Agency Info


Youth Empowerment & Support Services (YESS)


Theory of Change

True transformation comes through relationships.



A more connected, holistic, and lower-barrier system for youth in crisis.



Collaboratively build a network of care to ensure youth get the expert help they need, when they need it, and where they need it.


Positioning Statement

Youth Empowerment and Support Services (YESS)’ Youth Support Centres are a 24/7, single-point-of-access to immediate and low-barrier physical, mental, cultural, and emotional health supports and safe places to stay for youth aged 15-21 who are experiencing crisis in the Edmonton Metro Area. Youth Support Centres also host Monday to Friday Resource and Health Hubs with physical and mental health clinics and youth-supporting resources to ensure youth 15-24 get the help they need, when they need it, and where they need it—in their community.

Our focus is on building strong collaborations with our Youth Agency Collaboration partners to leverage what each of us does best, to create more effective processes, outcomes, and opportunities for youth.


Our Values

Courage—to be honest, vulnerable, and curious.

Compassion—for ourselves and everyone to establish trust, empathy, and understanding.

Commitment—to lead with intention, to make a meaningful difference and be accountable in all we do.


Youth Homelessness in Edmonton

From April 2022 to March 2023, YESS served 697 young people between the ages of 15 and 24 who had experienced housing instability and trauma. These young people did not choose to experience homelessness; instead, they are fighting to survive their experiences with trauma (abuse, neglect, sexual exploitation, violence, discrimination, and more). Living in survival mode comes from trauma in the home, trauma within families, and trauma within their communities. Most often, youth in survival mode need access to resources for basic needs first and have to build up trust that services and agencies are able to help them build their own future in the community. We know from brain development research that healthy connections and relationships are needed to move past trauma and grow into healthier adults.


The Cycle of Unaddressed Trauma

It is our belief that if these traumatic experiences are left unaddressed in young people, it will most likely create cyclic barriers to healing and moving forward with their lives in a positive way in community. Some of these barriers and results include addiction, mental illness, abuse, and criminal involvement. YESS has reorganized its structure and processes to be trauma-informed, created an internal trauma and mental health psychology team called the Wellness Integration Team, and has created an evaluation framework to help youth identify what life skills they still need to develop and where they are in their healing journey.

It is our belief that if we give youth safe space, consistent and non-judgemental support and teaching, and the time to choose their own path to success, we can prevent further entrenchment into the cycles of trauma and homelessness.


24/7 Shelter

Our 24/7 sleep shelter gives youth a safe, secure, and immediate place to sleep and seek shelter, any time of the day. The shelter is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and provides beds for sleeping, basic needs like food, clothing, showers, laundry, school supplies, and packed lunches for youth attending school. This is a safe place for all youth with support and access to staff who are trained to deal with diverse client needs. We are 2SLGBTQIA+ friendly, we have harm reduction-minded staff, with suicidal ideation intervention and safety planning. We also provide on-site trauma support to help with sleep anxiety, problem solving, and emotional regulation. Youth who stay in shelter will also receive justice support from staff, as our organization works closely with Edmonton Police Service beat officers to understand charges and pathways through the system. Staff work to build community support connections before youth leave program to ensure supports exist beyond their time at YESS.


Daytime Programs and Resources

Daytime resources and programs are now offered through our Whyte Avenue building. This includes access to primary medical and mental health care, connections to housing, and other resources. This program provide youth with basic needs and shelter from the elements with the support of non-judgemental staff in a safe place to hang out without the fear of loitering or trespassing charges. Youth have a safe place to come where they can build, on their own terms, relationships with our staff. Our staff focus is on establishing trust with youth so that they will see themselves as worthy of care and compassion, building positive relationships with staff that encourage growth and self-confidence.



Logo Files

Please note that the YESS name and logo are the sole property of YESS and can only be used with expressed written permission and within brand guidelines. Any usage of our logo should be approved by YESS.

If you require the YESS logo, please contact our Fund Development Team at