© Youth Empowered Society

Q: How is YES different from other programs?

    YES is grounded in the core value of youth helping youth.  Formerly homeless youth/young adults build empathetic, supportive relationships with youth clients and offer hope that they can make it through their experiences of homelessness.

Q: What is YES’s organizational structure?

    YES is a program of Strong City Baltimore which serves as an incubator and fiscal sponsor for grassroots community based programs and projects working for social justice, like YES. YES is staffed primarily by formerly homeless young adults who serve as peer counselors and youth interns.  Ally staff supports peer staff administratively and programmatically.

Q: What services are available at YES?

    YES Drop-In Center is a safe space for youth, who are homeless and between ages 14 and 25, to get basic needs met and establish supportive relationships with peer counselors and allies that help them make and sustain connections to long-term resources and opportunities.  YES operates drop-in during the hours of 2:00pm-6:00pm, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and by appointment at other times during the week. Health, mental health, and legal service providers visit YES weekly in order to ensure that the youth receive the professional support they need.  YES also offers workshops, classes and fun activities, such as a Stress Management/Meditation workshop, Money Management class, Game Night, and Craft Night.

Q: How many young people has YES assisted, and how?

    Through approximately 4,000 drop-ins and client contacts, YES served 213 unique youth within the fiscal year (FY) of 2014 (from July 2013 through June 2014).  In FY 2014, YES conducted an individual, in-depth assessment with every single youth participant, helping 154 clients develop individual Action Plans, 759 one-on-one counseling sessions, coordinating and hosting over 200 meetings between participants and legal, medical or mental health professionals, as well as countless appointments off-site. YES also helped 101 youth apply for employment through 355 separate sessions, resulting in 52 different jobs for YES youth.

Additionally, YES helped participants’ access services for long-term stability by: assisting 87% of eligible youth in acquiring identity documents, such as birth certificates, social security cards, and photo IDs, assisting 70% of eligible youth to apply for public benefits, including health insurance, providing housing assistance  to 79% of youth participants.  During FY 2014, this resulted in YES connecting 37 of our eligible youth to temporary (24) or permanent housing (13).

Q: How many homeless young people are there in Baltimore?

    In January 2011 the Center for Adolescent Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health documented 640 unaccompanied homeless youth in Baltimore based upon a one day “census.” However, this is certainly an under-count as it is only a reflection of the young people who sought out services at the handful of service providers in the city catering to homeless youth. 

Q: What shelters are available for homeless young people?

    Baltimore has only one youth shelters with a total of 8 beds for homeless youth under age 18; older youth (18-24) must stay in the adult shelter system because no shelter exists specifically for this age group. 

Q: What types of advocacy does YES engage in as an organization?

    Building on our work last year to help pass and participate in Maryland’s first Task Force to Study Housing and Supportive Services for Unaccompanied Homeless Youth (UHY), YES youth and staff worked diligently with community partners to pass two bills in the 2014 MD General Assembly

þ Passed! HB794/SB794 Maryland’s Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Count and Demonstration Project.  This project will gather data about the prevalence and characteristics of UHY in six MD regions, including Baltimore City.

þ Passed! HB482/SB455 Tuition Exemption for Unaccompanied Homeless Youth.  This new law expands the college tuition exemption available to foster care youth to include UHY.

YES has been and is currently working with the BHYI Coalition to push for expanded resources and funding for targeted resources for homeless youth in Baltimore City and throughout the state of Maryland.

Q: How is YES funded?

    YES is funded and supported by the Mayor’s Office of Human Services: Homeless Services Program, Baltimore Community Foundation’s Leonard & Helen R. Stulman Charitable Foundation and People’s Emergency Fund, Catholic Campaign for Human Development Archdiocese of Baltimore, Harry and Jeannette Weinberg Foundation, David and Barbara B. Hirschhorn Foundation, John J. Leidy Foundation, Merritt Properties, Youth As Resources, Women's Giving Circle, Abell Foundation, Kenneth S. Battye Charitable Trust, and the Zanvyl and Isabelle Krieger Fund and Fund for Change.

YES is also supported by countless individual donors and partner organizations that have helped outfit our space, make sure we have food, clothing, hygiene and other products for youth, and more.   But YES needs additional support to continue providing our valuable services.  Please donate today!