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.
2022-2023 Annual Report
Thank you for your support and partnership during our 2022-2023 fiscal year. The world is rapidly adjusting to new realities and innovating ways that we can connect, be safe, and relate to each other, and so is YESS. In our 2022-2023 year, we focused on data, evaluation, reflection, analysis, and process improvement. We spent the year envisioning what YESS needs to be in the next five and 10 years and all of the opportunities in front of us. I am most proud of the way YESS staff and youth supported each other through periods of illness, change, fatigue, and sometimes despair. This work is difficult, complex, messy, and emotional, and we make mistakes all the time, but we lean in and continue to grow and get better, which is exactly what the young people are doing. And as always, I and we all are so grateful for the love, support, passionate commitment, and friendship we receive and share with our partners, donors, funders, and neighbours.
President & CEO | Youth Empowerment and Support Services
Lieutenant Governor’s Circle on Mental Health and Addiction
The Circle’s True Awards are presented to those demonstrating commitment, passion, and ingenuity in reducing stigma and improving lives of those affected by mental illness and addiction.
YESS was awarded the Circle’s True Imagination Award 2022 for our Cohort Transitional Residence Pilot Project.
True imagination and innovation in mental health and addiction services are the cornerstone of this category. The YESS Cohort Independent Residence Pilot Project was created both as a direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic and a known lack of transitional residence in Edmonton’s current youth housing system. This pilot program was funded by Homeward Trust for one year to provide “family cohort” style living for 73 youth and allowed them to be unmasked and not socially distanced in their cohorts. The program was also designed by youth to help them identify what skills they need to work on as they transition into more independence. This program was highly successful in helping more than 40 youth transition to more independent housing and helping the other 33 youth understand what further support they need in building resilience. This unique, youth-designed model proved to be a key element needed in the support system for youth experiencing crisis and housing instability.
Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal
YESS is so honoured to see our President & CEO, Margo Long, nominated for the Queen Elizabeth Platinum Jubilee Medal for her dedication and service to Alberta. To have this nomination come from Rachel Notley, MLA for our neighbourhood in Edmonton-Strathcona, is particularly meaningful and reflects the impact Margo’s leadership has had in our community.
Margo has served as the President & CEO of YESS for five years and in that time has grown our organization to become truly visionary in our scope for the ways we support youth who access our programs. Bringing our focus to the healing of trauma and integration back into community has allowed us to address the root causes of crisis and homelessness that youth face. In the past years of the pandemic, Margo empowered the leaders at YESS to become even more innovative, to try new programs and structures to meet youth where they were at in this truly unprecedented time. As we start to feel safer in looking ahead to the future, we are truly excited to have Margo’s enormous sense of vision, empathy, and bravery at the heart of this journey.