YESS is committed to being a good neighbour and working with the surrounding neighbourhoods to share information, address issues and explore opportunities to give back to the community.


YESS Service Standards

  • YESS will provide services in an effective, safe, and secure manner.
  • The sites will always have trained professionals on-site during hours of operation. Staff have experience working with youth in the homeless serving sector, including in relationship building and de-escalation techniques.
  • All individuals undergo a health screening for COVID-19 before entering. One wing of the hostel building will be designated as Tier 1 and 2 isolation and quarantine support so that youth will not have to leave to isolate. Anyone in the isolation wing will not be allowed to leave the premises during their isolation period.
  • All buildings have been inspected by EPS, AHS, OHS, and EFD for safety and appropriate operations.


Security and Cleanliness

YESS is committed to maintain high standards of safety and cleanliness for the young people who access our programs and the neighborhoods we live in.

  • YESS staff will continually monitor the internal and external environment immediately around the buildings and manage security and clean up at all sites.
  • Our premises are monitored by camera and alarmed for rapid EPS and EPFD response if we are unable to de-escalate a situation.


YESS Good Neighbour Plan 

  • Our partners at Edmonton Police Service are patrolling the area and work with us to ensure the safety of clients and staff, as well as public and business neighbors.
  • In case of a COVID outbreak, YESS will work with Alberta Health Services to ensure the safety of clients, staff and the broader community. Anyone who tests positive will receive appropriate medical care in our designated isolation space. Information about outbreaks is shared by the Ministry of Health at
  • All visitors on premises are required to follow AHS and OHS protocols at all time.

About YESS

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 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.

Why does YESS exist?

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.lief 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.

Our Programs and Buildings

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, 7 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 EPS 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.


Supportive Housing

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.


Daytime Resource Centre

Daytime resources and programs are now offered through our Whyte Avenue building. This includes 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. Programs 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.


YESS does not take in-kind donations directly from the public. We have agreements with partners such as Bissell, FIND, and Edmonton’s Food Bank to get our items. Please consider supporting our partners and please do not leave donations at our sites. We are actively trying to clean up the items people leave.

Who to contact

If you have questions or concerns, please contact us at We take any concerns raised by our neighbours and business partners very seriously and always endeavour to find mutually agreeable solutions.

The City of Edmonton’s Neighborhood Empowerment Team is also available to support businesses and community members as needed. (Contact:

Violence or medical emergency Call 911
Camps and ravine living materials; excess garbage on city land Call or text 311
Mental health crisis, extreme weather or basic needs support Call or text 211
YESS issues (moderate to low complaint, such as garbage, noise, loitering). Response time 3-7 days
Urgent YESS issues (issues with staff, time dependent issues involving YESS youth). Response time 1-3 days or call 780.468.7070