Removing Financial Barriers for Transitional Age Youth

Through our flagship Smart Money Coaching program, the Office of Financial Empowerment (OFE) is providing financial coaching to Transitional Age Youth participating in the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing (HSH)’s Rising Up campaign, removing financial barriers to help youth access housing and employment.

The Office of Financial Empowerment (OFE) through Smart Money Coaching is supporting the efforts of the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing (HSH)’s Rising Up campaign, by developing and integrating a financial capability model to support the long term success of the initiative’s youth participants.

Problem: San Francisco estimates approximately 1,200 Transitional Age Youth (TAY) (aged 18-24) are currently experiencing homelessness. To address this issue, Mayor London Breed launched Rising Up, a public-private partnership bringing together the City, nonprofits and philanthropy to achieve a 50 percent reduction in TAY homelessness by 2023, including providing rapid rehousing services to at least 500 youth. At-risk TAY -- including those served by Rising Up -- face unique financial barriers and hardships, which can impact their access to stable housing, employment and economic opportunity. For example, many former foster youth are victims of economic abuse, including identity theft, which can leave them with damaged credit. Other youth may have significant debt, both of which can prevent youth from accessing both stable housing and employment.

Innovation: To ensure equitable financial access and opportunity for at-risk TAY, OFE successfully developed and integrated a financial capability model into the initiative to remove barriers to housing and employment and support youth participants in achieving long-term financial sustainability. This partnership is a first-of-its-kind model offering youth intensive one-on-one financial coaching and support within the rapid re-housing space and has already shown early success. This has prompted HSH to consider integrating financial capability as a core service into other rapid-rehousing programs across the city, and there is potential interest in replicating the model in other jurisdictions working on youth homelessness.