The City of San Francisco launched the Rising Up campaign in 2018 to address the homelessness crisis among young people. On any given night, more than 1,000 people ages 18 to 24 were experiencing homelessness, and three out of four were sleeping outside. Rising Up’s goal is to halve homelessness among this population by 2023 by providing rapid re-housing and by preventing homelessness through problem-solving interventions. The program aims to create a citywide, systems-level response to youth homelessness, bringing together a diversity of resources across 19 different partner organizations.
In this report, we document the early successes and primary barriers encountered by the program during its first year of implementation, informed by interviews with frontline, supervisory, and leadership staff. Staff identified program strengths, including Rising Up’s flexibility, the role of youth choice, and strong relationships and communication between the partner organizations, program participants, and landlords. Early challenges included fully supporting the mental and behavioral health needs of young people, more expensive housing costs than the program anticipated, and partner roles that were not clearly defined. The program has made course corrections and adjustments over time, including adding financial services, strengthening the coordination of care for young people who move outside the city, and fostering successful roommate situations.
We conclude with recommendations designed to increase the program’s effectiveness and efficiency, improve the experiences of young people participating in the program, and strengthen communication across partners.