Youth and Community Services


Youth and Community Services

As part of Pleasanton's Alternate Response Program, clinicians have helped place over half of all identified unhoused persons in permanent or long-term housing. 
Article California Cities Helen Putnam Award for Excellence By Kurt Schlehuber and Pamela Ott

Partnerships provide hope and help to Pleasanton residents in crises

Just three years ago, Pleasanton police were placing over 350 people per year in psychiatric detentions when they were judged to be a danger to themselves or others. There were no follow-ups after initial evaluations. Today, someone experiencing a mental health crisis in Pleasanton has a much different experience.

The Victorville Wellness Center is a low-barrier shelter with medical care, interim housing, and other supportive services.
Article Local Works By Alex Morales

Victorville to open the High Desert’s first-of-its-kind homeless shelter

Victorville is preparing to open a low-barrier shelter with medical care, interim housing, and other supportive services. Officials hope the shelter can serve as a model for other cities looking for ways to offer better services and more shelter to homeless residents.

Article Features By Amanda Cabral and Gail Carlson

California’s youth are anxious about climate change and need to see concrete action

California’s youth are worried about the climate crisis. They face a long future of climate extremes, with consequences for their health, well-being, education, and livelihood. Many are experiencing a great deal of eco-anxiety and are looking for help or ways to take action.

Article News from the Institute for the Local Government By Seth Yund

The struggle is real, but so are the options. How cities can attract a strong workforce

It is no secret that cities are struggling to hire and retain staff. Employment is well-below pre-pandemic levels and a majority of workers are considering leaving their jobs. These trends illuminate both the diminishing capacity of city government and the opportunity for norm-breaking programs.


August 2023

Article Local Works By Karina Gonzalez

Pacific Grove closes the coastal trail gap to provide a safer experience for all

Until 2022, people had to weave through parked cars and native dune habitats to visit Pacific Grove’s beautiful, rocky coastline, known as Point Pinos. Today, visitors can safely walk or bike along the shore. The new section of the trail is built to last for years to come. 

Article President’s Message By League of California Cities President Ali Sajjad Taj

The secret to Cal Cities’ enduring success

Our success lies in the fact that we are always evolving and in our passion for bettering the lives of Californians. I can guarantee you that 125 years ago, I would not be your Cal Cities President. We are all different and unique. But at our core, we care about the same things.

Article Solutions for Cities By John Paul Jewell

Milpitas new energy and water modernization saves money, dazzles judges

Milpitas received global recognition for its energy and sustainability work last year. Its Smart City Infrastructure Program aims to generate over $1.5 million in annual energy and water cost savings for the city.

Article Special to Cal Cities By Josh Fryday

Youth Jobs Corps is a win for young people and cities

As the former mayor of Novato, I know the importance of creating opportunities for underserved youth. Youth Jobs Corps proves state and local governments working together is a winning combination, with benefits for young people, cities, and communities across California.

Article California Cities Helen Putnam Award for Excellence By Carmen Gil

Youth-led study prompts change to mental health care in Gonzales

Youth throughout California are struggling with mental illness — a trend made worse during the pandemic. As lawmakers advance major changes to the state’s behavioral health system, students in Gonzales are also making changes to their own systems of care.

Article Features By Helene Schneider

The secret sauce: Creative ways California communities are addressing homelessness

Public agencies are often caught between demands for swift action to solve or hide homelessness and the reality that sustainable solutions take time, investment, and political will to bring to scale. Officials throughout California are finding bold, creative ways to break this decades-old stalemate.

Article California Cities Helen Putnam Award for Excellence By Laurie A. Smith

Buoyed by local partnerships, Modesto is on track to transform once-neglected parks into a regional jewel

Modesto is home to two regional parks — Tuolumne River Regional Park and Dry Creek Regional Park. For years, many residents deemed parts of the parks unkempt or unsafe. Today, thanks to strategic community partnerships, the parks are becoming a gateway for outdoor adventure. The renewed interest has also allowed the city to pursue state and federal funding aggressively and successfully, creating a profound impact on the cityscape and its residents. 

Article Local Works By Richard Rojas

ARPA funding and tailored public engagement spur neighborhood revitalization in Norwalk

Many cities hoped that the American Rescue Plan Act would both help address pandemic-related issues and build an inclusive future for communities. For the city of Norwalk, this hope is becoming a reality. Staff focused their efforts on one of the city’s oldest and most underserved neighborhoods: the One-Ways.

Kids eating pizza
Article California Cities Helen Putnam Award for Excellence By Daniel Mestizo

Pizza, politics, and tough questions: How Cupertino and others helped foster civic engagement among young adults

How do we engage young voters and inspire them to participate in the civic and political process? Cupertino, located in Silicon Valley, asked itself this question in 2012. The city is well known for its robust education system, beautiful weather, and for being the home of Apple Inc. After much deliberation, the cities of Cupertino and Saratoga — and later Campbell — answered by developing a teen-driven and teen-centered political forum. 

Man talking to seniors
Article California Cities Helen Putnam Award for Excellence By Erin Barrows

Burbank expanded senior programs to keep vulnerable residents safe — and connected — during the loneliest months of the pandemic

In 2015, Burbank — a San Fernando Valley city of roughly 100,000 residents — launched Project HOPE (Helping Others Prosper Everyday), a Parks and Recreation program with a simple mission: “Promote the independence, health, and dignity of older adults through compassion, kindness, commitment, and positivity.”

Article Legal Notes By Christine N. Wood and Jennifer Ransom

Online services and information: Considerations for ensuring accessible, legally-compliant city websites

The range of information and services available online varies from city to city, as does the level of accessibility offered by city websites. However, as cities continue to transition to internet-based information and services, they should take care to ensure that such information and services are equally accessible to all individuals, including those with disabilities

City of Davis’ partnership with local theatre company increases bike safety and fuels its creative economy

The city of Davis set out to find an innovative way to address its long-term environmental, public health, and safety goals by educating and engaging young Davis residents through its Safe Routes to School program. Looking to do something different, the city set its sights on sourcing local, partnering with a local theater company to create a memorable and engaging theater piece that promoted safe biking to young audiences.

Tiny homes
Article Features By Lisa Yarbrough

Livermore’s award-winning inclusive engagement approach is paying dividends for the community

Since 1949, the National Civic League has celebrated the best in American civic innovation by awarding the prestigious All-America City Award to ten communities nationwide. This year, Livermore was the only city in California to receive this honor. The award celebrates the city’s inclusive engagement efforts to improve equity and resilience.

Santa Maria develops a hands-on, career-based agricultural education program for high schoolers

When the opportunity arose to create a model program with students and local businesses, the city of Santa Maria stepped up. The city partnered with a local ag-related businesses to create a successful hands-on educational program, from work of planting pumpkins, and networking with community members, to creating fun events.

Exterior view of St. Paul’s Commons in Walnut Creek, CA.
Article Local Works by Jill Oviatt

A community partnership brings a transformative affordable housing development to Walnut Creek

A dynamic group of committed religious, community, housing, and local government leaders in Walnut Creek came together to solve one of our state’s most pressing problems: the need for more affordable housing. Working together they created St. Paul’s Commons, a mixed-use, transit-oriented affordable housing development that opened its doors to residents in February 2020, just before the pandemic hit.