Youth and Community Services


Youth and Community Services

Article California Cities Helen Putnam Award for Excellence By Justine Jimenez

West Sacramento hits a home run for employers and high schoolers

When it comes to improving career readiness, West Sacramento is knocking it out of the park. A paid internship program has placed over 200 high school students in local internships that equip students with industry-specific and transferable skills.

Article California Cities Helen Putnam Award for Excellence By David Franz

One of California’s busiest libraries isn’t where you think it is

The Shafter library was seemingly doomed to closure in 2020. Today, it is one of the busiest libraries in the state per square foot of space.

Article California Cities Helen Putnam Award for Excellence By Edgar R. Garcia

Modesto creates a countywide system of care for youth experiencing homelessness

Success creates success, even for seemingly intractable issues. Modesto is at the forefront of a new system of care for homeless youth thanks to a strong public-private partnership. The city launched several related programs in recent years, including a navigation center and Homekey project for youth.

A judge's gavel sitting on a desk.
Article Legal Notes By Matthew R. Silver, Lauren E. Brown, and Natalie Sahagun, Civica Law Group, APC

How does CARE Court, California’s new legal approach to behavioral health care, work?

The CARE Act takes a novel, albeit controversial, approach to mental health care. Unlike previous laws, it focuses on incentivizing long-term treatment rather than imprisonment or involuntary commitment. Seven counties have already begun implementation. The rest must follow suit in 2024.

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 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 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 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 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 California Cities Helen Putnam Award for Excellence By Jessica Hill

Modesto leverages good data to help a growing homeless population

Around 80% of Stanislaus County’s homeless population lives in Modesto. City leaders know what services to provide. However, coordinating those services was difficult without good data. Inaccurate data can slow down services and drive up costs.

Article California Cities Helen Putnam Award for Excellence By Jeff Davis

Eureka uplifts vulnerable residents with social services program

Eureka is reversing an unusually high rate of homelessness thanks to an innovative set of social service programs. Since launching the program in 2019, Eureka has housed over 120 individuals and helped more than 200 people obtain employment.

Article California Cities Helen Putnam Award for Excellence By Angélica Palmeros

Montebello’s community assistance program frees up emergency resources and reduces homelessness

Firefighters and paramedics often do not have the time to address the chronic causes behind emergency calls, such as homelessness. Montebello is filling that service gap by treating people where they are, building long-term relationships, and developing evidence-based solutions.

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.