The Storefront Youth Emergency Shelter is the only emergency shelter for youth in the region.
Learn more about the shelter from Program Manager Renatta Escobedo:
Questions and Answers
What is the Storefront Youth Emergency Shelter?
Our Storefront Youth Emergency Shelter is the only emergency shelter for youth, ages 12 to 17, in San Diego. We have 10 beds available and we are open 7 days per week. The YES helps youth who do not have a safe place to live or are victims of physical or sexual abuse, neglect or exploitation. We have showers and laundry facilities and breakfast and dinner are served family-style by community volunteers. We also offer case management and goal setting, therapy, independent living skills services and 24-hour crisis support.
What does intake look like?
The intake process starts with a “Pre-Intake” where both the youth and staff talk about what’s going on, and why the youth would like to stay at the YES. The actual length of the pre-Intake process varies from each youth’s needs, but on average lasts around 20 minutes. Parental consent is required in order to receive services. If there are any concerns about obtaining parental consent, the staff can help you figure it out.
How long can youth stay?
The YES program itself is a 21-day stay. Depending on the youth, the stay length varies. We offer extensions past the 21 days on a case by case basis. All youth exit at different times based on their needs. A youth is free to discharge from the program at any point in time during their stay.
Is the YES overcrowded? How many youth max?
The YES has 17 licensed beds. Though on average there are about 8-9 youth at any given time.
What does school look like at the YES?
The YES has the same expectations for schooling that a youth has a home. All youth are encouraged to go to their original schools. For youth that stay at the shelter during school hours, there’s Productivity Time. This is from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on designated school days. During this time youth are encouraged to read, do homework, or staff can assign the youth with some schoolwork.
Are youth allowed to stay the night elsewhere during their stay at the YES?
Yes, as long as the staff has a guardian’s consent, an overnight pass can be provided. If youth do not return or leave without an overnight pass, they will be reported as a runaway/AWOL by 11 p.m.
What kind of meals are provided at the YES?
Youth are fed three meals a day and snacks. Depending on their level of independence, youth can make their own meals. Fast and simple options are offered as well, such as frozen foods. On most nights for dinner food group is offered. This means a donor makes or orders dinner for youth and staff. The YES will also accommodate dietary restrictions including any based on a youth’s religious and cultural needs/preferences.
What are the sleeping arrangements?
All youth are provided with their own bed and chest with a lock. The beds are all in one large room with a long curtain split down in the middle of the room at bedtime/wake-up for privacy. Lights out are at 10:30 p.m. on weekdays and 11 p.m. on weekends. The YES also provides bedding.
Can a youth have their electronics while at the YES? Is there internet access?
Yes, a youth can have their electronic devices. We ask youth not to video call, take pictures, or take videos that identify any youth or the program. Youth can take those calls in private settings with staff support. We ask all youth to use headphones when using their devices. The YES provides youth without headphones a free pair, and if the pair needs to be replaced then there are chores a youth can complete to get a new pair. The Internet is provided through Wi-Fi, and we have Chrome Books that can be checked in and out. The YES also has electronics like TV, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, Netflix, and Disney+.
What kind of recreational activities are offered?
The YES offers a variety of activities like expressive arts, groups that teach independent living skills, community outings, David’s Harp Foundation music studio on Thursdays, movies, beaches, the zoo, and even live performances.
Does the YES provide or mandate therapy?
The YES has a MFT trainee that helps provide on site support for any youth interested. Expressive Art therapy is also provided on site for both groups and one on one sessions. Therapy is encouraged not mandated.
Can Youth leave the YES during the day?
We are a completely voluntary program meaning yes, youth are allowed to leave during the day. All youth must sign in and out upon leaving and returning. All youth must have staff check their person and items upon returning from their outings. Youth are still required to participate in scheduled activities, groups, school and case management meetings.
Are toiletries and clothing provided?
Yes all toiletries are provided. Youth can bring their own toiletries but may also use what’s provided by the YES. Staff are also able to purchase items a youth may need. Ranging from clothing for interviews, proms, graduations, work, or everyday wear.
Does the YES provide transportation?
While youth are encouraged to transport themselves to their destinations, YES does provide transportation Support if needed. This support can look like bus passes, staff helping give directions, and transportation in an agency vehicle. Transportation is based on staff ability and capacity. However, staff can transport youth to appointments, interviews, school, and outings.
What is not allowed at the YES?
We check all outside and personal items inside the door every time a youth returns to the YES. Staff are judgement free of a youth’s personal items but will confiscate items. This includes substances, vapes, illegal weapons, and paraphernalia. Legal weapons such as pocketknives or pepper spray are to be turned in to staff while youth is on property. Lighters will also be checked in and out. Once a youth checks out during the day, they are allowed to have their legal weapons and/or lighter checked back to them until returning.
Is Medication Mandatory or prescribed?
Medication is not mandatory but is encouraged for youth to take if prescribed. The YES does not offer nor provide prescription medication, but we can help connect youth to resources. Staff will put away and dispense medication for youth as needed. The YES does also provide over the counter medication for youth as needed.
What are the bathroom arrangements? Is there laundry?
All bathrooms are gender neutral. There are two showers for the youth. A washer and a dryer are provided along with washing supplies.
Where is the YES located?
The location of the YES is confidential and shared once the youth’s case is approved. All youth are encouraged not to be picked up and or dropped off in front of the YES by unapproved supports or providers, but rather a few streets away. This does not apply to agency vehicles.
Can pregnant youth come to the YES?
Yes, pregnant youth are welcomed and supported during their pregnancy at the YES including getting connected to resources for teenage parents. Unfortunately once the baby is born, due to age limitations, the youth's baby is not allowed to stay in the program. Many times this means the program works with the youth to find shelter for them and their child. Other times we work to find housing for the baby while the youth continues to receive shelter services. In some case by case situations youth can have baby visit onsite.
Can youth return to the program if needed?
Yes, youth can come back to the YES based off their needs, urgency, eligibility. Youth may need to complete a “safety agreement” or “return agreement” depending on the circumstances of their last stay and exit.
What does discharge from the YES look like?
Discharge can happen anytime the youth is ready to leave the YES or they have timed out. The process usually takes no more than ten minutes, and a guardian doesn’t have to be physically present at the time of leave. The YES follows safety guidelines that if broken repeatedly, may result in consequence or involuntary discharge from our program.
What’s the “Big 5 Policy”?
The big 5 is our safety policy that if broken can result in a youth receiving a consequence or being removed from the program depending on level harm caused. This policy states there are no drugs, illegal weapons, violence of any kind, sex, and recruiting of any kind.
Is there anything that the YES wants to let youth know?
We would like the youth to know that we are not a hospital, jail, behavioral program, or a punishment. We’re a super friendly safe place for youth and are here to help you. We offer tours during drop in hours, so please give us a call if you have any questions regarding our services or staff. Our 24/7 line is 619-325-3527/ 866-PLACE-2-STAY.
To stay at the shelter, call (866) Place-2-Stay for a screening.