Based in Edmonton, Youth Empowerment and Support Services (YESS) provides immediate and low-barrier 24/7 shelter, a drop-in resource centre, temporary supportive housing, and individualized wrap-around supports for young people aged 15–24.
We focus on prevention and diversion out of homelessness.
Prevention means providing proactive resources for youth and their caregivers before youth become homeless. Diversion means finding appropriate housing for youth before they become entrenched or as an exit out of homelessness.
We focus on healing trauma through relationship.
Trauma has a negative impact on the physical, emotional, and developmental well-being of an individual. Among many other serious effects, trauma can have a lasting impact on the ability to develop healthy relationships.
We focus on walking beside youth to minimize barriers to resources.
Barriers are policies or expectations that put resources out of reach of those who need them. These restrictions often prevent people from seeking help.
We focus on collaboration (with everyone).
Collaboration means we work together with other organization and in line with local, provincial, and national plans to create a holistic approach to addressing homelessness.
We are so proud to be part of the Edmonton community for over 40 years! On September 1, 1981, YESS was officially incorporated after years of work from the community in Bonnie Doon.
Over the years we have moved from the crisis focus of emergency shelter to a prevention focus that provides everything from shelter to resources to trauma support. We even changed our name to Youth Empowerment and Support Services in 2012.
What has stayed constant is the importance of community in our mission to walk beside youth on their journeys towards healing.
Thank you to our partner agencies, board members, donors, volunteers, and wider community for collaborating with us over the years! And thank you to the youth who are courageously seizing their goals and their futures in our programs.
2021/2022 Annual Report
This year at YESS, we celebrated our 40th Anniversary of helping young people in crisis. We are extremely proud of the work done this year and the over the last 40 years to ensure a safe place for young people to land and begin to rebuild their lives and futures.
Over the past 40 years, YESS has grown from an overnight emergency shelter program for 16-18 year old youth to an organization with 24/7 diversion shelter, temporary supportive housing, and walk-beside support services for young people in crisis aged 15-25. I have been honoured to walk beside YESS in their evolution in the community, first as a community member and donor, then as their strategic brand advisor, and now as the President and CEO. Throughout all of my experiences with YESS, one thing has remained steadfast— the dedication to make things better for young people. The last couple of years have been some of the most difficult, complex, and heart wrenching for the staff at YESS, as they navigate a global pandemic and drug poisoning crisis, and in true YESS form, they have risen to the need. I am incredibly proud of the humans who make up YESS—they are making life and community safer for our future leaders. They are the change we need in this world. I wish us all another 40 years of success.
Thank you to the agency partners, supporting services, funders, donors, vendors, volunteers, and advocates of YESS. We cannot do this work without you and we are forever grateful.
President & CEO | Youth Empowerment and Support Services