The California Coalition for Youth (CCY) continues to work tirelessly for the well-being of youth across the state amidst of the global COVID-19 pandemic. During these challenging times, CCY continues to assist youth on two fronts, through public policy advocacy and its California Youth Crisis Line (CYCL).
Currently, CCY is working on key initiatives, including those related to the needs of youth experiencing homelessness and the essential non-profit service providers supporting them.
“We applaud the Governor’s $100 million allocation to help homeless services providers respond to the needs of COVID-19 and Project Roomkey,” said Jevon Wilkes, Executive Director of CCY. “CCY is advancing the needs of youth and ensuring that youth are not forgotten in the state’s response.”
CCY has been instrumental in securing a set-aside to serve youth in recent state investments to address the state’s homelessness crisis. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, California already had the largest share of the nation’s homeless unaccompanied youth.
“When thinking of individuals that are at-high risk – we are not only focusing on seniors, but youth that sleep on the streets with autoimmune disorders and other chronic health conditions, who need a safe place to go,” said Wilkes. “Not just now during this crisis, but after, and for all youth.”
The ripple effects from the current pandemic and the resulting recession will only see that number increase. Following the 2008 recession, the unemployment rate of youth aged 16 to 24 was more than 18 percent or twice the overall unemployment rate. Unfortunately, this pandemic’s after-effects will more than likely have similar effects with increased homelessness and housing instability among California’s youth.
Since the start of 2020, CCY’s 24/7 crisis line, the CYCL, has answered over 5,500 calls, providing a listening ear and access to resources to youth and families. Over the last four months, call topics have varied from anxiety about COVID-19, the resulting loneliness and non-violent, family conflict from California’s “shelter-in-place” order.
The CYCL is led by a team of 68 volunteers and nine part-time and full-time staff, providing 24/7 support to youth and families needing crisis navigation and access to local resources. The CYCL held its first completely remote training in May, opening volunteering opportunities to people across California. CYCL’s next training is planned for some time in July 2020.
While answering all calls coming into the CYCL, crisis counselors support calls from other youth-serving organizations, such as National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Teen Helpline, My Friend’s Place, and more.
Teachers, parents, and service providers can keep up to date with the latest information from the CYCL by subscribing to the On The Line podcast and signing up for the monthly CYCL Newsletter.
Studies have shown that youth during the COVID-19 pandemic have shown symptoms of PTSD and an increased use of negative coping strategies. The CYCL have also seen an increase in calls about anxiety, loneliness and depression over concerns and the isolation that COVID-19 brings. Youth and families in crisis during this time can still call or text the crisis line at 800-843-5200 or chat online at www.calyouth.or/chat.
For more information about CCY, contact Executive Director, Jevon Wilkes at firstname.lastname@example.org and for more information about the CYCL contact Program Manager, Bianca Christian at email@example.com.