Angus Systems supports a wide range of charitable and social causes in our community particularly those that share our goal of helping children, low income families, and furthering cancer research. This is the first installment of our Community Partners Series, which highlights the great organizations we support. We hope to spread awareness about these organizations and the amazing work they do in our community. This month, we introduce you to Youth Without Shelter who we have been a proud supporter of for the past three years.
On a given night in Toronto, 1500 to 2000 youth are homeless and have nowhere to call home. Many struggle with mental health issues, a history of experiencing abuse, abandonment, or have no family support at all. A large number of these youth end up spending nights on the streets or seek respite at services such as Youth Without Shelter (YWS). YWS is an emergency residence and referral agency for homeless youth aged 16 to 24, and their vision is to eventually end homelessness.
The organization was created in 1986 by a team of teachers and guidance counsellors who wanted to ensure that their students had access to safe, emergency housing, and support programs. Their programs and services include:
The Emergency Residential Program offers 33 youth emergency accommodations each night. The program provides shelter, meals, counselling, clothing, and personal hygiene products for youth. In 2016 / 2017 alone, YWS provided 11,829 safe bed nights, served 59,145 nutritious meals and offered 5,576 one-on-one counselling sessions.1
The Shelter’s Stay in School Program provides a safe environment for homeless youth that is conducive to the completion of their education. Only 1 in 3 youth who are homeless graduate high school, whereas 9 of 10 youth who are not homeless graduate with a secondary education.1 This program has lodging for 20 students in efforts to remove obstacles that homeless youth face while trying to graduate.
The Housing and After Care Program arranged by YWS assists youth in finding an affordable permanent residence despite the challenges brought on by homelessness. The program equips the youth with skills needed to live on their own and as of March 2017, the program has expanded to provide ongoing outreach to the youth that they have helped to live independently. In 2016 / 2017, YWS helped 66 youth move into permanent housing and gave 1,125 food and hygiene packages.1
YWS’ Life Skills Program takes an individualized perspective to take each youth’s unique aspirations, barriers, and talents into account to help better equip them to achieve their goals. 404 life skills workshops for 1,381 participants were conducted in 2016/2017.1
Their Employment Program provides one-on-one sessions to teach youth the job search skills such as resume writing. This program focuses on literacy, legal issues, and work attire as these are common challenges that homeless youth face when trying to gain employment. In 2016 / 2017 there were 404 one-on-one counselling sessions conducted and 55 youth were employed.1
“The support I have received here has helped me realize many different things that I was not fully aware of before I came in. From my experience in being here, I believe that no matter what I am going through the staff are so forthcoming in helping me find the suitable services I need to deal with my current issues.” – Steph (YWS patron)
To learn more about Youth Without Shelter please visit their website.
1 Source: Youth Without Shelter 2016/2017 Impact Report