“It’s the entry point for youth to enter them back into society,” said Robin Reynolds, spokesman for the Bill Wilson Drop-In Center. With 18 sites to serve homeless, runaway, or troubled youth, the Bill Wilson facilities have grown much since their start in 1972.
The most visible of the 18 centers, for youth, is the Drop-In Center, known for it’s “open door” policy. Reynolds said the facility serves the youth who enter the facility with access to showers, food, healthcare, and even more modern comforts such as telephones and computers.
“As the trust element gets built up, many of the youth get started with some of our counseling programs.” The drop-in center maintains an open door policy. Reynolds said that youth may not wish to seek counseling or legal services upon their first, or second visit. Once youth feel comfortable, the staff will then help them build skills or seek other housing options.
The center even features an affordable apartment complex, Peacock Commons, for youth and young families to reside permanently while only paying a specified percentage of their income as rent. “One of our goals is always is possible reunite the youth with family, if it’s not possible we do everything we have to do to get them to be self-sufficient,” said Reynolds.
Last fiscal year, the center served 897 youth. 584 youth received case management services. The center continually operates as a foster care agency, partnering with the county to place youth and children in good homes while also providing resources to foster parents. For the future, the center is in the initial stages of a collaborative host program with Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County. The pilot program will host the recent flow of unaccompanied undocumented Latin American children.
“ [It’s] short term host home program for the children,” said Reynolds, “could have a normal childhood life while they are waiting for the legal process to take them through.”The Bill Wilson Drop in Center is located in downtown San Jose, 693 S. Second St. which serves homeless youth from ages 13-25.