Youth violence prevention group breaks ground on $20 million expansion in SF's SoMa neighborhood

ByLena Howland KGO logo
Sunday, June 2, 2024
United Playaz breaks ground on $20M expansion in SF's SoMa
There's a new community resource center coming to San Francisco's SoMa neighborhood. United Playaz broke ground on the project on Thursday.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- There's a new community resource center coming to San Francisco's SoMa neighborhood.

The youth violence prevention group United Playaz broke ground on the project on Thursday.

It's happening near Howard and Russ Streets in San Francisco.

"It's going to be a resource community center built for literacy and re-entry services and everything else in-between that the community needs," said Rudy Corpuz Jr., Executive Director of United Playaz said.

Just two doors down from its first location on Howard Street, United Playaz is expanding to a second location.

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"When you look at the statistics, people who can't read by the third grade most likely end up in prison. And so, we want to teach kids, not only how to read, but to understand what they're reading," Corpuz said.

Several members of the organization have spent serious time in the criminal justice system.

The goal is to make sure kids in the next generation don't follow in their footsteps.

"I was arrested in my development as a young man, because I gravitated toward that street and that's what this building is about, so these young people could gravitate towards this positivity that the city got to offer," Patrick, a United Playaz team member said.

The City of San Francisco says this $20 million expansion was made possible because of a total of $15.4 million in federal, state and city support.

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Of that, $9.4 million came from the city.

"The fact that they are here today and doing this work, and want to do this work and want to help change and save lives, is extraordinary," Mayor London Breed said. "You don't get this kind of combination of support anywhere else, I think, in this city."

Speaker Emeritus Nancy Pelosi was also there to present a $4 million check from U.S. Congress.

"This building, will be to dispel fear and isolation and restore it with hope and community, peace, peace for people," Pelosi said. "This building will be a manifestation of the respect that we have for the dignity and worth of every person, that it is our responsibility to help meet their needs and to understand the resource that they are to the community."

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And they've got the support of the Golden State Warriors, who share the same district.

Organizers say the team has agreed to help put in the roof when the time comes.

"This is an effort around everybody. It takes the hood to save the hood," Corpuz said.

The center is projected to open by February of next year.

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