David Baker and Justin Lipford took their first steps Monday of their three-day journey. Through a combination of public transportation and good old-fashioned walking- the two friends are making the trek through San Diego County from Oceanside to San Ysidro.
"Today we're meeting in Ocean Beach at the O.B. Pier at two o'clock," said Lipford on the Pacific Beach boardwalk. "Let's talk about youth, young people, and let's go for a walk."
Their journey is not just to walk along the beautiful coast, but to raise awareness of an issue that might go unnoticed.
"San Diego is ranked seven among the largest population of homeless youth in America," said Baker. "Youth homelessness doesn't look the same as adult homelessness, so it's a population that really goes unseen."
Young people experiencing homelessness have a harder time accessing shelter and healthcare in San Diego County. Twelve percent of the homeless population are in the age range of 18 to 25 and a large section of them identify as LGTBQ. As it’s a chronic issue, many who are experiencing homelessness now, were also on the streets while they were young.
"We're capturing these young adults at a pivotal phase in their life," said Baker "So we have a moment in time where we can kind of get in and help."
Baker and Lipford are both employees at the YMCA, an organization that has been providing shelter to young people since the 1950s. Outside of the Y, they want kids to know that there is resources for them. Calling the number 866-PLACE-2-STAY will give San Diego youths options during difficult times.
"You can't tell a young person's story without understanding that there's multiple paths to opportunity. We are representing one of those paths," said Lipford.
The pair will be making their way to San Ysidro on Wednesday afternoon.
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