8 West was established in 2015 as a sustainable, innovative solution for ending youth homelessness. Our social enterprise start-up provides a 6 – 11 month job training program designed to give transitional-age homeless youth a hand-up with employment, along with the critical housing provided by the Urban Street Angels supportive housing program . We also partner with area employers to help the youth in our program find employment opportunities that align best with their interests. And since all of the homeless youth in our program are required to play a pivotal role in their own growth and development, 8 West helps to deliver transformative change in our community.
8 West participants are required to attend regular meetings and appointments with staff and third-party support providers, as part of their responsibilities in the Urban Street Angels supportive housing program. They are required to follow the particular guidelines of the program established for each of them by Urban Street Angels clinical staff. They are required to participate in our financial responsibility program, which helps to prepare them for life beyond 8 West. And the pursuit of educational and/or vocational opportunities is also required to remain in good standing. Above all, our approach surrounds homeless youth in our program with a viable opportunity to leave the streets behind for good – with a hand up, not a hand out.
8 West is a creation space where homeless youth work together to learn vital job readiness skills, while producing and marketing a line of premium, handcrafted bath, shower and spa products. Our artisans share a home where young people live together — fed, sheltered and safe — with the support and guidance of a house manager. The first young people who stepped up for the opportunity helped name the program 8 West because Interstate 8 West ends in Ocean Beach, a destination for countless homeless youth in Southern California. In partnership with the County of San Diego HHSA / MHSA, Urban Street Angels now provides housing for 22 transitional-age youth (18 – 25 years old) in our independent living facilities centrally-located in the San Diego area.