8West Handmade Soaps


8 West is an innovative program with a foundation based on the simple premise of providing “hope” and opportunity. We not only help homeless youth to re-discover what it means to have hope, but the long-term impact of our “homeless to hopeful” model also results in positive, deeply recursive effects throughout the community.


8 West is a novel job training program where homeless youth work together to handcraft and market a premium line of bath, shower and spa products. Developing useful skills and learning to become “employable”. Cultivating a clear sense of responsibility, accountability and work ethic. And, most of all, restoring what it means to have hope.


Through the Urban Street Angels supportive housing program, homeless youth live together in independent-living facilities with the guidance of a house manager, and the backing of an organization that believes in them. Recovering a sense of worth and purpose. Learning to trust others AND themselves. And above all else, making a difference.

The Challenge

In San Diego, there are over 3,000 young people living and sleeping on our community streets. Point-in-time census counts sometimes reflect a lower number, but these efforts understate the challenge by conducting the count on one specific day. Over the course of a year, the number is much higher.

Many homeless youth have endured traumatic family experiences. Abuse and abandonment are commonplace. They feel forgotten, unloved, and unworthy. They don’t trust others easily. Through our sustained efforts to forge relationships with them and help restore the bonds of community, we’ve developed a model that helps transitional-age youth off the streets. The youth, in turn, provide the inspiration for the volunteer-driven Urban Street Angels movement. They are the reason the organization exists today.

Urban Street Angels

Since 2008, the volunteers of Urban Street Angels have been walking the streets, parks, and beaches in our community, providing homeless youth with meals, water, hygiene kits, socks, sleeping bags, backpacks, and referrals to community resources. The goal of Urban Street Angels is to help homeless youth establish a foothold that gets them off the streets. We’ve learned that disrupting the pathway to chronic homelessness with innovative, sustainable solutions is the key.

In 2015, we launched 8 West as a job training program paired with the Urban Street Angels’ supportive housing program. Based on our evidence-based practice, featuring a harm reduction model with trauma-informed care, 8 West provides transitional employment opportunities in our social enterprise startup. Above all else, 8 West provides the critical solutions our community needs to help end youth homelessness with a #HandUp.