Looking Back - History of Youth Shelters & Family Services
Youth Shelters and Family Services delivers life-changing solutions to homeless, runaway and in-crisis youth by providing shelter and addressing health, safety, education and workforce opportunities so they can achieve lifetime independence. It is located in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and has five distinctive programs.
The agency was founded in 1980 by members of the Santa Fe community. They were concerned that youth in crisis who needed shelter had no alternative but to go to the Juvenile Detention Center. These youth, who were often escaping abusive homes, were being punished when they needed support. La Otra Puerta Emergency Youth Shelter—“the other door”—opened next to the Juvenile Detention Center as a nurturing alternative. The Shelter was a safe haven and temporary place for youth to stay while volunteers worked to reunite families whenever possible. In 2003, the Shelter moved into a new building at 5686A Agua Fria St.
In 1990, a Transitional Living Program was established to provide a residential setting for youth, ages 17-21, who were unable to live at home. The program teaches life skills such as education, resume building, and financial literacy. A modern campus was built in 2009 at 4435 Airport Rd. It houses 14 youth. Supportive housing for youth needing fewer services was launched in 2013 at scattered sites in the community. In 2016, we transitioned from scattered sites to a rapid rehousing program called STAR (Supportive Transitions to Adulthood through Rehousing). STAR helps homeless participants find and secure housing in their own name. Supportive services are available for participants. Located at 5686B Agua Fria St.
In 1995, a community needs assessment indicated there were hundreds of homeless young people in Santa Fe, often without adequate food or clothing, and frequently subject to illness and abuse. Youth Shelters began its Street Outreach Program later that year by distributing sandwiches, clothing, tents, sleeping bags, hygiene items, and resource information to youth on the streets. It also opened a Drop-In Center, where youth can obtain food, take a shower, do laundry, use computers, and call family and friends. This home-like setting is located at 402 St. Francis Dr. Staff provide the supportive services homeless youth need to leave the streets.
Through a nonprofit merger in 1996, Youth Shelters began providing counseling to youth and families in crisis. Today, the Community Counseling Center serves children, youth and families who are homeless, nearly homeless, or otherwise in crisis. Professional counseling is available to youth in every program, their family, and community members. Located at 5686B Agua Fria St.
Youth Shelters Pregnant and Parenting Youth Initiative was launched in 2006 to address a growing incidence of homeless pregnant and parenting teens. The Pregnant and Parenting Youth Service Coordinator works with groups and individuals in each of our programs providing education, food, housing, employment and early childhood services.
Youth Shelters and Family Services has served more than 30,000 youth and family members since its founding.