Basic Needs assists foster youth with the simple but critical emergencies they inevitably experience – a flat tire, an unexpected dental procedure, or even food so they don’t go hungry.

Emergencies like these often make the difference between long-term success and falling into a perilous downward spiral. Basic Needs takes youth out of survival mode, making sure they don’t have to choose between food or medical care and going to school or work by providing essential resources and opportunities for relationships with caring adults.

How Does It Work?

Basic Needs provides resources and emergency financial assistance so that youth can focus their energy on moving forward. Some examples of Basic Needs assists include: rent/utilities assistance, auto repair/insurance/registration help, bus/trolley passes, food cards, medical/dental assistance, professional clothing, and help with bills.

We also connect youth with resources, mentors, and workshops that will help them get back on their feet, avoid debilitating stress and unhealthy habits, and encourage self-confidence and self-sufficiency.


To qualify for Basic Needs, you must be:

  • A current or former foster youth
  • Between ages 18-26
  • Currently living in San Diego County
  • Working and/or attending school or have concrete plans to do so)

How Do I Join?

Please be sure to call us for urgent requests or if you need help applying: 760-505-6647. We also accept referrals from trusted sources such as San Diego County Child Welfare Services, independent living skills providers, programs specializing in housing, and other organizations and agencies serving current and former foster youth.

Youth Services staff will contact applicants within 72 hours of receiving a request, and will personally meet applicants, identify and assess needs, and assist with purchasing the essentials to resolve the immediate financial emergency. Other staff and volunteers also provide one-on-one advice to participants by sitting down and outlining a budget and financial plan. Applicants are required to return a receipt within 15 days of receiving a resource.

You can apply directly by clicking here.