Asian Kids Find Refuge in SF’s Tenderloin

Young Asians Struggling in SF’s Tenderloin Turn to a Valuable Lifeline

San Francisco’s Tenderloin district is known to many as the city’s seedy underbelly—a dangerous neighborhood overrun by crime and homelessness. Less known is that this neighborhood has served as a longtime haven for Asian refugees and immigrants.

In the 1970s, the Bay Area saw an influx of families from war-torn Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, many of whom settled in the Tenderloin district. To serve this high-need population facing trauma, PTSD and the challenges of transitioning to life here, a group of Vietnamese refugees founded the Vietnamese Youth Development Center (VYDC) in 1978.

Today Cambodians and Laotians have the highest rates of poverty and lowest educational attainment out of all ethnicities in the Bay Area, with Vietnamese not too far behind.

We checked in on how the community is doing with Judy Young, Executive Director of VYDC—an Asian Pacific Fund affiliate and 2014 grant recipient—after her recent appearance in this PBS NewsHour segment on the Tenderloin


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