Mayor London Breed (center) and Huckleberry’s Executive Director Douglas Styles (far right) at a press conference announcing funding to combat human trafficking in SF. (Photo courtesy of Huckleberry Youth Programs)

The state of California has granted San Francisco $9.3 million to help house and provide services for young people who have survived or at risk of being trafficked, Mayor London Breed announced last week.

The grant, provided by the California Department of Social Services, will allow several local organizations to develop a model for providing housing placement options and services for the youths, many of who are homeless or involved in the child welfare or juvenile justice system, according to the mayor’s office.

“Any young person who is homeless or experiencing exploitation in our streets is one too many. We must do better in San Francisco,” Breed said in a statement July 10.

“This funding will allow us to develop programs and provide services that help our most vulnerable residents and survivors of commercial sexual exploitation, and prevent chronic homelessness in our city,” she said.

San Francisco is the only county in the state to receive the grant, which will be used to fund a three-year pilot program.

According to the mayor’s office, the pilot program could get underway later this year, with youths being placed in housing and receiving services as soon as this winter. The grant would also create a drop-in center so that young people can access services more easily.

For the program, the city has partnered with the San Francisco Department on the Status of Women, Freedom Forward, and Huckleberry Youth Programs, the three organizations that initially co-authored the CDSS grant application. Other partners include the San Francisco Human Services Agency, Larkin Street Youth Services, Family Builders, WestCoast Children’s Clinic, Edgewood Center for Children and Families, Claire’s Housing, Learning for Action and the UC Berkeley Human Rights Center.

According to Breed’s office, in 2017 the Mayor’s Task Force on Anti-Human Trafficking determined that 33 percent of people trafficked in commercial sex were underage, while 50 percent of them were between 18 and 24 years old.