What is changing, how, and why?


April 2024


YESS has been diligently working towards a new mission and vision for young people, aiming to create an environment where all young people have barrier-free access to the help they need when they need it and where they need it. Over the past seven years, we have engaged in extensive research and discussions with both youth and youth workers to better understand the needs and gaps in our system.

As part of the Youth Agency Collaboration—a group of more than 30 youth agencies (and growing) who have collaboratively built a strategic network of holistic support with common evaluation outcomes for youth who need help—we have co-developed a comprehensive strategy that not only addresses the needs of youth but also fills the gaps in our current system, paving the way for holistic wellness and measurable outcomes around life skills and wellbeing skills, rather than simply providing a list of services. A key component of this strategy is the establishment of community-based Youth Support Centres, which will offer 24/7 intake, crisis stabilization, and safe sleeping for youth 15-21, as well as daytime access to drop-in medical and mental health services, housing connections, and other resources for youth up to the age of 24. Our programs also support entry into the Youth Agency Collaboration continuum of complex care, should it be required. We will have more information about these centres and how they will support both young people and families in their communities in our May newsletter.

In alignment with our new strategic focus and commitment to excellence, we have made the decision to concentrate our efforts on what we do best. Consequently, we will be closing our supportive home program, Shanoa’s Place, shifting away from housing, and entrusting our expert partners in the Youth Agency Collaboration to continue their outstanding work in this area. We will also be moving out of the Connaught Armoury permanently, so all YESS programming will be located at our Whyte Ave building as the first YESS Youth Support Centre.

To facilitate this transition, we ceased accepting new youth for housing at Shanoa’s Place as of mid-February, with the goal of transitioning all current residents to one of our housing partners by March 31, 2024. All full-time and part-time Programs employees currently stationed at Shanoa’s Place were offered roles at our Whyte Ave location, where all YESS Programs and Facilities team members will be based starting April 1, 2024.

Additionally, after careful consideration and analysis, we have decided to return the Connaught Armoury Building (ARC) to the City of Edmonton. The ARC location, the historic space for our drop-in resource services, is not ideal for our evolving needs and is extremely costly to maintain. We believe that co-locating the Resource and Health Hub and 24/7 Help Centre into the Youth Support Centre is paramount for better efficiency and service delivery. This decision will allow us to refocus our efforts on rebuilding Whyte Ave or finding a new location for our center.

Both the closure of Shanoa’s Place and the decision regarding the ARC have always been part of our medium-term plan. We have collaborated extensively with agencies in the Youth Agency Collaboration, particularly those specializing in housing, and we firmly believe that this direction will ultimately result in improved care for the youth we serve.

We understand that change can be challenging, but we also know that the dedication of our teams across all our departments will continue to support youth with the help they need when they need it and where they need it.

Frequently Asked Questions

All YESS programming can be accessed at the Youth Support Centre at our Whyte Avenue building (9310 82 Ave). This includes 24/7 crisis intake and intervention, and  safe sleeping for youth aged 15-21, as well as daytime primary medical care access, mental health and wellbeing resources, and resource supports for youth aged 15-24.

Currently the age restrictions for 24/7 intake and safe sleeping are due to our licensing agreement with Children and Family Services, which allow us to only go up to age 21.

We are able to support youth up to age 24 with drop-in medical and mental health services, as well as connections to housing and other resources Monday to Friday during business hours.

Youth who have been accessing Shanoa’s Place have been transitioned into appropriate housing and supports.

Programs staff worked with these youth over several weeks to ensure that this change happened as smoothly as possible.

Our Whyte Ave building is closed to unsolicited in-kind donations from the community. This is an active programming and crisis support space 24/7, and we ask that youth and staff are given appropriate space to do their important work.

In order for us to focus on what we do best, we have built a partnership with The Bissell Centre that allows us each to do work that aligns with our focus.

General in-kind donations such as clothes and personal items can be directed to our partners at the Bissell Thrift Shop (8818 118 Avenue) and identified as a donation is for YESS. The Bissell Centre will provide YESS with the exact essential items when we need them, and surplus items will benefit the Bissell Centre clientele too.

We can do larger, intentional in-kind donation drives or group donations if they are arranged beforehand. If you are working with an organization, community group, or team to do a donation drive of items, please contact our Fund Development Team at giving@yess.org to arrange details for this donation.

Donate online: CanadaHelps

Our online donation platform CanadaHelps enables you to make safe and secure online donations with your credit card or PayPal. When you donate online, you will receive a confirmation email and tax receipt immediately

Monthly Giving: CanadaHelps

Credit card: Donate online or call 780.468.7070

In-person: Please connect with our team to organize any larger, in-person donation drop-offs via email at giving@yess.org

Cheque: Mail

9310 82 Ave
Edmonton AB  T6C 0Z6

If you are sending a cheque in the mail, we encourage you to send it from a Canada Post office. Sending from the post office or even registering your mail ensures that you get a receipt and/or tracking information on your donation

If you have any thoughts, questions, or concerns about the announced changes at YESS, we invite you to share them with our team via this form