November is National Runaway and Homeless Youth Awareness Month

We believe that youth homelessness is a community issue that requires a community solution.


Consider this your official invitation to join us for the Solidarity Journey.

Join us 

Your generous gift will support young people facing housing instability or homelessness in our community.

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If you or someone you know is experiencing housing instability or homelessness, we can provide immediate assistance.

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It’s hard to believe, but on any given day in San Diego County, there are at least 1,800 young people experiencing housing instability or homelessness. We’re talking about 1,800 young people faced with no other choice but to live in crowded or unsafe places, sleep in cars, or even stay out on the streets.  

Pressures like family conflict and high housing costs build on one another. A sudden increase in pressure from a life event – like losing a job, a relationship breakdown, or a health crisis – can quickly leave someone without access to the shelter and supports they need to thrive.  

Youth homelessness is a complex matter involving the lived experiences of thousands of young people who face significant barriers throughout their journey. Without a safe place to call home, young people continue to face difficulties accessing basic needs, mental and physical health care, educational opportunities, and stable employment.  

While there is no easy way to solve this puzzle, we can contribute to community solutions that address both individual needs and structural barriers. If we are truly going to make a lasting change in our community, we must come together to raise awareness, make sound policy decisions, create more affordable housing, and continue to strengthen our social supports.

Only when we work together can we make a meaningful difference in the lives of young people and the collective growth and prosperity of our community.  


At YMCA of San Diego County, we nurture a healthy spirit, mind, and body so all can thrive, and we believe everyone should have a safe place to live, a reliable support system, a sense of purpose, and connections to resources needed to flourish. 

That’s why this November, the YMCA of San Diego County is engaging in our second annual Solidarity Journey, a 5-day, 125-mile journey from Los Angeles to San Diego, to raise awareness for youth homelessness and share ways we can contribute to the solutions. Our Rooted in Community campaign is meant to create space for our communities to envision what is possible when we invest in young people experiencing housing instability or homelessness, and what happens when they feel seen, heard, and supported.  


Join us at specific rally points across the county and follow us on social media to learn and share information about the root causes of youth housing instability or homelessness and youth-supported solutions to address this crisis.  

Monday, November 14
4949 Atlantic Ave., Long Beach, CA 90805

B - 3:00PM » *Community Conversation at COVENANT HOUSE OF CALIFORNIA
632 North East St., Anaheim, CA 92805

Tuesday, November 15
C - 8:30AM - 11:30AM » *Community Rally & Walk with North County Lifeline at
215 Barnes St., Oceanside, CA 92054
Walk from YFS Oceanside Complex to Municipal Fishing Pier (1.5 miles)

D - 5:00PM » *Community Event at MAGDALENA ECKE FAMILY YMCA
200 Saxony Rd., Encinitas, CA 92024

Wednesday, November 16
E - 3:00PM » *Community Outreach & Walk at OCEAN BEACH PIER hosted by Toby Wells Family YMCA
1850 Ocean Front St., San Diego, CA 92107
Walk from Ocean Beach Pier to T. Claude and Gladys B. Ryan Family YMCA (1.5 miles)

F - 4:00PM » *Community Event at T. CLAUDE AND GLADYS B. RYAN FAMILY YMCA
4390 Valeta St., San Diego, CA 92107

Thursday, November 17
G - 9:30AM - 1:00PM » *Community Rally & Walk with SDYS TAY ACADEMY
2220 Broadway, San Diego, CA 92102
Walk from SDYS TAY Academy to Balboa Park (2 miles)

H - 6:00PM » *Community Event at COPLEY-PRICE FAMILY YMCA
4300 El Cajon Blvd., San Diego, CA 92105

Friday, November 18
I - 1:00PM » *Community Conversation & Walk with SBCS at
680 Palomar St., Chula Vista, CA 91911
Walk from Palomar Transit Station to Border View Family YMCA (3 miles)

J - 3:00PM » *Community Event at BORDER VIEW FAMILY YMCA
3601 Arey Dr., San Diego, CA 92154

DOWNLOAD A PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSION: 8.5" X 11" Flyer | 11" X 17" Flyer

More Tips:

  • Please wear green in honor of RHY month, dress comfortably, and wear appropriate walking shoes.
  • Bring water, a hat, and sunscreen.
  • There will not be transportation options after the walk. We recommend coordinating with a friend or colleague to park one vehicle at the end of the route so you can catch a ride back to your vehicle when the walk ends.


Follow along with us at:

Instagram - @ymcasandiego | @ymcayfs

Facebook - @ymcasandiego | @ymcayouthandfamilyservices

Tiktok - @ymcasandiego

Twitter - @ymcasandiego




The Y has nearly a dozen programs that help youth facing housing instability or homelessness. Gifts of all sizes are welcome to help youth stabilize their basic needs and support efforts to develop the skills that will lead to sustained independence. Contribute now and help us meet our goal to raise $500,000!  

Be Part of the Solution




Since 1970, we have consistently provided unique programming that addresses San Diego County's most pressing social issues and adapts to its ever-changing communal needs. Our YMCA Youth & Family Services branch works alongside young people experiencing housing instability or homelessness to provide critical supports such as drop-in centers, hotel vouchers, emergency housing, rental and deposit assistance, and transitional housing services.  

By ensuring young people have a safe place to live, a reliable support system, encouragement to pursue their goals, and access to the resources they need to flourish, our Y staff, partners, volunteers, and donors continue to help bring about meaningful and lasting change for the youth and families of our community. Learn more about our social services.





Check out our research, blog posts, and videos of our Y directly impacting this work locally and across regional, state, and national scales. 

Developmental Relationships for Youth Experiencing Homelessness: This issue brief, co-authored with the National Network 4 Youth, outlines the importance of relationships to help youth heal from trauma and end a homeless experience. 

Your YMCA in Action: A blog describing programs the Y offers to youth experiencing homelessness. 

VIDEO: The Y Responding to Community Needs: As a nonprofit navigating this challenging time, the YMCA of San Diego County relies on contributions to further our work in the community. We are so much more than a gym or a place to swim. We are a safe place (even virtually!) to nurture and uplift all people to help them realize their fullest potential. 

VIDEO: Welcome Home: In 2019, we secured a 25-unit apartment building in Escondido. We worked diligently to renovate each and every unit to create dignified and beautiful spaces for young people to call home. Check out a video of our progress.   





Investing in YMCA Community Support Services means an investment in innovative, impactful, and community-based solutions designed to address San Diego’s most pressing social issues. Our donors and partners provide significant resources that allow us to collectively bring about meaningful change and leave a lasting impact in our community. Together, we can build a partnership focused on making youth housing instability or homelessness rare, brief, and non-recurring.

Interested? Contact Justin Lipford at[email protected]




YMCA raises awareness for youth homelessness
(CBS 8, Nov. 22, 2022)

YMCA Employees Trek From Long Beach to San Diego to Shine Light on Youth Homelessness
(NBC San Diego, Nov.19, 2022)

Youth march in San Diego to call attention to homelessness
(KPBS, Nov. 18, 2022)

'For me, it's personal': San Diego man walks 125 miles for foster youth
(10 News San Diego, Nov. 17, 2022)

YMCA employees walk more than a hundred miles to raise awareness for youth homelessness
(CBS 8, Nov. 16, 2022)

YMCA San Diego Staffers Begin 125-Mile Walk from Long Beach to Border for Homeless Youth
(Times of San Diego, Nov. 14, 2022)

YMCA staffers begin 125-mile walk from Long Beach to San Diego
(Signal Tribune, Nov. 14, 2022)

YMCA staff members are walking 125 miles to bring awareness to youth homelessness
(Press-Telegram, Nov. 14, 2022)

YMCA staffers embark on 125-mile walk to increase awareness of homeless youth
(Long Beach Post, Nov. 14, 2022)

YMCA Staffers To Begin 125-Mile Walk To Increase Awareness of Homeless Youth
(, Nov. 14, 2022)




We can’t do this work alone. Addressing these longstanding challenges requires a whole-of-society effort to shed light on youth housing instability or homelessness and share ways we, as a community, can contribute to the solutions. Thank you to our sponsors and partners for uplifting this important community cause.