Youth Empowerment & Support Services (YESS)
Theory of Change
True transformation comes through relationships.
To walk beside traumatized youth on their journey towards healing and appropriate community integration.
Based in Edmonton, Youth Empowerment and Support Services (YESS) provides immediate and low-barrier overnight and day shelter, temporary supportive housing, and individualized wrap-around supports for young people aged 15–24.
We work collaboratively within a network of care focused on the prevention of youth homelessness by providing youth with the necessary supports to stabilize their housing, improve their wellbeing, build life skills, connect with community, and avoid re-entry into homelessness.
The Cycle of Unaddressed Trauma
Experiences such as addiction, mental illness, violence, victimization, criminal involvement, and more can create a trauma response that is difficult for youth to overcome and heal from. Developmentally, youth do not have the cognitive or emotional skills to process these experiences and are often frozen in survival mode. These responses can create barriers to positive community involvement and integration. Families, employment, relationships, and education can all be affected by their responses to trauma, which builds up more intense responses to more intense trauma experiences. At YESS we can help youth identify positive goals and provide them with immediate resources and supports to interrupt their trauma responses and build new, healthier life skills.
Youth Homelessness Prevention
Prevention refers to policies, practices, and interventions that either (1) reduce the likelihood that a young person will experience homelessness, or (2) provide youth experiencing homelessness with the necessary supports to stabilize their housing, improve their wellbeing, connect with community, and avoid re-entry into homelessness.
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 falling through gaps. 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.
Nexus Overnight Shelter
Our 24-bed overnight shelter, Nexus, gives youth a safe, secure, and immediate place to stay when experiencing homelessness. The shelter opens at 9PM every night and provides beds for sleeping, basic needs like food, clothing, showers and 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 LGBTQ2S+ friendly. We have harm reduction minded staff, with suicidal ideation intervention and safety planning. Youth who stay in shelter will also receive justice support from staff. Our organization works closely with EPS beat officers to understand charges and pathways. Our staff also work with youth to review judicial documents and assist with reminders for appointments and court dates. Staff work to build community support connections before youth leave program to ensure supports exist beyond their time at YESS.
Daytime Resource Centre
The Armoury Resource Centre (ARC) is home to a variety of daytime programs, including medical care, addictions and mental health counselling, help with continuing education and employment, art therapy and programming, recreational activities, life skills and employment readiness, and help with housing resources. ARC 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. At ARC, our 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 our youth so that they will see themselves as worthy of care and compassion, building positive relationships with staff that encourage growth and self-confidence.
Youth Empowerment and Support Services (YESS) provides two supportive housing facilities: Graham’s Place and Shanoa’s Place. For youth who need the stability and support of a longer-term placement than our shelter, our two residences provide a homelike environment while youth work on their goals. Youth in our supportive houses are taught to identify realistic and individualized goals that help them move forward in their journeys towards healing and independence. Our purpose is to walk beside the youth in a more stable environment to help facilitate safe and appropriate community integration.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.