SF Youth Commission Fights for Homeless Youth

Earlier this year, the San Francisco Youth Commission declared 2015 the Year of Recognizing Homeless Youth with the intent to call on city leaders to prioritize housing provisions, employment training and services for the homeless youth population.

This is part of a larger directive from Mayor Ed Lee to work towards ending chronic homelessness in San Francisco. With over $25 million devoted to the cause, and additional focus towards programs dedicated to the homeless youth, the city is aggressively trying to reach its goal of ending chronic and youth homelessness by 2020.

SF Sheriffs Department to Lower Age Requirement for Youth Visitation

On June 8th, San Francisco jails became the first in the state of California to lower the age requirement for youth to independently visit their incarcerated parents. Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi proposed legislation that would allow youth as young as 16 to visit their parents in jail without a chaperone and create an online tool to aid in locating them.

When preparing for this proposal, the sheriffs department found that only one-third of 563 inmates surveyed were visited by their children.

“If our goal here overall is to improve public safety and if our goal is to be a more positive influence in the lives of people that are in our custody — and their loved ones, who also have to endure that same time of punishment — then we should be enacting the kind of policy that fortifies our commitment to improve public safety by strengthening family,” Sheriff Mirkarimi said.

With this new legislation, city officials are encouraging children to strengthen their relationships with their parents and gain exposure to additional parental guidance that is so often needed during transformative years.

New Proposal Seeks to Lower Voting Age for SF Youth

San Francisco Supervisor John Avalos is hoping to grant city youth additional civil rights in an effort to further empower them with a proposal from the Youth Commission that would allow 16- and 17-year-olds the right to vote in local elections.

The proposal was subsequently pushed to the 2016 November ballot so that proposal leaders could have more time to gain support.

By tabling the proposal until next year, organizers and city supervisors hope that they will have sufficient time to educate the public on the necessity of the proposal and rally with youth organizations to voice the benefits it will have on young adults.

If Supervisor Avalos is successful at getting the proposal passed, San Francisco would become the first major U.S. city to lower the voting age to 16.

City leaders have shown that they are invested in the development of San Francisco youth. If they can continue to propose and support future acts of legislation that affect Bay Area teens, city leaders will successfully empower this generation of San Francisco youth for many years to come.