YES is committed to supporting homeless and at-risk young people; promoting stability, growth and the ability to thrive.
People are often surprised to learn that we have homeless youth in our community and ask how that can be. It can seem hard to fathom that if a young person isn’t obviously sleeping outside or wearing dirty clothes, they can still be homeless. Unfortunately there are youngsters here that are homeless. Unaccompanied young people are often ‘couch-surfing’ or living with people other than their legal guardians, in some cases, for years at a time. Often they have left a home that is troubled with family conflict; poverty, abuse, substance abuse and lack of resources. Some kids who identify as LGBTQ+ may no longer be welcome in the family home.
Many homeless youth and young adults have experienced significant trauma before and after becoming homeless and are particularly vulnerable, including victims of sexual trafficking and exploitation.National Alliance to End Homelessness
Without resources to chart another path, these young people face the increased risk of depression and anxiety, exploitation, dropping out of school, unemployment and long term homelessness.
Our Street Outreach Program Case Managers meet with young people at schools, at the YES Drop-in Center and throughout the community, with resources to meet immediate needs such as food, clothing, medical care and hygiene items. Together the young person and case manager explore ongoing issues such as food insecurity, their sense of safety, medical, dental and mental health care, as well as their current assets, their own skills and family and friends they may be able to call on if needed. A plan emerges to meet the young person’s goals step by step, with the case manager providing information, advocacy and resources.
Young people receive support navigating health care systems, applying for insurance coverage, contacting medical providers and arranging transportation to or from appointments. Prescription glasses and medical supplies are also purchased if needed. Vital documents are retrieved from government databases and when money is available, assistance with heating or electricity, food cards, drivers education and gas for vehicles to get to work or school.
YES’s drop-in center, for young people ages 12 to 24, is a safe, supervised, and homey environment. Kids can grab a shower, wash their clothes, get a warm meal and meet with their case managers. YES offers clothing, food care packages, personal hygiene items, school supplies, and educational assistance and WiFi to attend classes.
Sometimes young people only want to hang out with friends, and have a space to just be kids. We think this is exactly as it should be.
If a kid needs a safe place to stay, YES recruits, trains, supports and works closely with Host Homes that provide safe short-term emergency and/or long-term housing. We collaborate with school officials and law enforcement agencies, as well as the judicial system if a child is being removed from their home. Through trauma-informed care and professional counseling, and YES court advocacy, the young person’s well-being is paramount. Family stabilization and reunification, if appropriate, is supported.
YES serves all persons equally, regardless of color, national origin, citizenship status, physical or mental disability, race, religion, creed, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, genetic information, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local law. YES will provide accommodations for individuals with disabilities.
YES will not allow any form of retaliation against individuals who make good faith reports of alleged violations of this policy.
Youth Emergency Services’ goal is to increase representation of women, people of color, veterans, LGBTQ+ and individuals with disabilities.