able to meet participants for one-on-one counseling sessions on the street or in a local restaurant or cafe. Counseling allows both staff and youth time to identify high-risk behaviors, to assess readiness to change these behaviors, and to talk privately about options. During these sessions, staff provide non-judgmental emotional and practical support, demonstrating positive role modeling in settings that are removed from the pressures of the street. Once a counselor has developed this relationship with a participant, youth are much more open to referrals for a broad range of immediate and long term needs. Staff often aid youth in obtaining a legal ID, General Assistance and government benefits, shelter and transitional housing, placement in a substance abuse treatment program, and in re-establishing contact with family and friends.

HYA’s series of educational and creative workshops create an ideal opportunity for youth to obtain practical skills, share information with their peers, and enhance their confidence. HYA weekly workshops cover a range of topics on both mental and physical health.

At HYA’s weekly Game Group, 10-25 young people get to relax, eat pizza and other snacks, share conversation, build community all while playing board games or making art.

Participant Planning Council: Every other month HYA staff and participants meet to discuss HYA’s scope of work. This time allows the youth HYA works with to give feedback on existing services and suggestions for new program ideas.

Having been over-medicated, misdiagnosed, or institutionalized in the past, the youth HYA serve are often reluctant to trust mental health providers. For this reason, consistency, flexibility, and cultural appropriateness are essential to engaging youth. Psychotherapeutic services are client driven and may vary in terms of focus and setting. Encounters may be crisis oriented, insight oriented, solution focused, supportive, or based on symptom management or behavioral change. Youth may access a single therapy session on an on-demand basis, or may engage in ongoing psychotherapy over months or even years. A private office is available at Cole Street Youth Clinic to ensure confidentiality, but based on individual preference, sessions may take place on the sidewalk, in the park, or at a cafe. Weekly appointments with HYA’s Psychiatrist Masa Fisher are also made easily available upon request. Mental health services are provided through collaboration with the Harm Reduction Therapy Center.

Four nights a week, HYA operates the city’s only culturally specific syringe access and disposal program for youth and women. Three of these sites specifically target the young injectors in the Haight Ashbury neighborhood. This designated time allows participants to not only obtain clean, sterile supplies, but to engage with staff and volunteers in discussions about their use and options for detox or drug treatment. Medical care is also provided at all of these sites. HYA’s fourth exchange site, located in the Mission District of San Francisco, is open to female identified people only.

Three evenings a week medical providers volunteer during HYA’s syringe exchange. These professionals are able to provide free on-site medical care as well as direct referrals to methadone and suboxone programs.

Every month (since 2005) the Clean-Up Crew, which is composed of 10-20 HYA staff and program participants, walk the streets of Haight Ashbury, the east end of Golden Gate and Panhandle Park and surrounding neighborhoods properly disposing of discarded syringes. Before every session, the Crew is thoroughly trained on safety protocol, including how to properly dispose of syringes and respond to accidental needle sticks. Participants also distribute awareness materials to possible users of syringes and other community residents that describe the proper methods of disposal for syringes.





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Last updated on Saturday, 08SEPTEMBER2017 by NG. Created Page

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