Following decades of disinvestment and inter-generational poverty, in 1997, racial tensions erupted into violence in East Oakland. At the urging of Oakland youth, the County of Alameda and City of Oakland made an unprecedented investment in East Oakland youth by providing support for the planning of a one-stop health and human services center designed by and for youth.
Youth, residents, public officials, and other stakeholders reviewed national best practices, designed the space, planned initial programming, and raised capital support from public and private sources. In 2005, YU opened the doors to its 25,000 square foot, state-of-the-art facility. Programming launched immediately and the center served 1600 youth in the first year.